Fatal Reunion: Interview with Legal Thriller Author Ken Malovos

Ken Malovos has been practicing law in Sacramento for more than forty years. He spent twelve years with the Public Defender’s Office and twenty-five years as a business litigator. He now serves full-time as a mediator and arbitrator. Fatal Reunion is his second novel. His first novel, Contempt of Court, won first prize in the legal genre of the Mystery & Mayhem Book Writing Competition sponsored by Chanticleer Book Reviews. He and his wife, Michele, live in Sacramento. 

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About the Book:

Jason Robinson attends his 20th high school reunion where he connects with his old girlfriend. The next day she is dead and he is charged with her murder. He asks attorney Mike Zorich to represent him. Mike feels that the case against Jason is weak, even though Jason has given inconsistent statements and some emails emerge that give him a motive to commit murder.

Meanwhile, Mike is trying to cope with his own problem with alcohol. After his friends confront him, he enters rehabilitation and then begins his own investigation into what really happened at the reunion, exposing dirty secrets that leave families and lives ruined with their disclosure.

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  • Fatal Reunion is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Fatal Reunion is my second book. The inspiration for this book was a news story I read about a woman who was killed and, naturally, the police suspected her husband. But he had an airtight alibi. The case went cold but then the facts were uncovered showing that that someone else was responsible, someone that you would not normally even consider. I thought it was so unusual and I wanted to explore what went through this person’s head to make the decision to kill someone. 

Another inspiration for the story was a friend I knew who attended a reunion and found out that old lovers had met again and took up where they left off in high school. I know that people dream about this but I had not heard about it actually happening. So, I combined the two stories. In the process, I got to explore the character of the protagonist, Michael Zorich, who is facing is own demons. I think it comes together alright, but I will leave that to the reader.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The short answer is that it was very hard. At the same time it was fun. Try that on for a contradiction. There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment when I sit down at ten in the morning and, all of sudden, it’s four. I look at the pages I have written with a lot of pride. But that doesn’t happen too often. Usually, I am struggling to figure out where I am going. I do not outline. I have to begin writing with a kernel of an idea and then let it happen. Maybe I should try to outline more, but I have found that my characters take me to places that I had not previously considered.

My main tip for other writers is to never give up. If you like to write, then write. Start with an idea and let it happen by itself. Don’t judge it. Just see where your imagination takes you. Ask yourself what you would do. In effect, you become a part of every character, whether male or female, young or old, criminal or saint. Really, we are all more alike than we are different. Read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. It is the best book out there for good advice on how to write, in my opinion.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published through CreateSpace and found the experience satisfying and relatively easy to follow. I knew that I wanted to be found on Amazon.com, so I simply used their publisher. Also, the idea of printing on demand was very attractive. The transition to Kindle.com was easy. However, I know there are quite a few fine publishing houses for the self-publisher. So, this is just one option.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

My first book was Contempt of Court. I learned that the process is not all that mystifying. Using CreateSpace, I followed the instructions and asked for help whenever I needed it. Most everything is done online and I received very quick responses. Before I started, I was definitely intimidated, but once I got into it and understood the various options and decisions that needed to be made, I saw that the process was happening very smoothly. It’s a little like giving birth, figuratively speaking. That’s my book. I have to say that I was overjoyed with the final product. 

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am working on a book about a man with a secret from his college days when he was a student abroad. How does he deal with it, as he traverses along life, first as an attorney, then as a prosecutor and a judge? Will it come back to haunt him? Of course it does, otherwise there is no story.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Huffington Post, by far. I love all of the articles and authors that Arianna Huffington attracts to her site. You can learn so much by just reading most of what she posts. I am a political and a news junkie, so I follow a lot of those kinds of sites. And I am a sports fan of the first order, so Sports Illustrated and the sites for my favorite teams are my frequent landing spots.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

Nobody has ever asked me that question before. Sometimes, I will have a glass of milk. I got to bed when I am tired. It doesn’t work for me to go to sleep at a specific time. I need to be in the mood.  I learned in college from a roommate that the best way to go to sleep is to think back on the day and to plan ahead for the next day. I do this religiously and have found that it usually works to help me to get to sleep.             

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Not sure I have a message. I am trying to explore the motivations of people who do horrible things, completely out of character. We don’t think of women as killers or even as criminals. So, the question becomes why would a woman in an established place in society do something horrible? What could possibly motivate her? Also, we don’t often think that people who have a lot to lose will do something stupid, but they do. It happens a whole lot more that we think and writing about these kinds of stories is most interesting to me.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank for the opportunity to share my story. I would just say to anyone who likes to write, to keep it up. Don’t be discouraged. Write a little. Think a lot. Then write some more. It doesn’t matter if the first draft isn’t all that great. There is always editing. And editing never seems to end. 

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