An Interview with gossip columnist Mike Walker

I read that you were precocious and knew from a young age you wanted to be a journalist.  Do you consider writing for the Air Force newspaper, the Japanese newspapers or something else entirely to be your first big break?

I was precocious in the sense that I came from a family of readers and had a cousin who was an instructor in literature at Boston College, so I was actually reading things like Dante at age seven and eight. I also read two Boston newspapers, cover to cover, every day. By the time I was about ten, I knew that I wanted to be a journalist. One of my first big breaks was joining the Air Force and being plucked from a job I was never meant for – being a ground radio/radar repairman – and designated as the editor for a squadron newspaper. By this time I was in Japan, I was fluent in Japanese, and started writing for English-language editions of huge Japanese newspapers like Asahi Shimbun and the Yomuira. That led to my first really big break – I was sent to cover a storm in the city of Nagoya in central Japan from our Tokyo office and the story exploded when a huge tidal wave swept in over the city and left thousands dead and many thousands more homeless. My stories ran on page one for more than a week and, if they’d ever known how big the story was going to become, they never would have sent me. From there, I went on to work on wire services and newspapers in the Far East and Europe before joining The National Enquirer. By the way, when the Air Force tested me I made Category One, the highest grade, but when I asked if that meant I could get the job I had asked for – journalism – they told me the test showed clearly that I had no talent for writing, and that’s how I ended up in the electronics job I was totally unfit for. I can barely do long division. 

Do you get the chance to speak Japanese very often now?

Yes, practically every day. I am married to a Japanese woman – although I speak to her as little as possible. LOL!

Can you share a bit with us about interviewing Sean Connery?

Sean was no cardboard movie hero. He was a huge man, with great strength and did not suffer fools gladly. He picked up one journalist friend of mine bodily and nearly threw him across a room. But Sean and I connected because I was well-versed in martial arts, and after interviewing him in Tokyo on the set of “You Only Live Twice,” I was watching one of the martial arts scenes being filmed and made a couple of offhand suggestions. Sean immediately called over Cubby Broccoli, the legendary producer of the “Bond” films, and told him they should follow my advice. They not only did – they hired me to work on the movie as a press liaison with the Japanese government and the “shadow government” known as the Yakuza, the Japanese gangsters. Sean and I kept in touch a bit over the years in London and Hollywood. He is a great guy, but don’t piss him off.

I’d heard that about him…

What about the band Samurai you formed in London with your friend, the Japanese actor/singer?  What exactly did you do other than promote?

 My best friend in the world was the Japanese singer and movie star Mickey Curtis. Mickey was a mixed-blood Japanese/English guy who was Japan’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll singer. The Japanese press initially referred to him as “the mad howling dog!” They’d never heard rock before and it shocked them. Mickey and I were the same age, we met one day, hit it off instantly and made a pact: He spoke really good English, and I spoke pretty good Japanese – but we taught each other hip slang in both languages. Even though I was a journalist, Mickey thought that I should be doing comedy – in Japanese. He correctly predicted that the shock of hearing Japanese issuing from my white face would crack up the natives, and he was dead right. Next thing you know, he’d hired me to work on one of his rock ‘n’ roll tours as emcee/comedian/singer. It was the most fun I’d had on two feet in my life. Incredibly, Mickey is still one of Japan’s best known stars and I’ve still got my National Enquirer byline.

Did you enjoy your radio show on KABC and working with Howard Stern?

I loved my radio show on KABC, I was thrilled to be a nationally syndicated talk show host with Westwood One on 140 stations and as host of the TV show I created “National Enquirer TV!” Working with a radio genius like Howard Stern was challenging and great fun. To this day, people hear my voice and say, “Oh my god, its Mike Walker! I’d recognize that voice anywhere. I loved playing your ‘Gossip Game’ every Friday on Stern.”

Which do you think is more difficult to write, fiction or non-fiction?

I‘ve never been asked that question before. After giving it some thought, I think they are both equally difficult. A writer, as you probably know, is someone who finds writing more difficult than the average person does. 

What are the less obvious differences and similarities about writing for the National Enquirer and writing a book?

The genesis for this book was a Hollywood personality saying to me, half-jokingly: “Oh, you gossip columnists – you are all vampires!” I suddenly had the thought of how valuable vampire skills would be for someone practicing my trade. Vampires, even when buried beneath the Earth, can hear the whispers of the living quite clearly. Wouldn’t it be great to listen in on whispered conversations from just 100 feet away in some Hollywood nightclub. And what fun it would be to leap off the balcony of my Los Angeles pad and fly through the night skies with brief stops to hover near the bedroom windows of, say, Scarlett Johannson. . . or Tom Cruise! The idea amused me. I sat down and started writing it – with no publisher in mind. I wrote this exactly the way I wanted to write it. It amused me, and it also gave me a chance to talk about how I do my job – using my fictional gossip columnist – Clark Kelly of the National Revealer. Clark had carved out a killer career as Hollywood’s most-feared gossip columnist while hiding his own dark secret . . . NEWS FLASH:

Dude’s a vampire!  

Why fantasy/paranormal?

Once you establish a main character who is a vampire, you are already half way down the road to fantasy/paranormal – which is actually how my job somehow feels. 

Do you currently have a WIP you can tell us about?

I do have a work in progress, but if I told you what it is, I’d have to kill you – vampire style.

Hmm, possible  follow up to OUT FOR BLOOD

Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?

Yes, I’d like to write an epic poem. I’ve already started, in fact. It’s all about the pounding jungle telegraph of gossip – the transmission of naughty tales that travel all around the world and teach us about human nature and exactly how much aberrant behavior the tribe will condone before it condemns.

Do you have a favorite author or genre?

My favorite genre, as you might guess, is spy novels but there is nothing I won’t read. And I could never name a favorite author – there are so many, starting with Dante Alighieri, of course – but here’s a shout out to James Lee Burke’s “Tin Roof Blowdown.”

Describe your perfect day, please.

 The phone rings. An impeccable source is on the line, finally answering the question posed in the opening sentence of my book, “Out for Blood” – “Is Tom Cruise gay?”  (Not there’s anything wrong with that!)

Mike’s FB        Twitter        National Enquirer Column 

Dubbed “a one-man media conglomerate” by New Yorker magazine, Mike Walker became Tokyo’s youngest-ever foreign correspondent.

After launching his iconic gossip column, The National Enquirer’s #1 feature, and his show on CBS radio nationwide, Walker became weekly co-anchor on TV’s Geraldo and guested on such top shows like Nightline. After writing and hosting two successful MGM-TV specials, he created the daily series, National Enquirer TV!

Mike became the only reporter ever to write two bestsellers on one story when his books on the O.J. Simpson trial hit #1 and #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Dubbed “The King of Gossip” by Publisher’s Weekly, he played his weekly “Gossip Game” on The Howard Stern Show for a record 16 years.

He’s lectured at distinguished journalism schools at Columbia University and UC Berkeley; and received a prestigious invitation to become a Fellow of Ireland’s legendary Trinity College, Dublin.

OUT FOR BLOOD Campy fun and giveaway with Mike Walker

National Revealer’s Clark Kelly carved out a killer career as Hollywood’s most-feared gossip columnist following one golden rule:“Everyone’s got a secret…and someone’s dying to tell it!”

Clark never reveals his to-die-for secret!

NEWS FLASH:

Dude’s a vampire!

Studly, witty—and scary—Clark flies the night skies to spy on Hollywood’s behind-closed-doors kinky-jinks!

BEWARE, ladies! Our beyond-the-grave badboy’s BITE will make your blood boil! Just ask smokin’ hot starlet TayLo Logan!

DANGER!! Can Clark stop a stalker out to drain TayLo dry? Or wreak revenge on a killer cabal feeding stars’ pets to coyotes?

Finally…triggered by avenging fury, Clark goes “rogue vampire!”

Hold the front page! He’s…

Out For Blood!

My take on OUT FOR BLOOD ~ 4 Stars ~ Campy fun

Meet Clark Kelly, The Revealer’s feared gossip columnist who also happens to be a vampire.  Any true student of history knows that gossip is news and gossip becomes history.  Gossip leads Clark to murder, plots against Hollywood’s brightest young starlet, animal cruelty, and a killer new drug from South America.  Can Clark save those who need it and ensure justice for all?   

Are you a fanof Fright Night (first one only), Love at First Bite and Once Bitten?  If so, have I got a treat for you. 

A little campy, a little snarky, with a sharply humorous slightly b*&%hy edge, OUT FOR BLOOD isn’t your typical run of the mill vampire tale.   

Gossip columnists, in one form or another, have been around forever, Procopius’ Secret History anyone?  Even people who claim to have nothing to do with gossip occasionally dip their toe in while there are others who take malicious delight in it.  As a vampiric profession it ranks right up there with rock star. 

Even gossip columnists have principles. Well, the good ones, anyway, who are artfully filthy and funny, but always fair—cutting, but never cruel. That’s why all but a handful crash and burn.

From old Hollywood glamour to new Hollywood reality trash,Clark’s been there for it all. Prepare yourselves for a rollicking romp delivered in a chatty style.  

Dragomir Craiovescu aka Clark Kelly was re-born three hundred years ago in easternRomania.  Dragomir’s mother invited her friend, Countess Drina Pavlenko, to visit and seduce her son.  Oh the good ol’ days…Dear mom was unaware that her BFF was also a vampire who later turned Dragomir.  After the death of his best friend James Dean Dragomir went to ground and resurfaced about seven years ago as Clark Kelly.  

Wally ~Clark’s very own Renfield, kinda sorta.. Wally is Clark’s faithful right hand so to speak.  He also figured out on his lonesome what Clark is.     

Elspeth, Clark’s Girl Friday at The Revealer’s office. Elspeth ensures that everything that’s supposed to happen does. She knows all, with the exception of Clark’s secret, and keeps his ‘lil corner of the work world running smoothly. 

Vanillo Pezzullo is Clark’s “club girl” but she longs to be a member of Clark’s gossip inner circle.  

Taylor Logan aka TayLo ~ Tinsel Town’s hottest new young starlet and a hot hot mess. Taylor has an advantage though, she can actually act and is truly a nice person so what’s driving that self destructive streak?  

Damon Strutt ~ latest studly British import plays the vampire Kragen on TV’s hit Bold Blood Series.  Damon and Clark have bonded over their mutual love of motorcycles, speed, and TayLo.  

Roma Kane ~ Mega rich heiress who’s famous for being rich, partying, and hanging with celebrities.  Roma’s not a nice person and isn’t anyone’s friend when it all comes down.  

Scummy Bear, a friend of Roma’s who does her dirty work.  His moniker is apropos, Scummy is a nasty piece of work.   

When snippets of gossip begin to coalesce into a very real threat toward TayLo, Clark finds himself in the unenviable position of having several mysteries, all linked by a common thread, to solve if he wants to keep Taylor on this side of the ground. 

Clark’s most deeply held wish has finally been granted. For the first time in his life he’s deeply, irrevocably in lurve.  This rarefied state with its attendant sentimentality and romanticism only slightly blunts our intrepid gossip columnist (whod’ve thunk it?) hero’s edge. This is, after all, uncharted territory forClark and the object of his affections is smart as a whip and highly unpredictable.

Don’t let the hint of romance deter you though.  OUT FOR BLOOD has too much action, double dealing, murder,Hollywood agents, and overall nastiness to be eclipsed by such a tender emotion.  Heads up, there is some gore smattered throughout but only one aspect of it bothered me. Guess we can all be fairly bloodthirsty given the right circumstances huh?

I had a ball with Clark et al.  The whole ride on this gossip train from hell was hilarious, thrilling, and educational (oddly enough), with just the right dash of sappy.  My only hiccup came at the end.  With all the scenarios I’d envisioned the actual ending was in no shape, form or fashion remotely close to any of them.  Honestly, I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  Maybe I’m not LaLa Land or calculating enough (Thank God for small favors) to have considered and or appreciate it immediately.  I can say that if Clark and crew, with a few less members hopefully, make a return engagement I’m there.  

TWCS         Amazon         B&N       Kobo

TWCS is giving away a digital of OUT FOR BLOOD.  Please Like Mike’s FB page & tell me, what do you think of a gossip columnist vampire hero?  Giveaway ends @12am est 11-11-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good lucky y’all!

Dubbed “a one-man media conglomerate” by New Yorker magazine, Mike Walker became Tokyo’s youngest-ever foreign correspondent.

After launching his iconic gossip column, The National Enquirer’s #1 feature, and his show on CBS radio nationwide, Walker became weekly co-anchor on TV’s Geraldo and guested on such top shows like Nightline. After writing and hosting two successful MGM-TV specials, he created the daily series, National Enquirer TV!

Mike became the only reporter ever to write two bestsellers on one story when his books on the O.J. Simpson trial hit #1 and #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Dubbed “The King of Gossip” by Publisher’s Weekly, he played his weekly “Gossip Game” on The Howard Stern Show for a record 16 years.

He’s lectured at distinguished journalism schools at Columbia University and UC Berkeley; and received a prestigious invitation to become a Fellow of Ireland’s legendary Trinity College, Dublin.

OUT FOR BLOOD Cover Reveal and eARC giveaway

National Revealer’s Clark Kelly carved out his killer career as Hollywood’s most-feared gossip columnist by exploiting mankind’s most ancient vulnerability:

“Everyone’s got a secret . . . and someone’s dying to tell it!”

Clark never reveals his to-die-for secret!

NEWS FLASH:

Dude’s a vampire!

CUE SCARY MUSIC . . . our undead gossip guru flies the night skies to spy on Hollywood’s hottest stars—then inks about their bedroom kinks! Imagine our studly, urbane journalist jotting notes as he hovers outside Scarlett Johansson’s bedroom window, or peeks into Tom Cruise’s “bachelor pad.”

Star secrets . . .?

This vampire BITES!

And what’s sexier than vampires, ladies? Just ask smokin’ hot starlet/tabloid terror TayLo Logan—this Wild Child gets crazy with bad boy Clark because his bite makes her blood boil!

Then it’s LIGHTS . . . CAMERA . . .  ACTION! . . . but not in a good way: Vampire Boy and Tabloid Train Wreck TayLo unwittingly end up stars of a sizzling sex tape—destined for worldwide display on the notorious vampire fan sex site, FANGBANGING.COM.

Still, the duo’s beyond-the-grave love story simmers away as Clark rips the lid off a murder cover-up—then discovers a murderous plot against TayLo!

DANGER! Can Clark stop a stalker who wants to drain his lover dry? Or wreak revenge on Tinseltown billion-heiress Roma Kane for her poisonous plot to paralyze TayLo—and her career? Can he foil a murder cabal so evil it feeds stars’ pets to coyotes?

AND THEN . . . talk about the plot thickening! Roma’s billionaire granddaddy, mogul Montague Kane, taking a breather from the nymphet “nannies” paid to play his naughty high-chair games, springs a backstab surprise—buying out Clark’s beloved National Revealer.

Suddenly, “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning

Triggered by vengeful fury, Clark goes “rogue vampire!”

Evil is punished . . . and the sun shines once more when he creates a Hollywood happy ending that makes everyone (undeads included) a STAR!

Hold the front page! Because Clark Kelly’s . . .

Out For Blood! 

She recoiled, screamed again as my hand snaked over her shoulder from behind, clamping her mouth, muzzling the shriek. My fangs grazed her neck delicately, barely piercing the skin.

My hot breath soothing in her ear as I whispered, “Just a tiny sting, baby . . . easy now! Okay, all done . . . just relax.”

Her eyes popped in a terrified stare. Suddenly, I was standing face-to-face with her again. She shuddered, swayed. I steadied her.

“Easy, girlfriend!”

Jesus! How did you . . .”

Her eyes focused, watching my tongue flick hypnotically back and forth across my teeth as I tested her blood. I sighed.

No question: Positive.

She flinched as I touched the tiny pinpricks I’d left on her neck, then showed her the crimson droplets on my fingertips. “Blood never lies, my sweet. You have tooted primo sniffy in the past hour. Not a lot, to be sure, but it’s a fresh trace. La Coca.”

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Dubbed “a one-man media conglomerate” by New Yorker magazine, Mike Walker became Tokyo’s youngest-ever foreign correspondent.

After launching his iconic gossip column, The National Enquirer’s #1 feature, and his show on CBS radio nationwide, Walker became weekly co-anchor on TV’s Geraldo and guested on such top shows like Nightline. After writing and hosting two successful MGM-TV specials, he created the daily series, National Enquirer TV!

Mike became the only reporter ever to write two bestsellers on one story when his books on the O.J. Simpson trial hit #1 and #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Dubbed “The King of Gossip” by Publisher’s Weekly, he played his weekly “Gossip Game” on The Howard Stern Show for a record 16 years.

He’s lectured at distinguished journalism schools at Columbia University and UC Berkeley; and received a prestigious invitation to become a Fellow of Ireland’s legendary Trinity College, Dublin.

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