Kathy Silverman interview
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 – 10:41 a.m.
Kathy Silverman was Zoe Chase's literary agent.
Detective Armstrong interviewed Ms. Silverman by telephone from her office in New York City.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Kathy Silverman
Detective Armstrong: For the record, please state your name and address.
Kathy Silverman: Kathleen Silverman, 339 E 10th St, New York.
Detective Armstrong: We appreciate your cooperation in this matter, ma'am.
Kathy Silverman: Of course, I want to cooperate. This whole thing is just ghastly.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. Can you tell me about your relationship with Zoe Chase?
Kathy Silverman: I was her literary agent and her friend too.
Detective Armstrong: When did you meet Zoe?
Kathy Silverman: Well, she was Nancy Neidelmen then. At a party for Gillian Flynn. Pretty plucky, she crashed the party just to meet me.
Detective Armstrong: Why was that?
Kathy Silverman: Why was what?
Detective Armstrong: Why did Zoe crash the party just to meet you?
Kathy Silverman: Well, I don't want to blow my own horn, but … well, I have quite a reputation in my field.
Detective Armstrong: What kind of reputation?
Kathy Silverman: I make things happen. I get authors published.
Detective Armstrong: And Zoe wanted you to represent her?
Kathy Silverman: Yes. Well, she didn't really even have a manuscript back then.
Detective Armstrong: Then how did she hope to get you as an agent?
Kathy Silverman: 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.
Detective Armstrong: Meaning, she cared more about being a published author than what she wrote?
Kathy Silverman: Yes, exactly.
Detective Armstrong: Didn't you think that was kind of odd?
Kathy Silverman: Not really. A lot of writers are like that. It's hard to explain. They are their own breed.
Detective Armstrong: So, she had no manuscript then. When did she have one?
Kathy Silverman: Several months ago. Well, she had sent me some stuff over the years, a few short stories, copies of her column, ideas she had for novels.
Detective Armstrong: But they weren't any good?
Kathy Silverman: 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.
Detective Armstrong: So early this year, she sent you something that was gold?
Kathy Silverman: Yes. Her novel.
Detective Armstrong: What is the title of the work?
Kathy Silverman: Desperate Stranger.
Detective Armstrong: And you knew as soon as you started reading it, that it was a best seller?
Kathy Silverman: You bet your ass, I did.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, when was this?
Kathy Silverman: Late last year, I believe.
Detective Armstrong: Not so long ago. And you got her a deal right away?
Kathy Silverman: 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.
Detective Armstrong: Is that what happened? A bidding war?
Kathy Silverman: No. I had a few interested parties, then Random made an offer, and Zoe wanted to take it.
Detective Armstrong: You sound disappointed.
Kathy Silverman: I thought we could have done better.
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean?
Kathy Silverman: 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."
Detective Armstrong: Did that strike you as odd?
Kathy Silverman: Not really. First-time authors are often nervous because they're new to the process. Sometimes you can't talk them out of taking the first serious offer.
Detective Armstrong: Why's that?
Kathy Silverman: They get anxious, superstitious. Like if they hesitate, the mysterious forces that made it all happen will take it away.
Detective Armstrong: But these fears are unfounded?
Kathy Silverman: Not always. You really can't say why people do what they do, so I respected her wishes and started the negotiations.
Detective Armstrong: What is the book about?
Kathy Silverman: Well, I can't really say. Right now, the rights to the book haven't been decided, so I'm not going to divulge any information until it's settled. I can tell you it's a murder mystery.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. We understand that Zoe was nervous about the final negotiations for the publication of her book. Do you know why?
Kathy Silverman: Like I said, I think it was just first time out jitters.
Detective Armstrong: Didn't Zoe call you the day of her death expressing these jitters?
Kathy Silverman: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: What did she say?
Kathy Silverman: Just wanted to make sure we were really going to sign the deal and that they weren't backing out.
Detective Armstrong: Did the publishing company voice any desire to back out?
Kathy Silverman: 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 nerve-wracking.
Detective Armstrong: Did you actually speak to Zoe on May 24th?
Kathy Silverman: No. We played phone tag, left messages, but no, I never spoke to her.
Detective Armstrong: Did Zoe ever indicate to you that she was in trouble?
Kathy Silverman: No.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone bothering her that you knew of?
Kathy Silverman: No.
Detective Armstrong: Did she say anything that would make you believe someone was trying to harm her? Was she afraid?
Kathy Silverman: No. Zoe? She wasn't afraid of anything or anyone as far as I knew. Maybe that was the problem.
Detective Armstrong: Maybe so. Thank you for your time. If we have further questions, we'll contact you.
Kathy Silverman: Any time. Goodbye, Detective.
Detective Armstrong: Morning, ma'am.
Interview ended – 10:54 a.m.