Julius Katz and Archie – author interview – Dave Zeltserman

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Julius Katz and Archie Virtual Book Tour

About Julius Katz and Archie

The award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted thousands of mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, winning a Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award . ‘Julius Katz’ introduced readers to Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Julius Katz, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of whizbang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI. Now in Julius Katz and Archie’s first full novel, the stakes have never been higher when a famous Boston mystery, Kenneth Kingston, tells Julius he wants to find out who’s planning to kill him. The problem is almost everyone in Kingston’s life has good reason to want to kill him, and this case soon plunges Julius and Archie deep into the world of murder and publishing.

Dave Zeltserman won the 2010 Shamus Award for Julius Katz, Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award for Archie’s Been Framed, and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was named by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year. His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it a ’superb mix of humor and horror’, and was shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. Outsourced (2011) has already been called ‘a small gem of crime fiction’ by Booklist and has been optioned by Impact Pictures and Constantin Film.

His latest book is Julius Katz and Archie (Top Suspense).

You can visit Dave’s website at www.davezeltserman.com. Connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Zeltserman/1434849193.


Q:  Give us an example of a typical writing day.


A:  I worked as a software engineer for 20+ years, so I try to take the same approach when writing fiction and make it a 10 hour a day job (although a very fun job). So first thing in the morning I stumble out of bed, slip on a bathrobe, and sit and write for about 4-5 hours, then I’ll break up the day with a Kung Fu workout, and after showering and dressing, spend 4-5 hours doing stuff like editing, working on outlines, writing promotional pieces, etc.


Q:  After dinner I’ll do some more writing.



Q:  Do you work from an outline?


A:  Yep, I always write a detailed outline before starting. At some point when I’m writing the book, it becomes something organic and new characters and plotlines appear, but I always work my way back to the outline.



Q:  Biggest Career Surprise


A:  When I originally wrote Small Crimes I thought I had something really good, but then it got rejected by every NY publisher, some several times. Eventually I sold it to the UK publisher, Serpent’s Tail, but by the time it came out I had convinced myself that I had misjudged how good it was from all the rejection I received, so it was a bit of a shock when NPR picked it as one of the 3 best crime and mystery novels of 2008.


Q:  Worst rejection you’ve ever received?


A:  I had self-published the first book I wrote, Fast Lane, with the idea that I would get enough blurbs and reviews for the book that it would help me find an agent for my second book, Bad Thoughts. So I sent the book to a very well-known person in the mystery field (who also publishes books) along with some of the blurbs I received from some well-known authors asking if he’d have any advice of how I could get the book picked up by a traditional publisher. He ended up sending me back a pretty nasty letter in effect saying the only thing of any value in my book was the cover. At this point I had had two short stories published and was probably at my most vulnerable, and if I didn’t have more faith in my writing this could’ve been crushing. So a couple of years later I ended up getting an Italian publisher publishing this book, and I now had an agent. One of my short stories also was getting nice recognition, and my agent sent this same book to this same person. It turns out he never read the book when I had originally sent it to him (and doesn’t recognize it now), and he actually liked it and tried to acquire it but couldn’t get enough support internally to do so.


Q:  Nicest rejection you’ve ever received?


A:  I’ve gotten a lot of nice rejections over the years from editors who claim they love my writing but just couldn’t get enough support to get the book bought. Those don’t mean squat, though.


Q:  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?


A:  Right now I’ve got two film deals where it looks very promising that the films will be made. With one of them I’m going to be writing the screenplay, and I’m hoping this leads to more collaborations with the film company involved. So I think there’s a strong chance in 10 years I’ll be both making movies and writing books.


Q:  What’s next for you?


A:  Right now I’m working on a YA noirish horror novel, titled THE BOY WHO KILLED DEMONS. As the title suggests, it’s about a boy who kills demons, or at least believes he’s killing demons since he’s the only one who can see them as demons. I also need to start the screenplay for my upcoming book, A Killer’s Essence, which is coming out in the fall from Overlook Press.


Q:  Who is your favorite author?


A:  My favorite crime writer is Dashiell Hammett. He in effect invented the hardboiled PI genre, and his Continental Op is just a great character. His five novels are close to perfect, with Red Harvest being my favorite crime novel, and his 24 Continental Op stories are each priceless treasures.


Q:  What are a few of your favorite genres and why?


A:  I love crime noir and the dark journeys they take you. I also love well-written mysteries, with Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books being my favorite. And of course hardboiled crime novels from authors like Hammett, Jonathan Latimer, Ross Macdonald, Mickey Spillane and many others.


Q:  In writing your book/novel if you could do it again what would you do differently?


A:  When I look at the first two books I wrote, Fast Lane and Bad Thoughts, I see some rough writing at times that make me cringe a little, but I don’t think I’d change anything about any of my other books, and a big part of that is I don’t stop working on a book until I’m completely satisfied with it, and the book matches my imagined version of it.


Q:  Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?


A:  Not yet. But I don’t start a book until I’ve written a detailed outline for it, so I know from the start what the book’s going to be, and I’m not about to start something that I’m not passionate about.

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This article was written by Rebecca

Rebecca is a book coach and editor. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Thinking about writing a book? Contact her today to start writing your book.

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