Book Talk: Alex Kava uses own hurricane experience in new novel

Wed Aug 4, 2010 6:19am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Being hit by two hurricanes within the space of nine months had such a profound affect on American author Alex Kava that she used the experience as the basis for her latest novel.

"Damaged," Kava's eighth psychological suspense novel featuring FBI agent Maggie O'Dell, is based on the Florida coast and a case involving missing body parts and a mysterious infection which is complicated by a hurricane.

Kava, a New York Times bestselling author, grew up in rural Nebraska but bought a writer's retreat on Blackwater Bay, Florida, where she experienced both hurricanes Ivan and Dennis in 2004 and 2005 and found out how such events impact a community.

The writer, who started out her career in marketing and design before burning out and trying writing, spoke to Reuters:

Q: Did you set out to make Maggie O'Dell your main character?

A: "Maggie took me a while to discover. I never intended the first book to be a series but I really like her now and have been surprised by how readers enjoy her and have become attached to her. I'm always interested to see what will happen to her next."

Q: Does she reflect you in any way?

A: "She has a few of my characteristics. She is as stubborn as I am and also slow to trust people like I am. Her fear of flying also comes from my fear too but otherwise we are very different. I don't have a background in law enforcement and forensics so a lot of that comes from research and people I know in that field."   Continued...