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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Oct 19, 2023

Mark interviews actor/director/producer/writer Eriq La Salle about his latest novel LAWS OF ANNIHILATION and his life-long passion for storytelling.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, thanks Patrons, provides a personal update, and shares a word about this episode's sponsor.


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In their conversation, Mark and Eriq talk about:

  • How Eriq had always wanted to be a writer
  • Joining the high school drama club in junior high with the idea that they'd be able to put on the plays that he would write
  • Being told by the drama teacher that he had to audition, and how that started the "acting bug" that took him through a multi-decade career acting, directing, and producing
  • The way the author desire resurfaced about a dozen years ago
  • The prequel story to The Martyr Maker series (which appears in the end of LAWS OF DEPRAVITY) and why Eriq wrote it
  • The concept behind The Martyr Maker franchise
  • Loving movies and television and being inspired by the storytelling conventions there
  • The way each of the three main characters leads a little bit more in the first three books in the series
  • Eriq's work as Executive Producer for several years on Chicago PD
  • Directing and Executive Producing Dick Wolf's first show launched into streaming on Amazon Prime
  • A minor character in the series (known as "The African") who was fashioned after the Luca Brasi character in The Godfather and who will return in a later book in the series
  • How it took 10 years to find a publisher, and Eriq's DIY experience self-publishing
  • The importance of understanding and participating in the grass-roots style marketing as an author
  • Having to do a lot of marketing work even when you're with a larger publisher
  • The way that the status of "celebrity" can sometimes work against you
  • Eriq's respect for each medium and how to re-think, and re-learn in his unique roles within them
  • The importance of humbling yourself
  • How the marketing person that Eriq had hired and worked with eventually became his agent
  • Feeling that he is a better writer of fiction novels than of screenplays, despite his years of experience as an actor, director, and producer
  • The intention cinematic writing that Eriq did when crafting The Martyr Maker series
  • Enjoying collecting "useless trivia" and how that can aid in the research aspect of writing a novel
  • Giving credit to the technical advisors Eriq has worked with on shows like ER and Chicago PD
  • The various first readers that Eriq works with
  • Being an old fashioned paper book reader
  • Eriq's great respect for librarians
  • The delightful feeling of seeing your book in various bookstores of all sizes, including indie bookstores, big box stores, and airport bookstores
  • Doing several events in New York for the week the book is launching, including a special "On the Couch with Eriq La Salle"
  • The importance of listening to the messaging
  • The understanding that "we are blue collar artists"
  • Advice Eriq would offer to writers who are working at it and haven't yet found their success
  • And more . . .

After the interview, Mark reflects on a few of the things Eriq talked about, as well as a subtle, but important way Eriq spoke about the "team" he works with as an author.


Links of Interest:


Actor/director/producer Eriq La Salle is best known to worldwide television audiences for his award-winning portrayal of the commanding Dr. Peter Benton on the critically acclaimed and history-making medical drama ER. Educated at Juilliard and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, his credits range from Broadway to film roles opposite Eddie Murphy in Coming to America and Robin Williams in One Hour Photo and Hugh Jackman in Logan. La Salle has maintained a prolific acting career while at the same time working steadily as a director, taking the helm for HBO, Showtime, NBC, Fox and CBS. He remains a valued member of the Dick Wolf Entertainment camp after 4 years as Executive Producer and director on Chicago PD in addition to directing episodes of Law & Order, and Law and Order Organized Crime.

As a writer, La Salle is the author of several critically acclaimed thrillers published in 2022 and 2023-Laws of Depravity, Laws of Wrath, and Laws of Annihilation. He has also written an episode of The Twilight Zone which made WGA’s list of 101 Best Written TV Series. He lives in Los Angeles, California.



The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0