After reading an review Kurt Kamm's latest thriller, Tunnel Vision, which is available from Amazon today, I decided to find out more about him. He kindly answered the following questions:
When did you first realize you were a writer?
When I was at Brown, I took a career aptitude test and the first recommendation was that I become a novelist. I decided I would rather earn a living and went to work on Wall Street. Now that I am retired, I’ve had the opportunity to write, and I really enjoy it. Me? A writer? I’m still trying to find out.
Since you are such an expert about fires, firefighting and emergency services, tell us something about how all that came about?
I moved from Los Angeles to Malibu several years ago. Soon after I moved in, the Sheriff’s Department came at 4:00 A.M. and told us we had 15 minutes to evacuate. On the way out, I watched my neighbor’s house burn to the ground, along with a church and several other homes. The fire department was literally at my gate when I left, and they stopped to fire at my front door. During this episode, I got a firsthand look at wildland firefighting and thought it was something I had to learn about. Over the years, the LACoFD has allowed me to ride with their crews, attend their training camps, and simply spend time in the stations. It ain’t Wall Street.
How did you first get published?
I submitted my second novel, Red Flag Warning, to several small presses and the first to respond was Aberdeen Bay. At the time, it was relatively new, and I was impressed with the owner. Later I learned that the editor had only read the first two chapters, but I was on my way.
What has surprised you most about being a published author?
The number of people to whom I have sent a complimentary book—usually folks who helped me in my research—who have never even had the courtesy of even acknowledging that they received it (let alone actually open it).
What do you wish you had known when you first began writing?
That POV is a living breathing thing, and you can mess with it and do a lot of imaginative things. It scared the heck out of me in the beginning
What kind of promotion works best for you?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I have a few thousand Facebook friends (mostly first responders) and have built up a small but loyal following. E-mail and Facebook announcements seem to work better than any number of advertisements and literary website efforts. I’ve done some paid ads in magazines and have had countless radio interviews, none of which have made any difference. Winning contests is nice for the resume, and gives credibility, but doesn’t seem to have any effect on sales either.
And what are you working on now?
Tunnel Visions is my 5th and last firefighter mystery. I’m about 1/3 of the way into a narco – novel, which begins in Guatemala, moves to Mexico, stops on Catalina Island (and yes, there is a hellacious fire), and finally returns to Guatemala.
Kurt kindly provided these pictures: