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About the Book
Lights Out Summer (Camel Press; October 1, 2017)
In March 1977, ballistics link murders going back six months to the same Charter Arms Bulldog .44. A serial killer, Son of Sam, is on the loose. But Coleridge Taylor can’t compete with the armies of reporters fighting New York’s tabloid war–only rewrite what they get.
Interview With the Author
Constantly on the lookout for victims who need their stories told, he uncovers other killings being ignored because of the media circus. He goes after one, the story of a young black woman gunned down in her apartment building the same night Son of Sam struck elsewhere in Queens.
The story entangles Taylor with a wealthy Park Avenue family at war with itself. Just as he’s closing in on the killer and his scoop, the July 13-14 blackout sends New York into a 24-hour orgy of looting and destruction. Taylor and his PI girlfriend Samantha Callahan head out into the darkness, where a steamy night of mob violence awaits them.
In the midst of the chaos, a suspect in Taylor’s story goes missing. Desperate, he races to a confrontation that will either break the story–or Taylor.
What initially got you interested in writing?
Reading in elementary school. I became fascinated with the power of books “to put movies in my head” (my words at the time).
What genres do you write in?
Mystery, thriller, middle grade science fiction.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
Those are the stories that come into my head, probably because those are the kinds of stories I read.
How did you break into the field?
I wrote a murder mystery featuring a reporter working in NYC in 1975. The manuscript, after much revision, workshopping and the help of an editor, secured me an agent and she sold it to my publisher. This month, book four in the series was published.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want them to get lost in the fictive dream–to not look up–to keep turning pages. I want them to feel what the characters are feeling. I want them to experience a time and place they haven’t visited or may have forgotten.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
When a character does something I don’t expect. When the story takes a turn I could never have anticipated.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Getting going every day. Once I’m halfway across the first page, I’m pretty set.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Don’t give up. I’m here now a “published author” because of all the people who gave up along the way, who sent out a first draft to agents and got rejected, who walked away because they didn’t like a workshop critique, who wanted to be a writer without writing.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, young adult, certain non-fiction (though the balance is heavily in favor of fiction), historical fiction, certain classics (always Dickens and I’m going through James Fenimore Cooper now).
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find
interesting about you?
I left journalism seven years ago, but keep my hand in by volunteering in schools and at a local paper teaching kids how to write news stories and publish newspapers.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
About the Author
Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (Last Words, Drop Dead Punk, A Black Sail, Lights Out Summer).
The first two books in the series were shortlisted or won awards in the three major competitions for books from independent publishers. Drop Dead Punk won the gold medal for mystery eBook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller eBook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.
Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.
Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches kids around the New York area how to write news stories and publish newspapers.
For more information, go to richzahradnik.com.