Ed here: I'm a big fan, along with many other people, of Dave Zeltserman's character Julius Katz. Here Dave's discusses Julius and how he plans to integrate him into his blog.
Tell us about Julius Katz the character.
I originally wrote 'Julius Katz' as a novella for the Black Orchid contest that's run jointly between The Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. As such 'Julius Katz' was meant as pastiche on one of my favorite series in the mystery genre, Nero Wolfe. Julius is a brilliant, eccentric Boston-based detective, living in a townhouse on Beacon Hill. His drink of choice is wine, which he collects. He's every bit as lazy as Wolfe, and also like Wolfe, he's a gourmet, but unlike Wolfe, he's handsome, physically fit and a martial arts expert, as well as a ladies' man. He's also a gambler--especially poker. There's a bit of a con man in him--he's more larcenous than Wolfe ever was. Like Wolfe, Julius has a sidekick named Archie—although in this case Archie isn’t flesh and blood but a two-inch rectangular piece of advanced technology complete with a self-learning neuron network. With his experience and personality programmed using all of the important private eye novels of the 20th century, Archie has the heart and soul of a hardboiled PI. There's also an innocence to Archie, and as with the Nero Wolfe books, what drives this novella is the humor and relationship between Julius and Archie.
Where can we find Julius Katz.
'Julius Katz' was originally published in the Oct. 2009 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. More Julius Katz stories will be also be appearing in Ellery Queen, with 'Archie's Been Framed!' scheduled for later this year, and I'm also working on the first Julius Katz novel, which is just about done. I've made 'Julius Katz' available as a Kindle Download for $0.99, and it will also be sold by Ether Books for the iPhone and iPad, and will also later this year be in a best mystery stories anthology edited by the ever discriminating Ed Gorman and Martin Greenberg. And anyone who wants a free PDF for it, just email me.
Isn't Julius Katz unlike most the characters in your other books.
The editor of Ellery Queen, Janet Hutchings, told me she found 'Julius Katz' charming, and that's the feedback I've been getting from just about everyone who's read it and emailed me back, which is probably why the novella won an Ellery Queen Reader's Choice award and the 2010 Derringer for best novelette. I think it would be hard for any reader to not find Julius, and especially Archie, charming and fun. I don't think there's a reader anywhere who could find my hero of Pariah, Kyle Nevin, charming. While 'Julius Katz' is lighthearted, most of my published crime novels tend to be on the darker side of noir. Not all, though. Bad Karma is more of a new age hardboiled PI and The Caretaker of Lorne Field is something completely different that so far seems to be appealing to all readers, and Killer is also a much quieter crime novel from me than say Pariah or Small Crimes. I really should've used a pseudonym for Caretaker and Julius, because those two are going to surprise any readers familiar with my darker crime fiction.
What inspired you to have Julius take over your website and do the talking for you?
I have more Julius Katz stories coming, with the hope also of publishing a series of novels with these characters, so I thought I'd put together a fun website where Archie and Julius are real and I'm simply chronicling their cases. In other words, just doing what I can to help more people discover these characters and give the novella a try. It's simple, people who try the novella tend to become fans of it, so hopefully this will be a fun way to spread the word.