Q&A With Colin Salt
Colin Salt is the owner of the blog Fuldapocalypse Fiction, the author of the Sure Bet King series (whose second book recently released), as well as various other indepedent publications and collaborations with Sea Lion Press. Colin recently took the time to tell me about his latest work and favorite novels.
1. If you had to describe yourself as an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?
I’d say chocolate-vanilla twist, symbolizing my wildly varying interests. Chocolate and vanilla
each symbolize my love of the most obscure/detailed and the trashiest/most formulaic.
2. What books do you feel have made the biggest impact on your life? Similarly, what books have made
the biggest impact on your writing? Why?
This is a very difficult question because I’ve just read so many, and there’s a lot that’s
influential to me. For my blogging/writing life, the answer has to be Jerry Ahern’s Survivalist series. It’s this ridiculous Mad Max-type serial adventure series from the 1980s where super-Mary Sue John Rourke pulpily fights his way through a postapocalyptic wasteland. You get long, detailed plots, cliffhangers, ridiculous and ridiculously fun set pieces, and the whole thing is 27 books long. I got into them at just the right time, via a small quirk.
See, I’d just started up my blog, Fuldapocalypse Fiction, which was supposed to be doing detailed
reviews of conventional World War III novels like Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. The problem was,
there really aren’t that many, and I was just starting to figure this out. Now the Survivalist technically
counted as a WW3, so I started reading it.
Besides being a lot of fun, it opened the door to moving past that small niche and into being a blog
that reviewed all kinds of books, which in turn expanded my literary horizons.
For writing, I’d say Sidney Sheldon’s books, especially his Master of the Game. The style of his that I like
to call the “pop epic-”broad in scope but accessible, and often starring an ambitious, powerful woman-
was the single biggest influence on The Sure Bet King.
3. Tell me a little about your writing and publishing journey! How did your book grow from concept to
completion to publication?
To be honest, once the idea of writing a Sidney Sheldon-style pop epic centered around sports
betting happened, I just started writing it. It kind of clicked that I wanted a ‘tout’ (con artist who gives
out supposed winning picks) and a bookmaker to be the main characters, and from there it flowed
4. What kind of research did you complete for The Sure Bet King?
General stuff on sports betting, how sportsbooks and touts operated, and so on. I also studied
the relevant geography. I’m sure there’s plenty I got wrong and would love to see a gambler,
Cambodian, or best of all, a Cambodian gambler tear my writing apart.
5. What drew you to the idea of sports betting?
So I’ve gone through several phases where I looked at sports betting, watched the lines move,
and so on. Anyway, one of these phases was in Spring 2020 at the height of the COVID shutdowns. See,
almost every sports league in the world had shut down. So, I started looking at what was still going, and
there was a strange freak show appeal to it.
You had a few small-nation soccer leagues, remote-camera darts, and most bizarrely of all, these strange
and unusual Eastern European table tennis games that no one knew anything about before, yet everyone
started betting giant piles of money on-and continued to do so after regular sports returned.
Speaking of that, when regular sports did return, I felt a sour feeling. I knew that house edges had to
exist even before I did the research (after all, how else would the casinos stay in business?) but felt
uncomfortable seeing the sports betting media clearly push people into a rigged game. So when I did my
research, the more I found the less I liked-and the more I thought, “this could make for a good book.”
And it became timelier once New York legalized sports betting at the same time I was writing it!
6. Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Definitely co-main character and refugee turned casino magnate Ly Rachany along with her
daughter, Chantrea. I really wanted to make a Sidney Sheldon protagonist in her, and I hope I succeeded.
I did have fun making terrible person main character Eddie Ross, but having characters who are both
innocent and flawed but human was also a good touch.
7. What else should I know about you?
I’m into military history and simulation, and I even wrote the manual for a game called
Command: Modern Operations. It was also a great experience.