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eadieburke
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Welcome Ed:

 

Just finished reading all the info here about you and your books. Seems like you have an exciting job! Someone should write a book about you and your adventures!

 

Can't wait to read STORM DAMAGE. Hope you enjoy your visit with us and come back when your next book is released!

 

One question - was the real murder of the bar owner ever solved?

 

 

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

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:


Sorry I'm late. I'm a garden writer by day, and I had to do a telephone interview this morning - it ran well over an hour! Whew.

 

When I first started talking to mystery authors about their writing methods, I was surprised how many said they didn't know "whodunnit" when they started out. I'd always thought mysteries, more than other genres, would have to be methodically plotted out.

 

I think it's very cool that so many authors - like you - often start out not knowing how the story is going to end. Andrew Grant compared it to "driving through fog" - he said he could see a certain distance ahead, and he knew he was on the right road, but he couldn't see all the way to his destination. 

 

It sounds like your method involves more plotting, while still leaving room for the magic. Love it!

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dhaupt
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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/


Wow, that's one great review Ed. Congrats!!!!!

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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

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!

 

 


Ed, I don't want to be in St. Louis in January either but that's life :smileyhappy:

thanks for the story on naming your character.

I'll be watching for updates on where you'll be when you get into town.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

[ Edited ]

EdKovacs wrote:

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.

 


I'm not a huge fan of the CSI shows. It's like Cirque du Soleil, there are so many sharks jumping through the air. They are so far over the top I just give up on anything remotely connecting to reality.

 

Personally, I prefer British mysteries like Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War and New Tricks. I've recently become hooked on The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, and I've always liked the Law & Order franchises. I can't watch Criminal Minds, even though it's well-made. Too scary for me!

 

Do you get many opportunities to watch TV at all over there? I wouldn't think there'd be a big demand for English-language television - or am I wrong about that? If they don't have American TV shows (not really surprised about that), do they have BBC?

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


eadieburke wrote:

Welcome Ed:

 

Just finished reading all the info here about you and your books. Seems like you have an exciting job! Someone should write a book about you and your adventures!

 

Can't wait to read STORM DAMAGE. Hope you enjoy your visit with us and come back when your next book is released!

 

One question - was the real murder of the bar owner ever solved?

 

 


Oh, good question, Eadie!

 

And that's a good point about Ed's life story. Have you considered writing your own autobiography, Ed, or would there be too many things classified, that you can't write about?

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EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


eadieburke wrote:

Welcome Ed:

 

Just finished reading all the info here about you and your books. Seems like you have an exciting job! Someone should write a book about you and your adventures!

 

Can't wait to read STORM DAMAGE. Hope you enjoy your visit with us and come back when your next book is released!

 

One question - was the real murder of the bar owner ever solved?

 

 


Eadie,

 

Thanks for your generous thoughts:smileyhappy:

 

To my knowledge, the murder of that bar owner was never solved.  The facts were quite curious; I even considered writing a non-fiction book about that murder.

 

I've been fortunate to have led a very interesting life so far.  There have been more than a few lonely times when I longed for the mundane stability of a house in the burbs and a regular job.  My friends who lived that reality often offered to trade places with me, so I guess the grass is really always greener!

 

The thing I try to do most is to live in the present.  Not the past, not the future, but to choose to be happy in the here and now.  That's my secret.

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


becke_davis wrote:

EdKovacs wrote:

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.

 


I'm not a huge fan of the CSI shows. It's like Cirque du Soleil, there are so many sharks jumping through the air. They are so far over the top I just give up on anything remotely connecting to reality.

 

Personally, I prefer British mysteries like Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War and New Tricks. I've recently become hooked on The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, and I've always liked the Law & Order franchises. I can't watch Criminal Minds, even though it's well-made. Too scary for me!

 

Do you get many opportunities to watch TV at all over there? I wouldn't think there'd be a big demand for English-language television - or am I wrong about that? If they don't have American TV shows (not really surprised about that), do they have BBC?


Becke,

 

British mysteries are pretty tasty, I have to admit.

 

Where I am now, the two English language channels we get are BBC news and National Geographic.  The contract I was on before this one, we got AFN, Armed Forces Network.  To be honest, I unplugged the cable TV cord and use the flat screen TV in my quarters as an external computer monitor for my little Acer notebook.  The Little Computer That Could!

 

Hey, sorry, but it's late here and I have to sign off.  See you tomorrow.  I'll post some interesting stories about the conditions under which I wrote STORM DAMAGE.

Ed

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

Welcome Ed:

 

Just finished reading all the info here about you and your books. Seems like you have an exciting job! Someone should write a book about you and your adventures!

 

Can't wait to read STORM DAMAGE. Hope you enjoy your visit with us and come back when your next book is released!

 

One question - was the real murder of the bar owner ever solved?

 

 


Eadie,

 

Thanks for your generous thoughts:smileyhappy:

 

To my knowledge, the murder of that bar owner was never solved.  The facts were quite curious; I even considered writing a non-fiction book about that murder.

 

I've been fortunate to have led a very interesting life so far.  There have been more than a few lonely times when I longed for the mundane stability of a house in the burbs and a regular job.  My friends who lived that reality often offered to trade places with me, so I guess the grass is really always greener!

 

The thing I try to do most is to live in the present.  Not the past, not the future, but to choose to be happy in the here and now.  That's my secret.


Sounds like a good plan, Ed!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Ed - When you were young, is this the career you envisioned for yourself? (Both as a writer, and with your day job.) If not, what did you plan to be when you grew up?

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

This is a little late, but congratulations on your release day!!

 

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


becke_davis wrote:

Ed - When you were young, is this the career you envisioned for yourself? (Both as a writer, and with your day job.) If not, what did you plan to be when you grew up?


Becke,

 

When I was very young I waned to be a policeman.  I have come close to that profession!

 

Later I wanted to be a radio announcer.  Goal achieved!

 

Then in college I decided I wanted to be a writer. 

 

So I suppose I have achieved 2.5 out of three. :smileyhappy:

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Ed - When you were young, is this the career you envisioned for yourself? (Both as a writer, and with your day job.) If not, what did you plan to be when you grew up?


Becke,

 

When I was very young I waned to be a policeman.  I have come close to that profession!

 

Later I wanted to be a radio announcer.  Goal achieved!

 

Then in college I decided I wanted to be a writer. 

 

So I suppose I have achieved 2.5 out of three. :smileyhappy:


2.5 out of three is pretty darn amazing! 

 

How did you get into your current line of work?

 

How (and why, I might add) did you decide to write a book - and then find time to write it - when you were already so busy with this stressful and time-consuming job?

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Good morning, all! (I know there are a lot of lurkers out there - hope you're having a good day!)

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

This is probably more appropriate for Ed, who is 12 hours ahead of me (Eastern time zone):

 

Author
EdKovacs
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

[ Edited ]

Becke,

 

Thanks for the congrats on the release date!

 

Hey, I just got a Tweet from www.criminalelement.com regarding a review of STORM DAMAGE.  Mind if I post it?

 

Click here...  http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2011/12/fresh-meat-storm-damage-by-ed-kovacs

 

...or just keep reading:

 

Fresh Meat: Storm Damage by Ed Kovacs

 

 

For Cliff St. James, the hard-hitting PI (literally: he dabbles in mixed martial arts on the side) in Kovacs’s debut, life has a dividing line. There’s before the Storm and after. Since he lives in New Orleans (“Nu-whohr-lins” for those of us who use books to brush up on our regional accents), it almost seems like an insult call said Storm “Hurricane Katrina.” The “K” word is barely uttered. That’s what outsiders say, people who watched the disaster unfold on TV, not the ones who still live without electricity, some in FEMA trailers, some in patched-together houses that were, only five months before we meet Cliff, submerged in water tainted with sewage and enough bacteria to leave swatches of mold in its wake. But all of this, coupled with the police department’s barely 20% solve rate for homicides, is part of the New Normal. And just as the perpetually damp buildings are prime breeding grounds for mold and decay, the struggling city is ripe for crime.

Like so many of his fictional counterparts, Cliff becomes a PI following a truncated career as a cop. In his case, it’s hard to rise up in the ranks when you maybe-not-so-accidentally hit the Chief of Police in the face with a well-placed handful of Mardi Gras beads during a particularly alcohol-fueled moment of revelry on Fat Tuesday. His last day on the beat coincides with the full wrath of the Storm, as well as the discovery of a fresh corpse, local bar owner and former Chief Building Inspector Sam Siu. I’ve seen enough crime shows to know that dead body plus approaching hurricane do not a good pair make. It’s also just common sense that a cop whose first name is “Dice” is most likely dirty, or at registers somewhere on the sleazebag scale. Turns out Detective Sergeant Dice McCarty is the double whammy of dirty sleazebag, known to take bribes from area drug dealers as well as sleep with Cliff’s ex-wife. Add “possibly erasing pertinent files from a murder victim’s laptop at a crime scene” to his list of less than admirable qualities and Dice is firmly entrenched in my mind as a guy I wouldn’t mind seeing flounder around in a cage fight against Cliff. Fair-schmair.

 

Cliff’s first PI case brings Sam’s death full circle when his daughter, Twee—who may or may not be on the level herself—hires Cliff to investigate her father’s death. Apparently, in the aftermath of the Storm, NOPD’s to-do list didn’t include tracking down Sam’s killer, particularly since his body had been washed away and the crime scene flooded. Sam’s abandoned bar, the Tiki Hut, is far from the only thing that’s dirty as Cliff starts investigating.

 

Despite his less than exemplary record with the department, Cliff maintains a healthy network of cop contacts, a list of chits he can call in should the need arise. Easily his most intriguing friend in blue is Sergeant Baybee. Admittedly, I thought she was a prostitute the first time she was introduced. And not the vice-cop-undercover-as-a-working-girl kind. This is because Sergeant Baybee’s first name is Honey. And the character isn’t a man built like a linebacker with a deceptively cute nickname. She’s a kickass woman who gets ornery if she doesn’t get to break up bar fights every so often. The name is still cringe-worthy but the character grew on me almost immediately. Especially because it’s obviously that Honey could take down Dice one-handed anytime.

 

The case itself is rewardingly twisty, especially given the fact that the majority of the suspects are guilty of something, even if it’s not murder (or not the murder Cliff is investigating). In a sense, Cliff’s journeys through various gang underworlds, as well as the CIA’s possible involvement with local drug trade, also serve as a skewed love letter to his adopted city. Just as so many of the structures need to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch rather than just shoddily patched up in the wake of the Storm, Cliff doesn’t gloss over the city’s still-festering open wounds in need of care. He’s also perfected the art of integrating stories about his own experiences during the Storm’s immediate aftermath—but only to a point—to further his own goals, such as obtaining his PI license in Baton Rouge:

The bag of pastries I brought from the Winn-Dixie didn’t hurt, either. The ladies were hungry for Danish and juicy tidbits of what it had been like during those first days after the Storm in the Big Easy, and I wasn’t above sharing in order to win their confidence and sympathy. I wanted that license today.So I told them true stories of boat rescues, body retrievals, and waxing a few dirtbags in gunfights. They were stories I was comfortable telling to strangers, the ones I had become dispassionate about. The memories that still got to me, the ones that made me wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night, I didn’t share with anyone except my buddies-in-arms who were there and who understood completely.

It’s odd to feel the urge to visit a place as ravaged by nature and humans as Kovacs’s New Orleans but somehow he makes it appealing. Granted, it would be handy to have Cliff as a tour guide (or body guard). I might also want to borrow some of Sgt. Babybee’s body armor but I think she’d fight me for it and I can already predict who’d win. It’s the spirit of the city that Cliff hangs onto and that Kovacs highlights. In the week leading up the first Mardi Gras following the Storm, right after someone has tossed his car, Cliff sees the familiar stirrings of the old “Nu-whohr-lins”:

From a gallery railing of the antique shop across the street, the owner had hung a purple, green, and gold flag. Purple, green, and gold meant as much to the people of NOLA as the fleur-de-lis or an LSU jersey. Purple, green, and gold were the New Orleans colors for Mardi Gras. I smiled as I looked up and down the block, more closely this time. I noticed some Mardi Gras beads hanging from a mailbox, a tattered and faded fleur-de-lis T-shirt draped from a window ledge, a purple, green, and gold pennant dangling from a shop’s doorknob. The hollow shell of a burned-out redbrick building on the corner was now draped with gold lamé bunting like a Vera Wang gown on a toothless meth head.


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


becke_davis wrote:

EdKovacs wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Ed - When you were young, is this the career you envisioned for yourself? (Both as a writer, and with your day job.) If not, what did you plan to be when you grew up?


Becke,

 

When I was very young I waned to be a policeman.  I have come close to that profession!

 

Later I wanted to be a radio announcer.  Goal achieved!

 

Then in college I decided I wanted to be a writer. 

 

So I suppose I have achieved 2.5 out of three. :smileyhappy:


2.5 out of three is pretty darn amazing! 

 

How did you get into your current line of work?

 

How (and why, I might add) did you decide to write a book - and then find time to write it - when you were already so busy with this stressful and time-consuming job?


Becke,

 

Back in the 1990s I started writing a novel--my first attempt--but didn't finish it.  It was a mystery with a surfing PI based in Redondo Beach, California.  Since I had always previously finished what I started, it kind of spooked me and kept me from wrting novels until UNSEEN FORCES, which came out in late 2004.

 

Now I can say that working on a novel is the most natural and satisfying feeling I have ever had as a writer.  Puzzling out the plot of a mystery or thriller or action adventure story is challenging, surprising and ultimately very satisfying, although my ex-wife was always unnerved by the inordinate amount of time I spent thinking about fresh ways to kill people.

 

Anyway, if you get hold of a story, or a story gets hold of you, what difference does it make what your day job is, right?  One simply has to press ahead.

 

STORM DAMAGE is unusual because it took me three years to finish it.  I worked 12 hour shifts, six or seven days a week for different security companies over that three year period.  I never had a chance to just write full-time.  I spent two and a half years in New Orleans and seriously started working on the book in 2007, the same year I co-founded a security company that specialized in providing training, including to local SWAT teams.  So I was pretty busy.  But if I worked nightshift, I could usually spend a couple of hours each shift writing, while still fulfilling my duties.

 

In early 2009 I was working a security job on the most heavily drug-trafficked stretch of the Mexican border.  I’d been re-writing whenever I could and finally felt that STORM DAMAGE was finished.  I e-mailed it to three people for feedback.  None of them responded or acknowledged even receiving it.  I waited months and began to believe that the book must be terrible, that these people were too uncomfortable to tell me how bad it was.

 

Late in 2009 I was working a security contract on the French Riviera and reread the manuscript on my notebook computer while drinking café crèmes on the Med.  I thought it read pretty well, but then, I sold my gold coins when gold was $350 an ounce, so what do I know?  I decided to hire a real editor and get an unbiased take on whether I had pearls or swine.  Thank God for the Internet and Pure Dumb Luck.  Through the search-engine-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken, I located a gentleman, who seemed like he might be okay.  It was kind of like ordering Viagra online from Surinam; maybe you’re getting the real thing, maybe it’s baby laxative.  I initially had no clue that his clients included major heavyweight super-talented authors.

 

For some reason—probably because he felt sorry for a clueless dolt like me—he reluctantly agreed to read my first 50 pages.  He was loaded with other work, and when he finally got back to me, he said he would edit my manuscript and that if the rest of STORM DAMAGE was as good as the first 50 pages, he would do his best to help me get a literary agent. His subsequent editing was trenchant and invaluable, and within a very short time—I was in Thailand by then for the anti-government rioting in spring of 2010—I not only had a great agent, but a two book deal with St. Martin’s Press. 

Author
EdKovacs
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎09-12-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Sorry about the time zone difference, but I'm all in and have to crash.  If any of your readers gets in to a bookstore (Barnes and Noble, of course) maybe they could take a snap of my book?  And post it?

 

Cheers,

Ed

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!

Ed, sleep tight.

 

And kudos on that great review

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author ED KOVACS!


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Thanks for the congrats on the release date!

 

Hey, I just got a Tweet from www.criminalelement.com regarding a review of STORM DAMAGE.  Mind if I post it?

 

Click here...  http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2011/12/fresh-meat-storm-damage-by-ed-kovacs

 

...or just keep reading:

 

Fresh Meat: Storm Damage by Ed Kovacs

 

 

For Cliff St. James, the hard-hitting PI (literally: he dabbles in mixed martial arts on the side) in Kovacs’s debut, life has a dividing line. There’s before the Storm and after. Since he lives in New Orleans (“Nu-whohr-lins” for those of us who use books to brush up on our regional accents), it almost seems like an insult call said Storm “Hurricane Katrina.” The “K” word is barely uttered. That’s what outsiders say, people who watched the disaster unfold on TV, not the ones who still live without electricity, some in FEMA trailers, some in patched-together houses that were, only five months before we meet Cliff, submerged in water tainted with sewage and enough bacteria to leave swatches of mold in its wake. But all of this, coupled with the police department’s barely 20% solve rate for homicides, is part of the New Normal. And just as the perpetually damp buildings are prime breeding grounds for mold and decay, the struggling city is ripe for crime.

Like so many of his fictional counterparts, Cliff becomes a PI following a truncated career as a cop. In his case, it’s hard to rise up in the ranks when you maybe-not-so-accidentally hit the Chief of Police in the face with a well-placed handful of Mardi Gras beads during a particularly alcohol-fueled moment of revelry on Fat Tuesday. His last day on the beat coincides with the full wrath of the Storm, as well as the discovery of a fresh corpse, local bar owner and former Chief Building Inspector Sam Siu. I’ve seen enough crime shows to know that dead body plus approaching hurricane do not a good pair make. It’s also just common sense that a cop whose first name is “Dice” is most likely dirty, or at registers somewhere on the sleazebag scale. Turns out Detective Sergeant Dice McCarty is the double whammy of dirty sleazebag, known to take bribes from area drug dealers as well as sleep with Cliff’s ex-wife. Add “possibly erasing pertinent files from a murder victim’s laptop at a crime scene” to his list of less than admirable qualities and Dice is firmly entrenched in my mind as a guy I wouldn’t mind seeing flounder around in a cage fight against Cliff. Fair-schmair.

 

Cliff’s first PI case brings Sam’s death full circle when his daughter, Twee—who may or may not be on the level herself—hires Cliff to investigate her father’s death. Apparently, in the aftermath of the Storm, NOPD’s to-do list didn’t include tracking down Sam’s killer, particularly since his body had been washed away and the crime scene flooded. Sam’s abandoned bar, the Tiki Hut, is far from the only thing that’s dirty as Cliff starts investigating.

 

Despite his less than exemplary record with the department, Cliff maintains a healthy network of cop contacts, a list of chits he can call in should the need arise. Easily his most intriguing friend in blue is Sergeant Baybee. Admittedly, I thought she was a prostitute the first time she was introduced. And not the vice-cop-undercover-as-a-working-girl kind. This is because Sergeant Baybee’s first name is Honey. And the character isn’t a man built like a linebacker with a deceptively cute nickname. She’s a kickass woman who gets ornery if she doesn’t get to break up bar fights every so often. The name is still cringe-worthy but the character grew on me almost immediately. Especially because it’s obviously that Honey could take down Dice one-handed anytime.

 

The case itself is rewardingly twisty, especially given the fact that the majority of the suspects are guilty of something, even if it’s not murder (or not the murder Cliff is investigating). In a sense, Cliff’s journeys through various gang underworlds, as well as the CIA’s possible involvement with local drug trade, also serve as a skewed love letter to his adopted city. Just as so many of the structures need to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch rather than just shoddily patched up in the wake of the Storm, Cliff doesn’t gloss over the city’s still-festering open wounds in need of care. He’s also perfected the art of integrating stories about his own experiences during the Storm’s immediate aftermath—but only to a point—to further his own goals, such as obtaining his PI license in Baton Rouge:

The bag of pastries I brought from the Winn-Dixie didn’t hurt, either. The ladies were hungry for Danish and juicy tidbits of what it had been like during those first days after the Storm in the Big Easy, and I wasn’t above sharing in order to win their confidence and sympathy. I wanted that license today.So I told them true stories of boat rescues, body retrievals, and waxing a few dirtbags in gunfights. They were stories I was comfortable telling to strangers, the ones I had become dispassionate about. The memories that still got to me, the ones that made me wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night, I didn’t share with anyone except my buddies-in-arms who were there and who understood completely.

It’s odd to feel the urge to visit a place as ravaged by nature and humans as Kovacs’s New Orleans but somehow he makes it appealing. Granted, it would be handy to have Cliff as a tour guide (or body guard). I might also want to borrow some of Sgt. Babybee’s body armor but I think she’d fight me for it and I can already predict who’d win. It’s the spirit of the city that Cliff hangs onto and that Kovacs highlights. In the week leading up the first Mardi Gras following the Storm, right after someone has tossed his car, Cliff sees the familiar stirrings of the old “Nu-whohr-lins”:

From a gallery railing of the antique shop across the street, the owner had hung a purple, green, and gold flag. Purple, green, and gold meant as much to the people of NOLA as the fleur-de-lis or an LSU jersey. Purple, green, and gold were the New Orleans colors for Mardi Gras. I smiled as I looked up and down the block, more closely this time. I noticed some Mardi Gras beads hanging from a mailbox, a tattered and faded fleur-de-lis T-shirt draped from a window ledge, a purple, green, and gold pennant dangling from a shop’s doorknob. The hollow shell of a burned-out redbrick building on the corner was now draped with gold lamé bunting like a Vera Wang gown on a toothless meth head.



Wow, what a fantastic review! Congratulations!

 

Criminal Element is a great site - here's the link: http://www.criminalelement.com/