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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Let me take a run at another one of your questions here:

 

1) Is STORM DAMAGE based on real events you witnessed while working in New Orleans after Katrina?

 

 

I witnessed a lot of amazing things, much of it not so pleasant.  The book is inspired by a real murder that took place--the last murder before Katrina hit.  I just used that as a premise--a bar owner found dead as the hurricane bore down on the city--as my jumping off point.

 

Serendipity threw the story in my lap.  I was already aware of the unsolved murder that had been turned over to cold case detectives.  On a rare day off from my job as a security operator, I was walking in the Warehouse Arts District, and found an old brick building I wanted to possibly purchase.  I met the “owner” who turned out to be an NOPD reserve officer and also a bar owner.  His old bar had been destroyed by the hurricane and he was renovating a new bar he had just bought, right next door to the building I wanted to buy.

           

It turned out his new bar was the murder-victim’s old bar.  It also turned out he had known the victim and was one of the original responding officers to the crime scene.  It quickly became clear to me that a heavily fictionalized crime story using the real-life scenario as an inspirational starting point was something I wanted to do.

 

Wow, that was DEFINITELY serendipity! It gave me chills!

 

I'd like to emphasize that the name "Katrina" never appears in my novel.  I simply refer to the Storm.  I don't claim my story to be some kind of documentary recreation of that specific tragedy, but rather the portrayal of an outsider's dogged investigation against overwhelming odds in the aftermath of a killer hurricane.  The fact that I lived through such an aftermath adds, I hope, a lot of veracity to the story.

 

I don't think you need to spell it out. It's such a pretty name, but I imagine to those who survived it, it's not a name anyone needs as a reminder.


 

Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Hi, Ed, I haven't read any of your books but plan to in the near future. Thanks for being on the Mystery Forum.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Thanks Becke!  I saw that, but you did such a great job and you're such a sweetheart, I wasn't going to say anything.  I'm a terrible speller and with these posts I make with your readers, please forgive my bad grammer and the many typos that will no doubt creep in.  Glad to see you are human!

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Hi Patti,

 

Thanks for your kind words and the questions. 

 

The thing about titles is, sometimes it just comes to you and you know it's right.

And sometimes, you know you have a "working title" and that it will change.  As a writer I have to press ahead even if I know the title I have at the time sucks!

 

I did a movie with Jon Turtletaub, who went on to become a big director.  We were writing the screenplay together and I was worried about the title.  He told me, "Don't worry, the title will come out of the script."  And one day he read a new draft I wrote, then called me and said,  "Okay Ed, we've got the title, it was in the dialogue of your new draft."  The title was "Think Big."  Not a fabulous movie, but it got made, which is always a minor miracle!  I wrote in those days under the name of Edward Kovach.  But I wrote scripts under other names, too.

 

I wrestled with a lot of titles before I chose STORM DAMAGE.  I like it because it refered to the city of New Orleans after the hurricane, and it referred to the people, too.  A lot of human psyches were damaged by Katrina, and that plays an important part in my novel.

 

Patti, I avoided mysteries for many years in my writing career because they intimidated me.  Years ago, my friend in LA, Henry Olek, was a very talented mystery writer of films and TV.  I admired the hell out of Henry, and still do.  I guess I didn't have enough confidence to tackle them, back then.  I can tell you that now I work very very hard to write a mystery that will be as thrilling as is it surprising, and I hope, fulfilling to my readers.

 

As to your last question, let me say that I once tried to quit writing.  This was a rough time in my life and it cost me my marriage.  What more does one have to sacrifice for one's art?  I was pretty bitter and stopped writing. 

 

But writing simply runs in my blood.  I got back on the horse, as it were, and just started to write for myself.  To hell with the world, is what I thought.  I will just write for me.  And here I am.

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Thanks Becke!  I saw that, but you did such a great job and you're such a sweetheart, I wasn't going to say anything.  I'm a terrible speller and with these posts I make with your readers, please forgive my bad grammer and the many typos that will no doubt creep in.  Glad to see you are human!


LOL - oh, believe me, I make my share of typos! Usually I catch them (I'm an obsessive self-editor) but it drives me nuts when I make mistakes like that. So sorry!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Ed - You've probably figured this out, but a lot more people view these threads than comment on them. I think it's partly because of the glitchy sign-in process, which is frustrating. But over 100 people have viewed this thread already, so even though it might seem like we're only talking to each other, a lot of people are following the conversation!

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Ha!  I'm not sure, Becke, that I do handle all the demands on my time!  If I can get six hours a night I'm okay.  I have a lot of energy, thank God.  Like soldiers everywhere, you take "power naps" whenever you can. 

 

I had an extra day off today, and at one point this afternoon I simply passed out for 3 hours.  And that was after three Turkish coffees!  It was great!

 

Since I'm not actively working on a new manuscript, I'm finding it fairly easy to do all the social networking stuff--which I enjoy, BTW--at the same time developing new story ideas and cranking out a few articles.  Just for fun I've been developing a non-fiction book on travel safety since I have a lot of experience in that area. 

 

The follow-up book to STORM DAMAGE is finished and has been accepted by St. Martin's.  That's called GOOD JUNK and will be out next year, featuring most of the same characters.  So right now I have FIVE different books I'm ready to write next, but I have to wait to see what my publisher wants.

 

Some people consider time to be their enemy; I try to make it my friend.

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Yes, Debbie is my friend on Facebook--we're both Cardinals fans and cheered the Redbirds to a World Series win this year.  Go Cardinals!!!

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Thanks for your question, Fricka.

 

I studied dowsing in Tucson while I was working a security contract on the Mexican border.  My teacher, Marge Hefty, once dowsed a water well for the Tucson water utility.  She hit it on the nose telling them the location to drill, how deep they would have to go, and how many gallons per minute they would get!

 

I've been able to locate things like buried water/sewer/electrical/cable TV lines on a property.  Didn't have any luck dowsing for gold down in Ruby, Arizona, though!

 

When I get around to doing a sequel to UNSEEN FORCES, dowsing just might play a role in that novel, since there will be some attempts to locate buried artifacts.

 

A person can dowse for anything.  My late uncle Barney was quite talented at dowsing for gold and silver.

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Happy Birthday, Virginia Rose!

Becke,

 

Thanks so much, I'll make sure my mom sees this.

 

I'll catch you all later, as it's late here, my eyes are giving out, and that 5:30AM wake-up always come too soon.

 

cheers,

Ed

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becke_davis
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Re: Happy Birthday, Virginia Rose!


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Thanks so much, I'll make sure my mom sees this.

 

I'll catch you all later, as it's late here, my eyes are giving out, and that 5:30AM wake-up always come too soon.

 

cheers,

Ed


Isn't it after midnight there? Good grief - go get some sleep! Thanks for hanging out with us today!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Ha!  I'm not sure, Becke, that I do handle all the demands on my time!  If I can get six hours a night I'm okay.  I have a lot of energy, thank God.  Like soldiers everywhere, you take "power naps" whenever you can. 

 

I had an extra day off today, and at one point this afternoon I simply passed out for 3 hours.  And that was after three Turkish coffees!  It was great!

 

Since I'm not actively working on a new manuscript, I'm finding it fairly easy to do all the social networking stuff--which I enjoy, BTW--at the same time developing new story ideas and cranking out a few articles.  Just for fun I've been developing a non-fiction book on travel safety since I have a lot of experience in that area. 

 

The follow-up book to STORM DAMAGE is finished and has been accepted by St. Martin's.  That's called GOOD JUNK and will be out next year, featuring most of the same characters.  So right now I have FIVE different books I'm ready to write next, but I have to wait to see what my publisher wants.

 

Some people consider time to be their enemy; I try to make it my friend.


It's nice you have a little break before your next deadline. Make the most of it!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Yes, Debbie is my friend on Facebook--we're both Cardinals fans and cheered the Redbirds to a World Series win this year.  Go Cardinals!!!


Yep, that's our Debbie!

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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

It's December 5, 2011 already over here where I am, so please let me wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mother, Virginia Rose, who is 89 today and living in the St. Louis area with my brother.

 

My birthday gift to her this year was an e-book reader.  She loves it!  My brother and sisters showed her how to use it and she's buring through the books--especially the romances.  And at her age! :smileywink:

 

How cool that she can enlarge the print, thereby making it easy for her to read again.  Wish I'd bought her one earlier, but we can download from B&N and she gets the books, no problem.  I'm happy that worked out.

 

Do you have a lot of NOOK users here!  Personally, I like the trifecta: hardback books, paperback books, and ebooks.  They all have their place in my life.


Hi Ed, and Happy Birthday Rose, who is a neighbor of mine as I live in St. Charles County MO which is practically a suburb of St. Louis.

 

And a big Hello from your friend here and yes if you do make a stop in St. Louis I definitely want to know about it.

 

Ed, your novel Storm Damage looks really good and the premise is chilling and yet something we can all enjoy and how better to hide a murder than during the biggest disaster this side of Vesuvius.

 

Now did you just pick that name out of a hat Ed (Cliff St James) or did Corky here in St. Louis inspire you.

Yes Ed and I single handedly brought the Cardinals victory :smileyhappy:

And I'm glad to see that there will be more in the series in The Big Easy.

 

Ed take care 

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Maxcat,

 

Thanks for your kind words.

 

Hey, my publicist at Macmillian just emailed me the Associated Press review for STORM DAMAGE.  Do you mind if I post it here?  I'm pretty jazzed!

 

Ex-cop solves crime in post-Katrina New Orleans

By MARY FOSTER

The Associated Press

 

"Storm Damage: a Crime Novel" (Minotaur), by Ed Kovacs: The bleak and dangerous situation in New Orleans that followed Hurricane Katrina has an element of treachery added to it in Ed Kovacs' new novel, "Storm Damage."

As the book opens, it's five months, 15 days into the "new normal," as residents called the time just after the storm. Kovacs' hero, Cliff St. James, was a policeman until the hurricane. He is now teaching martial arts, but he's broke and going deep into debt.

"Mother Nature and the looters had destroyed my place of business; my students fled to points unknown around the country. I had no job, no income. Me and a couple hundred thousand other people."

St. James is in his damaged dojo when a woman walks in and startles him so much, he's decked by a student. Twee Siu is the daughter of the last murder victim before Katrina hit. Her father was a friend of St. James, and she wants to hire the former cop to find out what happened. He is reluctant to take the case until Siu offers him $550 a day plus expenses and a $30,000 bonus if he finds out what happened to her father.

In "Storm Damage," everyone has an ulterior motive and everyone is dirty, especially the police and Detective Sgt. Dice McCarty, who was St. James' nemesis when he was on the force. McCarty has since hooked up with St. James' ex-wife.

As St. James looks for answers, he wanders through a city that is as dark — and the characters as hard to pin down — as the floodwaters still swirling in many of the city's streets.

Finding out what happened isn't going to be easy. The body disappeared with the flood, and so did any evidence. That's not to say St. James won't find out a lot about his old friend, including a connection with the CIA.

By the time Mardi Gras hits the storm-torn streets, St. James is trying to not only solve a mystery, but also avoid a killer who's looking for him.

Kovacs has written a fast-paced, gritty novel in which no one is to be trusted and nothing is as it seems. His noir take on the thriller will hook readers and make residents of New Orleans glad that although things were bad in their city, they weren't as bad as Kovacs paints them.

___

Online:

http://www.edkovacs.com/

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Maxcat,

 

Thanks for your kind words.

 

Hey, my publicist at Macmillian just emailed me the Associated Press review for STORM DAMAGE.  Do you mind if I post it here?  I'm pretty jazzed!

 

Ex-cop solves crime in post-Katrina New Orleans

By MARY FOSTER

The Associated Press

 

"Storm Damage: a Crime Novel" (Minotaur), by Ed Kovacs: The bleak and dangerous situation in New Orleans that followed Hurricane Katrina has an element of treachery added to it in Ed Kovacs' new novel, "Storm Damage."

As the book opens, it's five months, 15 days into the "new normal," as residents called the time just after the storm. Kovacs' hero, Cliff St. James, was a policeman until the hurricane. He is now teaching martial arts, but he's broke and going deep into debt.

"Mother Nature and the looters had destroyed my place of business; my students fled to points unknown around the country. I had no job, no income. Me and a couple hundred thousand other people."

St. James is in his damaged dojo when a woman walks in and startles him so much, he's decked by a student. Twee Siu is the daughter of the last murder victim before Katrina hit. Her father was a friend of St. James, and she wants to hire the former cop to find out what happened. He is reluctant to take the case until Siu offers him $550 a day plus expenses and a $30,000 bonus if he finds out what happened to her father.

In "Storm Damage," everyone has an ulterior motive and everyone is dirty, especially the police and Detective Sgt. Dice McCarty, who was St. James' nemesis when he was on the force. McCarty has since hooked up with St. James' ex-wife.

As St. James looks for answers, he wanders through a city that is as dark — and the characters as hard to pin down — as the floodwaters still swirling in many of the city's streets.

Finding out what happened isn't going to be easy. The body disappeared with the flood, and so did any evidence. That's not to say St. James won't find out a lot about his old friend, including a connection with the CIA.

By the time Mardi Gras hits the storm-torn streets, St. James is trying to not only solve a mystery, but also avoid a killer who's looking for him.

Kovacs has written a fast-paced, gritty novel in which no one is to be trusted and nothing is as it seems. His noir take on the thriller will hook readers and make residents of New Orleans glad that although things were bad in their city, they weren't as bad as Kovacs paints them.

___

Online:

http://www.edkovacs.com/


This is so cool! Definitely, post anything you want - I looked for videos, too, but couldn't find any (other than your Flickr pix).

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Do you watch crime/mystery/suspense TV shows or movies? If so, which ones are your favorites? 

 

Also, if STORM DAMAGE is ever made into a movie, who would you choose for the cast?

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Hi Debbie,

 

Thanks for the birthday wishes for my mother, I'll pass them on.  I'll be signing in St. Louis, I think in the afternoon on January 15, 2012.   I'll let you know.

 

I suppose a lot of readers in St. Louis will make that connection to my protagonist's name, Cliff St. James, so I better explain.

 

I spent a lot of time debating what to name my hero.  Somehow I settled on the family name of St. James.  I considered Alex, Nick, Eric, and other first names.  I had a tough-guy buddy down there in New Orleans who was an out-of-town construction worker named Cliff.  I liked that name, and I liked it also because my hero constantly takes fearless metaphorical leaps from cliffs into the dark unknown.  The name sounded right: Cliff St. James.

 

Later, as I was writing, I recalled that there had been a TV personality--a weatherman--in St. Louis when I was growing up.  And his name was Cliff St. James.  At that time I debated changing my hero's name (you don't name an action hero after a weatherman!).  But I decided against it.

 

I think the name works for my hero, and I am anxious to hear from readers to see if they agree.

 

I'm looking forward to returning to St. Louis, but I'm not thrilled about doing it in the middle of January!

 

 

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Hi Becke,

 

I'm on lunch break over here in Trashcanistan, so I have to be quick. Since you didn't mind me posting the AP review I got Dec 5th, here's the Booklist review from November, 2011:

 

Issue: November 1, 2011
Storm Damage.
Kovacs, Ed (Author)
Dec 2011. 320 p. Minotaur, hardcover, $25.99. (9781935554646).

 

A sleeper here, a beautiful spin on hard-boiled fiction that respects the conventions—starting with the
knockout female client with an agenda—rather than mocking or aping them. The hero is damaged goods, the politicos are corrupt, other guys you can’t figure out at all, and it’s all done with style and energy.

 

The setting is New Orleans, just pulverized by a Katrina-like hurricane. The storm also swept away a crime scene, and that’s why the hormonal woman seeks out PI Cliff St. James. Was that really her father’s body on the floor of the Tiki Hut? St. James’ investigation doesn’t end there: simply asking questions leads him to hints of a sneaky CIA plot and occasions the kind of cleansing bloodbath that has readers feeling like they’ve wandered happily into Hammett’s Red Harvest.

 

For the finale, Kovacs isn’t content to just have the hero explain everything. The revelations come during a freshly imagined, boozily whirling Mardi Gras party. The author works hard to make his world a place you can almost reach out and touch.
— Don Crinklaw

 

Becke, what an honor for the reviewer to compare the work with Dashiel Hammett.  Funny thing is, in real life Hammett worked as a Pinkerton Detective, and I have worked as a Pinkerton Security Agent.  What are the odds of that?

 

As to your question of whether I plot out my books before writing, the answer is yes.  It's an old habit I acquired as a screenwriter.  The 'fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants' approach seems to apply to the rest of my life, however!

 

I plotted out STORM DAMAGE, but when I wrote the first draft I wasn't sure who my killer was.  That was strange.  Any number of my characters could have done it.  Until I was writing Act Three, I wasn't sure.  Hopefully the readers won't figure it out until very late in the book, either.  :smileyhappy:

Author
EdKovacs
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Registered: ‎09-12-2011
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


becke_davis wrote:

Do you watch crime/mystery/suspense TV shows or movies? If so, which ones are your favorites? 

 

Also, if STORM DAMAGE is ever made into a movie, who would you choose for the cast?


I don't watch much TV.  I have NEVER seen any CSI show!  I was posted overseas somewhere a couple of years ago and got to watch some episodes of Law and Order--good stuff.  I've seen a few episodes of Boston Legal--terrific show.

 

I saw one or two taut episodes of 24; back when Alias was on, I tried to see those shows because I loved the conspiracies at play.  But maybe you get the idea...the biggest TV star in Hollywood could come up to me and I wouldn't have a clue who they were.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't have my nose in the air and look down on TV.  Mostly I just don't have the time. Or I'm in a place with NO US channels--like I am right now.  If I'm not working and I want to relax, I prefer to spend quality time with PEOPLE.

 

I love going to movies--who doesn't?  When I'm in the States I try to catch up with my movie-going. 

I make a lousy casting-director, so I'd like your readers to email me through my Website and tell me  who THEY think would be good to play the parts of Cliff and Honey in STORM DAMAGE.