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My fiction-writing career owes it start to the bad navigation of an 18th century pirate. For it was in 1717 that a ship, the Whydah went aground, reportedly carrying a treasure. In the 1980s, three salvage groups went head-to-head, competing to find the wreck. The controversy over the salvage got hot at times and I thought there might be a book in their story.
I developed my own detective, an ex-cop, diver, fisherman, and PI named Aristotle “Soc” Socarides. He was more philosophical than hard-boiled. Making his first appearance in “Cool Blue Tomb,” the book won the Shamus award for Best Paperback novel. After many years in the newspaper business, I turned to writing fiction and churned out five more books in the series.
Clive Cussler blurbed: “There can be no better mystery writer in America than Paul Kemprecos.”
Despite the accolades, the Soc series lingered in mid-list hell. By the time I finished my last book, I was thinking about another career that might make me more money, like working in a 7-11.
Several months after the release of “Bluefin Blues,” Clive called and said a spin-off from the Dirk Pitt series was in the works. It would be called the NUMA Files and he wondered if I would be interested in tackling the job.
My wife closed the deal when she said: “What else have you got to do?”
The answer was “nothing,” and I took on the writing of “Serpent” which brought into being Kurt Austin and the NUMA Special Assignments Team. Austin had some carry-over from Soc, and another team member, Paul Trout, had been born on Cape Cod. The book made The New York Times bestseller list, as did every one of seven NUMA Files that followed, including “Polar Shift,” which bumped “The DaVinci Code” for first place.
I continue to write and am working on the e-book release of my Soc series. Christi and I live on Cape Cod in a circa 1865 farmhouse with two cats and have three children.