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Witness Interview: Kathy Silverman, Victim's Agent

Wednesday, November 8, 2000 - 10:41 a.m.

This witness has been identified as the deceased's literary agent. Det. Ted Armstrong interviewed Ms. Silverman by telephone.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
KS = Kathy Silverman

TA: For the record, please state your name and address.

KS: Kathleen Silverman, 339 E 10th St, New York.

TA: We appreciate your cooperation in this matter, ma'am.

KS: Of course I want to cooperate. This whole thing is just ghastly.

TA: Yes, ma'am. Can you tell me about your relationship with the deceased?

KS: I was her literary agent and her friend too.

TA: When did you meet Ms. Chase?

KS: Well, she was Nancy Neidelmen then. At a party for Norman Mailer. Pretty plucky, she crashed the party just to meet me.

TA: Why was that?

KS: Why was what?

TA: Why did Ms. Chase crash the party just to meet you?

KS: Well, I don't want to blow my own horn, but... well, I have quite a reputation in my field.

TA: What kind of reputation?

KS: I make things happen. I get authors published.

TA: And Ms. Chase wanted you to represent her?

KS: Yes. Well, she didn't really even have a manuscript back then.

TA: Then how did she hope to get you as an agent?

KS: I don't know. I don't think she knew. She was just determined to become a published author. She even asked me what she should write. The dream was more important than the process.

TA: Meaning, she cared more about being a published author than what she wrote in order to get there?

KS: Yes, exactly.

TA: Didn't you think that was kind of odd?

KS: Not really. A lot of writers are like that. It's hard to explain. They are their own breed.

TA: So, she had no manuscript then. When did she have a manuscript?

KS: Early this year. Well, she had sent me some stuff over the years, a few short stories, copies of her column, ideas she had for novels...

TA: But they weren't any good?

KS: I wouldn't say that. I guess I'd say they weren't gold. You know what I mean? The kind of writing you start reading and it just grabs you.

TA: So early this year, she sent you something that was gold?

KS: Yes. Her novel.

TA: What is the title of the work?

KS: Desperate Stranger.

TA: And you knew as soon as you started reading it, that it was a best seller?

KS: You bet your ass, I did.

TA: Okay, when was this?

KS: February or March of this year.

TA: Not so long ago. And you got her a deal right away?

KS: Well, you can do that sometimes just with an outline. Things move fast in this business sometimes. If you get enough of the big boys interested, you can even get a bidding war going just on the outline alone.

TA: Is that what happened? A bidding war?

KS: No. I had a few interested parties, then Random made an offer and Zoe wanted to take it.

TA: You sound disappointed.

KS: I thought we could have done better.

TA: What do you mean?

KS: I thought we could generate more interest and get more houses involved, but Zoe didn't want to. She just said, "Let's take the money and run."

TA: Did that strike you as odd?

KS: Not really. First time authors are often nervous their first time out. Sometimes you can't talk them out of taking the first serious offer.

TA: Why's that?

KS: They get nervous, superstitious. Like if they hesitate, the mysterious forces that made it all happen will take it away.

TA: But these fears are unfounded?

KS: Not always. You really can't say why people do what they do. So I respected her wishes and started the negotiations.

TA: What is the book about?

KS: Well, I can't really say. Right now, the rights to the book haven't been decided, so I'm not to divulge any information until it's decided. I can tell you it's a murder mystery.

TA: Okay. We understand that Ms. Chase was nervous about the final negotiations for the publication of her book. Do you know why?

KS: Like I said, I think it was just first time out jitters.

TA: Didn't Ms. Chase call you the day of her death expressing these jitters?

KS: Yes.

TA: What did she say?

KS: Just wanted to make sure we were really going to sign the deal and that they weren't backing out.

TA: Did the publishing company voice any desire to back out?

KS: No. Not at all. I don't know how to say it any plainer, she was just nervous. It's not unusual. In fact, if she hadn't been nervous that would have been weirder. You know, seeing your dreams come true can be very nerve wracking.

TA: Did you actually speak to Ms. Chase on October 15th?

KS: No. We played phone tag, left messages, but no, I never spoke to her.

TA: Did Ms. Chase ever indicate to you that she was in trouble?

KS: No.

TA: Anyone bothering her that you knew of?

KS: No.

TA: Did she say anything that would make you believe someone was trying to harm her? Was she afraid?

KS: No. Zoe? She wasn't afraid of anything or anyone as far as I knew. Maybe that was the problem.

TA: It seems it was. Thank you for your time. If we have further questions, we'll contact you.

KS: Any time. Goodbye, Detective.

TA: Morning, ma'am.

End interview 10:54 a.m.

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