About Dave Zeltserman
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.
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
Julius Katz and Archie is the first full-length mystery novel based on the characters from my award-winning short stories, which have so far garnered Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice awards.
This is a charming and fun mystery appropriate for any mystery reader. When a famous mystery writer hires Julius to find out who is planning to kill him, it soon plunges Julius and his sidekick, Archie, into the world of murder and book publishing.
Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?
The reaction to my Julius Katz mystery stories that Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine has been publishing has been so strong that it seemed like a natural to write a full-length Julius Katz novel. Plus the characters are so much fun to write, especially Archie.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
I wrote the first Julius Katz mystery story for the Black Orchid contest sponsored by The Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. This is a contest looking for novellas that exemplify the spirit of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books, and I’m a huge of these books having read them all several times. What I wanted to do was capture the same fun and humor of those books as well as the same feeling of wanting to spend time with the characters that I always had when reading Nero Wolfe.
Julius clearly has similarities to Nero. They’re both brilliant and eccentric detectives. They’re both gourmets and rather lazy, preferring their own pursuits over working, and will only take a case when their dwindling bank funds require it. But there the similarities end. Julius is handsome, fit, a 5th degree black belt, prefers wine to beer, is a notorious womanizer (or at least was before he met Lily Rosten), and prefers gambling over any other activity. While there’s some Nero in his DNA, there’s a lot more of Pete Mitchel con man in him.
My Archie is also similar to Nero’s Archie. Like Archie Goodwin, my Archie has the heart and soul of a hardboiled PI. And he’s fiercely loyal to his boss, and will pester him endlessly when he has to. But there’s one major difference. My Archie isn’t human. He’s an advanced piece of technology that Julius wears as a tie clip.
So while I wrote the first story, ‘Julius Katz’ for the Black Orchid contest, it didn’t win. However, it was picked up by Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and ended up winning the Shamus Award for best PI story. And the Wolfe Pack (the sponsers of the Black Orchid) are now endorsing Julius, saying:
This intriguing mystery series evidences some similarities to Rex Stout’s detective pair, Nero & Archie, but only some. This modern-day duo from Boston’s Beacon Hill, are well worth a try. One of the more striking similarities is the humor evoked by first person narrator, Archie Smith.
Who is your biggest supporter?
Well my wife. She’s been behind me from the start, but these days I have a lot of supporters, including my publishers, bookstores, reviewers, film producers I’m working with, and many generous readers who let me know how much they enjoy my books.
Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?
The biggest influence influence to my writing was when I discovered Jim Thompson. It was almost like a religious experience. Before then I was mostly trying to ape Ross Macdonald with my writing, and mostly doing a bad job at it. But when I first read Hell of a Woman by Thompson, and saw all the chances he took with that book and how he broke every rule he wanted to but made it work, it opened everything up for me and allowed me to discovered my own voice.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a YA noirish horror novel titled, The Boy Who Killed Demons. I’ve also just worked out a deal with a film company for my upcoming A Killer’s Essence (Fall 2011, Overlook Press) where I’ll also be writing the screenplay, so I need to start that soon.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
I’ve accomplished a lot more than I ever thought I would when I started writing. I’ve sold 11 books, have been reviewed by major newspapers all over the world, am now being published in 14 countries, have 2 film deals, have had my books make best of the year lists from organizations including NPR and The Washington Post, and have won major awards—none of which I thought would be possible when I started. But given all that, I’d say my greatest achievement has been developing diehard fans who really love my books and short stories.
What do you feel is your biggest strength?
Plotting, characters, coming up with fast and twisty stories that are very entertaining, and most of all, being able to look at my writing honestly and know when it works and when it doesn’t.
What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
Readers feel this is very inventive, especially my Archie character. But I think the humor also.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
You’ve got to enjoy the journey, be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and not worry about the things that you haven’t.
What is your favorite past-time?
Martial arts training. I started studying Kung Fu about 10 years ago, have my black belt, and should test soon for my second degree.
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.