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By Ann Komis email TwitterBefore Jay Zimmer became a radio news reporter, he worked in the 14 Newsroom. Jay covered sensational murder trials, like the Warrick County trial of John Stephenson.That was the longest running criminal trial in Indiana history.Jay was also the first reporter on the scene of the C 130 crash in 1991.Jay stayed on the air with David and me throughout the day and night. He never took a break in our non stop coverage. So, Jay has had a birds eye view of the Tri State since he came to 14 from Lake Charles, Louisiana.Now, Jay written his second novel. And it good.Anyone who has watched or listened to Jay report knows he has a way with words. Now, we discover, he can invent creative and entertaining stories as well. Read on to learn about Jay Zimmer and “Code of Theophilus”.Ann Komis: “I love it! Great job. I not finished yet, but, I do think you have found your true calling! Where did the idea of this storm come from?”Jay Zimmer: “This book is Part 2 of the Peter McDermott adventure series, projected to be eight books (at least) in length. I wanted to do something to capitalize on the pirate fad that seems to be hanging on since the Johnny Depp movies and I knew the Chesapeake Bay has a rich pirate heritage, so I began researching the Bay Area, where Peter McDermott works, for a pirate to hang a tale on. I found a fleeting mention of one Theophilus Turner,
who sailed with Captain Kidd. Not much is known about him. I researched him for about a year. Some of what in the book is true, but most of it, including his burying the treasure and the clues, is fiction.”Ann Komis: “Is there a little pirate in you Jay?”Jay Zimmer: “I am an avid boater. I own a 32 foot Marinette on the Ohio River, and I am proudly serving as Commodore of Inland Yacht Club. So yes, there is probably a little bit of the swashbuckler in me, that came out vicariously in the pages of that book. And I do say “Ahrrrr” a lot!”Ann Komis: “In this novel, you use a lot of language that very specific to the time of pirates, like bumboo, where did you learn that?”Jay Zimmer: “A lot of the “pirate” language is simply seafaring lingo. Many of those words and phrases are still in use on Navy ships today, and I am a Navy veteran, to say nothing of having grown up on Chesapeake Bay where most of my friends were watermen who used such language as everyday patois.For those that aren well, as you know, words have always fascinated me, and I did a lot of research on pirate tactics and the seafaring of the times. Bumboo is a dilution of rum,
a form of grog, that was served to the crews and I found references to that on my internet research. The internet has made researching books like Code of Theophilus absurdly simple.”Ann Komis: “It obvious you did a lot of research. I really like the Kill Devil Hills reference. But, how did you map all this out?”Jay Zimmer: “Theophilus Turner really did sail with Captain Kidd and they did make port at Kill Devil Hills. My wife had been there before and she convinced me that I should feature it in the book, so we took two trips one just she and I and one with the kids for book research.So the places I mention are quite real, as are most of the people I talk about, and I did it with their permission, I might add. And I was back there over New Years and they were thrilled that their town, and their businesses, are mentioned in a major novel. I was thrilled to do it it lent a degree opf realism to the story that simply making it up could not have accomplished.”Ann Komis: “You describe Kidd trial in Part 1, Chapter 4. Is there a written record of that testimony?”Jay Zimmer: “I know of no written record of the trial of Captain Kidd, so I made all that up. But the penalty, being hanged in chains and his body left there until it rotted, that true.”Ann Komis: “How long did it take to write this novel?”Jay Zimmer: ” I got the idea in mid 2006, just as principal writing for “Dry Terror” was winding down. COT actually came out the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. So right at a year and a half from conception to “birth.” Quite a gestation period, huh?”Ann Komis: “You have always had a way with words, do you think being an novelist is your true calling?”Jay Zimmer: “Is being a novelist my true calling? I beginning to think so. Words have always fascinated me how we shove them together to form this thing we call Language,
this phenomenon that brings about mutual understanding or at times, mutual MISunderstanding. I tried a lot of other things.I was a musician early in life and thought I wanted to be a studio player or a rock star. I was in broadcast and print journalism for 40 years. And I written things since my teens, short stories, short novelettes, and so on, and I proud to say I finished everything I ever tried to write.In the 1980s I wrote three novels that are close to the McDermott series and tried to get them published. All I got was a file folder of rejection slips, and one personally written one from an editor who said he didn feel a journalist was a viable hero.I still think he wrong, and Peter McDermott seems to prove that. Sadly, those earlier novels were lost in one of my many moves. Perhaps I will bring them into modern times and rewrite them as a second wave of the McDermott series, or maybe even a stand alone novel, who knows. We see. But to answer your question, yes, I think this may be my true calling. Time and sales will tell.”Ann Komis: “Is Strategic Book Publishing a self publisher? I read in a recent Time magazine article that self publishing is the way to go. You now have two books on the market, and a third on the way. What do you think about self publishing?”Jay Zimmer: “Strategic Book Publishers is a traditional publisher that takes on the entire expense of book production. My first novel, “Dry Terror,” was self published by the same company that did Mike Whicker “Invitation To Valhalla,
” which, by the way, is a wonderful read that I recommend to anyone. I read it twice.