Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Barry Ozeroff and The Dying of Mortimer Post

About Barry Ozeroff's Book:

The Dying of Mortimer Post
: ISBN 978-1-60318-202-7

In the tradition of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, The Dyting of Mortimer Post is a first-person narrative chronicling the life of a young protagonist through the turbulence of a changing world after he undergoes a life-shattering event.

Mortimer Post is the quintessential product of late-'60's middle America. He is a college-bound physics major from a good family, engaged to his high-school sweetheart, and is at the forefront of his version of the American dream. Then, in twelve short minutes, he faces a loss so devastating it marks the end of his living and the beginning of his dying. But as the opening sentence suggests, some deaths take longer than others. Mortimer's takes a lifetime to complete; a lifetime best described not as a series of unfortunate events, but a series of unbearable tragedies.

Spanning four of America's most significant decades, The Dying of Mortimer Post takes the reader from the protagonist's coming of age in the Pocono Mountains to the massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. After the searing end of his military career, the reader accompanies Mortimer on a nationwide quest for understanding and healing. On this journey of discovery, he finds both happiness and sorrow in the backwoods of rural Mississippi, then a much darker side of himself on the unforgiving streets of south central Los Angeles. Only when he has lost everything and is finally ready for the release of death, does Mortimer discover that he already has the one thing he's spent a lifetime seeking, and with it, the chance to finally live again.

At once exciting, poignant, and disturbing, The Dying of Mortimer Post reveals the innermost of the title character in an almost Gump-like manner as he struggles to make sense of a senseless world. A true epic, it is part love story, part war chronicle, part police saga, and all tragedy, but more than anything, is a tale of redemption in a world where the very concept has ceased to exist.


About Barry Ozeroff:

Marilyn: Tell me a about your background.

Barry: I was born and raised in Warren, Ohio. I graduated in 1977 from Warren G. Harding High in 1977 and went to college for two years at Youngstown State University. I left college to get married in 1979, and began having kids a year later. By 1985, I had three daughters. All I wanted to do was to become a police officer, but I was unable to get a police job in Ohio, and moved to California at the beginning of 1986. At that time I was working as a store security manager for Fedco, a large Southern California membership department store. I immediately began turning in police applications, and nine months later, in November 1986, I was picked up by the La Mesa, CA police department.

Four years later, I found myself loving my job, but disillusioned with Southern California. By then, I had been divorced and re-married, and my new wife and I had a son, my fourth child. It took me two years, but I finally found a lateral police officer job in Gresham, Oregon. Having once moved to a place I had never been before and, having loved the experience, I took the offer and moved my family to the Pacific Northwest.

My fifth child, another boy, and my second divorce followed within three years of moving. I was remarried in 1999, and added a stepson to my list of children, giving me a houseful of 6 kids; 3 boys and 3 girls. By 1994, I had joined the tactical unit of the Gresham Special Emergency Response Team, or SERT. After a year as a SWAT inner perimeter operator, I became the team’s primary sniper, a position I held for the next four years. I left the team in 1999, but didn’t stay away too long. I re-joined SERT as a hostage negotiator in 2001, and quickly moved on to become the team’s primary negotiator, a position I still hold.

At the end of 2004, I joined the Traffic Division as a motorcycle officer, a dream I’d had since becoming a police officer. In 2005, I was the recipient of the Gresham Police Department’s Medal of Honor for disarming and arresting a man who had just murdered a relative with a butcher knife and was in the process of killing himself with the same knife. I was also recognized by the Oregon Peace Officer’s Association with a Lifesaving Award stemming from the same incident. That same year, I became a grandfather for the first time. I now have three grandchildren.

As part of my traffic motor duties, I am part of a crash reconstruction team that investigates all fatal crashes and serious injury crashes that involve a crime, such as drunk driving, hit and run, vehicular assault, etc. We are part of the major crimes team, and are activated for all murder investigations to accurately document the crime scene.

In the past, I have been a School Resource Officer a Field Training Officer, and a Public Information Officer. Of all the assignments the department offers, I like being a motor officer the best, and intend to stay in this position until I retire in 4 years. I also very much enjoy being on the Hostage Negotiations Team, and plan on remaining in that position as well.

As of this writing, my children range from 30 to 16 (I have had a child under the age of 18 under my roof every single day for the past 30 years), and I have 2 granddaughters and one grandson. Somehow, I expect that number will increase.

Marilyn: When did you first know you wanted to write fiction?

Barry: I found that I had a creative mind for fiction while in 9th grade English class, although it never occurred to me to write a book or a story until about 1996.

My first attempt was a science fiction/fantasy about a person who accidentally discovers a way to go back in time, taking with him all the knowledge he has attained up to his 40th year. It was, as is most first efforts, more of a learning experience than a viable novel.

The day before I met my wife, in February 1998, I decided to begin a serious effort at a SWAT thriller I’d been planning, and set my first words on paper. When that book started coming together, I knew I’d eventually be a serious writer. That book, originally entitled Shot of Opportunity, eventually became my first novel, Sniper Shot. There followed about 5 completed book-length works of fiction, some of which may yet get published, one of which is the completed sequel to Sniper Shot, entitled Return Fire.

Return Fire
is under contract with iBooks, Inc (the same publisher as Sniper Shot), but the publisher won’t give me a release date. It will eventually be published.

As for my short stories, the only one I’ve had published to date is "Bum Deal", about a police officer who succumbs to the stress of the job and personal problems and experiences a mental breakdown. It was published in the February 2009 edition of a magazine called The Midnight Diner.

I love writing short stories, but I don’t think I really understand the genre, at least in view of the award-winning short stories I’ve been able to slog my way through. To me, a short story is like a little novel. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with a clear plot, character development, and unexpected plot twists. The ones I’ve read, specifically ones that win awards, I never seem to understand. They seem like some bastardized form of story/poetry that is unclear and to me, meaningless. If I don’t like it, let alone don’t understand it, I can’t write it. I love writing my style of short stories, and folks love reading them. Just not the short-story critic type folks!

Marilyn: What was the inspiration for this book?

Barry: I was at a meeting for my daughter’s high school speech and debate class back in 1999, and a female student seated next to me smiled at me when I sat down. I didn’t know her, but her eyes reminded me of my old girlfriend’s eyes when I was in high school. The similarity was so stark I did a double take.

By this time, I had already written my first book and had the writing bug. I was trying my first attempts at short stories, and this experience made my creative mind think about a person who lost his love as a youth and then gave up on life, only to find her in the end, after he spent years at messing up his life. I wrote a short story about it, which I thought came out very well, but was rejected everywhere I submitted it. Years later, decided it would make a viable book.

I have a love of aviation (specifically helicopters) and included them in a couple of books, so the research would be fun. I set the story in the late 60s and began digging in. The book, as all mine do when I am enthusiastic about the story, pretty much wrote itself. Getting all the little details correct about military life during Vietnam was difficult but very rewarding and enjoyable.

Lots of what I write has a large police component, so that part was pretty easy and enjoyable as well. I wanted to write a departure from my forte, which is straight thriller, so I made this story a fictional biography of a difficult, almost depressing story with all the elements of a thriller. I knew from the beginning it would be a tale of ultimate redemption, but I wanted it to be one that tests the limits of the human spirit to the very limits, and I think I achieved that.

Some of my die-hard thriller fans might not agree, but I think The Dying of Mortimer Post is my best work so far. It is more introspective than Sniper Shot, and is written in a different voice. I really like the way it came out.

Marilyn: How difficult was it for you to find a publisher?

Barry: Being unagented, I anticipated a problem finding a publisher, especially one I could work with. But I don’t think I put out more than four or five queries before I got the attention of L&L Dreamspell, a small publisher out of Houston, Texas. They were quite enthusiastic about the book, and told me they only accept maybe one book a year, if that, which is written in the first person, but they immediately offered me a contract, based on the elimination of a few chapters of some really overly sweet feel-good setup at the beginning.

I instantly agreed with them (mostly because my mother had said the same thing—get rid of the sugary sweet crap and get into the hardcore reality, and well, she’s my mom!). I checked the publisher out and found nothing but good reports about them from current and former authors, so I accepted.

Unlike my former publisher, I have had regular contact with them. I was kind of stunned the first time I sent them an email and got a reply back the same day, but that has been the case throughout our relationship. They’ve been fantastic about everything from editorial process right up through seeing the book into print.

Marilyn: What are your plans for promotion?

Barry: I am a member of the International Thriller Writer’s, and I purchased an ad in the May edition of their monthly magazine The Big Thrill. I am also a member of the Military Writers Society of America.

I have a pretty intensive promotion campaign to the two specific groups in the target audience—Vietnam veterans and police officers. I managed to score a review in the Vietnam Veterans Association newsletter and the Americal Division Veteran’s Association newsletter (that’s the division in which my protagonist served), which together should reach about 8-10,000 Vietnam veterans.

I am embarking on a 31-day, 12-state book tour in May and June with my brother Mark Ozeroff, whose debut novel, Days of Smoke, a WWII aviation thriller, was just released in February. We are doing numerous TV appearances and signings across the country, and of course, I’ll be doing a lot of local signings when I get back as well.

I’ve also got a fairly comprehensive Internet campaign planned through Facebook groups and other such sites. It’s all about getting the word out there, and I’m doing everything I can think of. Of course, I’m always open to suggestions, too.

Marilyn: Anything else you'd like my readers to know?

Barry: Nothing specific, but glad to answer any questions.


What other authors are saying about The Dying of Mortimer Post


"Barry Ozeroff has written a moving novel about a man's struggle to conquer the horrors of war. The opening chapter is gripping and Ozeroff's portrait of war and police work is fascinating, but the compassion at the heart of the novel is what makes it work."
--Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestelling author of Supreme Justice

“Barry W. Ozeroff’s The Dying of Mortimer Post combines the life-changing introspection of Mitch Albom’s The Five People you Meet in Heaven with the thrill ride of an Indiana Jones saga. A heart-opener and a page-turner and all in one!”
--W. Craig Reed, bestselling author of Red November, Inside the Secret U.S. – Soviet Submarine War

“Forget James Patterson, Lee Child, or Jeffery Deaver. Ozeroff is THE fresh
new voice. The Dying of Mortimer Post is a must read. “
--Thomas Fitzsimmons, Vietnam-era veteran, NYPD officer, and author of City of Fire

In The Dying of Mortimer Post, author Barry Ozeroff has written an emotionally-wrenching page-turner that scores top marks for its ability to sustain a high level of drama from start to finish. The Vietnam War sequences alone are the equal of anything written by W.E.B. Griffen. “
--Dwight Jon Zimmerman, author of The Vietnam War: A Graphic History

“Novelist Barry Ozeroff is truly brilliant in his tale of great loss and even greater love. The Dying of Mortimer Post is both a spiritual and emotional journey for the reader. It is totally original—there are not very many other novels written in the last 5 years that could keep pace with his. I fully recommend this book.”
--W. H. McDonald Jr., founder of The Military Writer’s Society of America, author, award-winning poet, documentary film maker, and Vietnam veteran

"This book is an emotional roller coaster that bares the feelings many veterans carried every day. It is exciting and drama-filled, holding the reader's attention."
--Samuel Beamon, Author of Flying Death: The Vietnam Experience

“This book has the feel of an epic.”
--Chuck Hustmyre, retired ATF agent and author of Killer with a Badge, An Act of Kindness (true crime), and crime novel A Killer Like Me

“This book captures the angst of a generation.”
--Michael A. Black--- Author of Hostile Takeovers and Random Victim.

The Dying of Mortimer Post is mesmerizing. The compelling story grabs the reader on the first page and doesn't let go until the last, and reaches into the self-reflecting core of one's soul. Barry W. Ozeroff knows how to get a reader's attention--and keep it.”
--Gary C. King, author of The Murder of Meredith Kercher and Rage

“Ozeroff has that indefinable storyteller’s knack of keeping the reader flipping the pages. I’ll be on the lookout for anything he writes in the future.”
--James Reasoner, author of over 200 novels

"Barry Ozeroff's The Dying of Mortimer Post is a compelling saga spanning four turbulent decades that is sure to win the author new fans while satisfying current ones."
-- R. Barri Flowers, Author of State’s Evidence and The Sex Slave Murders

“This fast paced and well-written book reminds the reader that sometimes our worst enemy is only a reflection away.”
--Tony Lazzarini, past president of the Military Writer's Society of America, and author of Highest Traditions: Memories of War

Definitely sounds like a book worth looking into, doesn't it?

Thanks for stopping by, Barry, and telling us about your book and yourself.

The Dying of Mortimer Post and Sniper Shot are both available now on Amazon.com and other major booksellers. Barry always appreciates reader feedback and tries to answer reader email as soon as he can. Go to www.barryozeroff.com for details."


Marilyn

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