29 May, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Kurt Kamm, #Author of Code Blood

*** Special Feature - May 2017 ***

Quick Recap

About the Author:
Kurt KammMalibu, California resident Kurt Kamm has written a series of firefighter mystery novels which have won several literary awards. He is also the author of The Lizard’s Tale, which provides a unique look inside the activities of the Mexican drug cartels and the men dedicated to stopping them. Kurt has used his contacts with several California fire departments, as well as with the ATF and DEA to write fact-based (“faction”) novels. In his chilling and suspenseful multi-award winning novel, Code Blood, Kurt takes the reader into the connected lives of a fire paramedic, a Chinese research student with the rarest blood type in the world, and the blood-obsessed killer who stalks her. Colt Lewis, a young Los Angeles County fire paramedic responds to a fatal accident. The victim dies in his arms. Her foot has been severed but is nowhere to be found. Who is the woman, and what happened to her foot? During a weeklong search, Colt risks his career to find the victim’s identity and her missing foot. His search leads him to a dark and disturbing side of Los Angeles…an underworld of body part dealers and underground Goth clubs. He uncovers a tangled maze of drugs, needles, and rituals. Emergency medicine, high-tech medical research, and the unsettling world of blood fetishism and body parts make for an edgy L.A. Noir thriller. Kurt has built an avid fan base among first responders and other readers. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt was previously a financial executive and semi-professional bicycle racer. He was also Chairman of the UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation for several years.

Visit his author Website & on Facebook!

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I was a voracious reader as a child, and always had a vivid imagination. After my junior year at college, I went to a career counselor who gave me an aptitude test. He told me I should be an author. I thought about that, and realized I would never make any money. I went to law school and then worked on Wall Street. After I retired, I decided to start writing, and it has been very, very fulfilling.

After a wildfire almost destroyed my home in Malibu, I decided my first novel would be about firefighters. That morphed into an eight year effort which produced five mystery novels, each dealing with a specific firefighting skill: wildland; arson investigation, hazardous material response, search and rescue, and paramedics.

What kind of research goes into your book?
I like to see things.  When I began work on Code Blood, I rode with the Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics for several months, saw some horrific traffic accidents, and spent a lot of time at hospital ER’s. I also attended some classes at the UCLA’s paramedic school, which included a 3 hour dissection of a real corpse. All of my fire novel narrative is a result of actual experience with firefighters. I’m not sure one could get a sense of the urgency, danger, and camaraderie of these events by simply reading about them.

I do want to add some other research comments relating specifically to Code Blood. Because I was the Chairman of the UCLA Cancer Center Foundation for many years, I had an inside view of high-tech medical research. The scenes in Code Blood involving the medical research laboratories, the state of the art NanoScience Center, and the interactions in the classrooms are all real. The underground scenes in the blinding-white tile vivarium, where thousands of genetically modified rats are bred for medical research, are also real.

The details of the Los Angeles County morgue are the result of an actual visit. I called one day to ask if I could have a look, and incredibly, the Coroner himself answered the phone and invited me for a tour. I spent the morning there, and saw some things I could not have imagined. When we went to the basement where they do the dissections, I saw several naked corpses in the hallway on gurneys. There is a line in Code Blood where the Coroner says, “There’s no modesty here, these bodies are about to be cut up.” That’s an actual quote.

Finally, the scene in the S&M sex club in Los Angeles is genuine. I managed to get an introduction to an “underground” club in Hollywood. Of all the places I have been to do research, that was the spot where I felt most out of place!

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
When I first spoke to some paramedics, one of them told me the story of his first day on active duty. He responded to an accident at which a pedestrian’s foot had been severed. It took several minutes to find it, because it was lodged under a pickup which had been involved in the accident. I knew I had a story, and immediately wondered what would have happened if the foot had disappeared!

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
-> Audra’s father “touched” her body when she was a young girl. She spent $20,000 and three years to get a full body tattoo because she thought it would covers her skin where he put his hands on her.
-> Markus’ fascination with blood comes from his childhood. As an albino, he suffered through numerous blood draws by his doctors.
-> Colt, the paramedic, never understood why his mother deserted him when he was a child. This drives all of his actions in Code Blood.

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
-> Know the character’s childhood.  A person’s motivations and personalities are formed at a young age, and the author must think through what has happened to a character even before the story begins.
-> Know the character’s physical traits. Physical characteristics play an important role in what a person does and how he/she acts.
-> Know the character’s thought process. To make a character’s actions and conversations realistic, you must know how that person thinks.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to get over it?
Since I do not outline my novels in great detail, I often get into plot problems. Sometimes I am stuck for several days. I was a competitive bicycle racer and still ride 2-3 hours every day. On my rides, I find that my mind can divorce itself from daily details and “float.” I can usually come back from a strenuous ride with some new ideas and insights into my stories. Eventually I reach a breakthrough. 

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy imagining stories and creating unusual characters. Once I start to develop my characters, they write their own story and I am just the scribe. The problem is that they often get themselves into trouble, and then I have to rescue them.

Eventually, I get to know my characters so well that I can have short conversations with them during the day. When I finished Code Blood, I couldn’t believe some of the people who inhabit the story. 

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
No, I don’t know my ending until about halfway through the novel. Some writers outline their entire story in advance, with detailed notes about every chapter. I have written six books and have never been able to do that. I just go where the story takes me. Eventually, the ending becomes clear.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer?
Have a regular schedule and stick to it. Have a specific place to work, allocate a set amount of time, and do it every day. Some days you may write only a paragraph, some days you will produce several pages, but don’t give up. A regular writing schedule develops good and productive habits. Avoid interruptions and distractions while you are working.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
You had better enjoy the process of writing, because that may be your biggest reward. You may never be famous, have a multitude of fans, or make a lot of money, but if you enjoy the creative process and are proud of what you have accomplished, that in itself is a success.

Anything else that you would like to share with your readers?
Edit, reread, rewrite, edit, edit, edit. Then spend the money (it’s not expensive) to have a professional proofreader look over your manuscript.  You can’t find all the typos, etc., and your best friend Sally or your cousin Tom can’t do it either. No one will take you seriously if you have misspellings and punctuation errors in your text.

Then, consider a professional editor. A skilled editor with a detached point of view will point out things you never knew or thought of. It will improve your work enormously. An editor is not a proofreader.

About the Book:
Colt Lewis, a rookie fire paramedic, is obsessed with finding the severed foot of his first victim after she dies in his arms. His search takes him into the connected lives of a graduate research student, with the rarest blood in the world and the vampire fetishist who is stalking her. Within the corridors of high-stakes medical research laboratories, the shadow world of body parts dealers, and the underground Goth clubs of Los Angeles, Lewis uncovers a tangled maze of needles, drugs and maniacal ritual, all of which lead to death. But whose death? An unusual and fast-paced LA Noir thriller.

Book Details:
Genre: Suspense, Vampire
Published by: MCM Publishing
Publication Date: October 2012
Number of Pages: 233
ISBN: 0979855136 (ISBN13: 9780979855139)
Series: Code Blood is a Stand Alone Novel

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Code Blood Literary Awards:
* Writer’s Type - First Chapter Competition. January 2011- First Place
* 2012 International Book Awards - Fiction: Cross Genre Category – First Place
* National Indie Excellence Book Awards – Faction (fiction based on fact) - Winner of the 2012 Award
* The 2012 USA Best Book Awards - Fiction: Horror - Winner
* LuckyCinda Publishing Contest 2013 First Place – Thriller
* Reader's Favorite 2013– Finalist – Horror Fiction
* Knoxville Writer’s Guild - 2011 Novella or Novel Excerpt – 2nd Place

6 Winners can get their choice of Kurt Kamm's books in Digital format.

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1 comment:

  1. Since I read this book I found this interview quite interesting especially the 3 facts of the characters. Thank you for sharing.