Please join me in welcoming A.G. Hayes to the MONDAYS ARE MURDER author interview series. At age 87, A.G.’s debut novel Who’s Killing All The Lawyers has just been released by Savant Books and Publications. A.G. studied television writing at UCLA, and has written and published short fiction as well as scripts for CBS-TV and other TV production companies. He lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California, and spends his time writing and traveling. His experiences in British Army Intelligence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East serve enrich to the characters in his books and protagonist team.
Laurie: Good morning, A.G. Thank you for joining us. You’ve written short fiction and television scripts. When did you first know you wanted to write a novel?
A.G.: It was during the period when I was writing short fiction and television scripts. I was then 32 years old with a wife and three children. I met some great people in Hollywood who helped me in the field of the written word. Producer Collier Young and his wife Joan Fontain became good friends, and Collier introduced me to other people in the industry. One man in particular, Bob Sweeny, produced and directed many TV show and movies, among them, The Andy Griffith Show, Hawaii Five-0, The Baillies of Balboa, and numerous others. I remember once when Bob had me on the set of Andy Griffith, he sat me in his director’s chair with orders to watch everything he did. I spent the day with the cast and crew doing exactly what he said. Both of these men were perfect gentlemen who knew their profession and, in my case, were willing to help me get started. I had been thinking of writing a book during this time and one evening started typing an idea that I hoped could turn into a series. I think it was around 1966-67
Laurie: You were 87 when your debut novel, Who’s Killing All The Lawyers?. was published. Tell us about the road to finishing a novel and finding a publisher.
A.G.: Yes, I was 87 when the first book of the series was published by Savant Books and Publications, in Hawaii. There were years of rejections by various agents and publishers. I started a second book. Time kept passing. Finally book five was finished. The five books were what I call Koski and Falk books, with Susan Koski and Joseph Falk as the protagonists in each story. They work for an American black ops group and travel the world on assignment. Both Koski and Falk are able to carry out their assignments like the SOE agents I met in Vienna after the war ended and the Cold War began. SOE is Special Operations Executive, a British agency set up during the war to send operators into occupied France to organize and supply French Underground workers against the Nazi invaders. A few of us in my unit were taught various methods of SOE procedures as we were being trained to hunt down Nazis trying to escape by pretending to be civilians in Austria. This included covering the countryside on skis, as well as working in the city of Vienna. Koski and Falk are based on the man and woman who were our instructors.
Laurie: So you spent many years working on your novels, and received a lot of rejections, before you found a publisher. What would you say to someone who thinks they’re too old to start writing? Any advice on how to get started?
A.G.: I would tell anyone who thinks they are too old to write a book, to simply write one page every day. At the end of one year they’d have 365 pages. Now they have written a first draft and can do it again, take out or add as they read it over. One page a day will become a habit and in most cases they will look forward to their characters telling them what THEY want to do. I don’t consider it a ‘too old’ problem. Age is lifetime of experience that can be used to entertain others.
Laurie: In your series, your protagonists are a man and a woman. Usually, this would lead to romance. What is the relationship between Joe Falk and Susan Koski?
A.G.: The relationship between Koski and Falk grows more interesting in each book. These are a thirtyish couple who live and work together twenty-four hours a day. They make love, argue, laugh, and sometimes cry together at the situations they go through. They are young but have matured and grown strong through their various assignments. Each would die for the other, and if they die, they want to go together.
Laurie: Please give us a short rundown of the entire series.
A.G. All five books are completed and await editing. The books run 1 to 5 in this order:
1. Who’s Killing All The Lawyers? gives a glimpse into the political intrigue involving the U.S. Government, Nevada State Officials, Mafia dons, and American Indians seeking the elusive American Dream.
2. The Judas List Between the end of World War II and the winter of 1975, a 700-year-old prayer book, a key, and a faded blueprint came to light in Vienna. Thus begins a 25-year search for Nazi Herman Goering’s treasure. In modern day Vienna, American agents Koski and Falk must go undercover to locate the treasure and the Judas List—a compendium of individuals and organizations who financed WWII and, in its aftermath, intended to manipulate world finances to bring about the Fourth Reich. But the Americans aren’t the only ones looking for the list and the treasure. So are the ex-Nazis, the Bosnians, Russians and, most recently, Muslim militants.
3. The Chemical Factor Upon reading an urgent coded dispatch from the office of American Home security, the British prime minister knew at once that both America and the UK had a crisis. In the late 1960’s, the result of a top-secret British/American military experiment disappeared. The scientist, who fashioned deadly chemicals into this weapon of mass destruction, regretted his creation. He stole it and sailed on the Queen Mary’s final voyage to Long Beach, California, pursued by authorities. He was forced to secrete it on board and jump ship in Panama. For almost 60 years, the device remained undisturbed in its specially designed crucible.
Today, in 2013, a schizophrenic, Hollywood screenwriter, unaware of the secret cargo and obsessed with the Queen Mary’s landlocked, commercialized fate, has planted incendiary bombs onboard to destroy the ship. The situation worsens when the scientist in Panama dies before divulging the compound’s exact location. Special Agents Joseph Falk and Susan Koski secretly get aboard. Aggravating their search are an assassin and a captivating, computer-literate Girl Scout named Wilomena Jean Dill (Willie) who defies evacuation and becomes a pivotal factor in determining the outcome. Koski and Falk race against the clock–an explosion of the chemicals would kill thousands locally. Windborne Fall-out spreading across the western states and beyond would contaminate the gene pool of millions more for generations. The countdown has begun.
4. Imminent Danger Street people in Hollywood become random targets of a serial killer using a biological weapon that leaves no signature. Dr. Jack Wolf, professor of biology and director of the stem cell research at UCLA, is present at an autopsy of one of the victims. Immediately he contacts Tom Stewart, head of Cerberus, a top-secret black-ops agency, of which he too is a member. Stewart assigns agents Joe Falk and Susan Koski to meet with himself and Dr. Wolf.
Dr. Martin Pease, a scientist with Pegmanti Pharmaceuticals in California has designed a means of transmitting biological monoclonal antibodies over a distance of a quarter of a mile. He names his invention a Biologlaserinjector, or simply, BLI. In the wrong hands, a BLI becomes a deadly weapon.
For the first time in the history of the Easter Sunrise service in the Hollywood Bowl, religious leaders worldwide, including high-ranking Muslims, plan to attend. Jamul, an American pop singer of international fame, adored by millions between the age of fifteen and thirty-five, is the mastermind instrumental in bringing the religions of the world together Easter Sunday morning. Jamul, born in Spanish Harlem, is a born again Islamic, a man with the voice of an angel and the soul of a devil.
5. Engines of Fire Waves smashed against the one square mile of jagged black rock that comprised the home of Flangenan Light, a lighthouse clinging tenaciously to the rocky outcroppings three miles west of Tiree Island for over one hundred years, a mere speck in the Atlantic. A place of solitude where even the screech of sea gulls no longer sounded; as if they too had been switched off with the beacons that had once flashed their warning light across the turbulent sea.
However, Flangenan Light is about to be inhabited once again, and this time by those who knew little of life in a bleak cylindrical tower amid a sea of many moods. “We chose it for its neutrality. The Brits opted for its inaccessibility and the Israelis chose it for its impregnability” Agent Joseph Falk’s voice crackled into the earphones of Agent Susan Koski as she swept her binoculars across the vastness of the dark green sea below, then focused on the lighthouse. Once crisp and white, its conical structure embedded into the northernmost tip of the land was weather worn to a splotchy grey. Then she saw a concrete bunker half hidden in the rocks.
Laurie: You’re a fascinating person and it’s been fun getting to know you better. I wish you much success with all five you’re your novels. With international intrigue being the best selling genre today, I’m sure your books will have countless fans. Everyone who has read Who’s Killing All The Lawyers? will be anxiously awaiting the release of the next four books in the series.