In the first in our series of Authors to Watch, here’s more about Saima Agency client Daniel Kalla:
The Evolution of a Storyteller: Author Daniel Kalla
Dan Kalla produces engrossing novels with the same steady intensity with which he handles the load as the head of Emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. His first five novels focused on themes that were at the heart of his professional life: medical thrillers delving into topics as diverse as any scenario the doctor might face — superbugs, drug addiction, pandemic and patient abuse. Kalla even delved into such controversial topics as prion disease and DNA evidence.
But along the way, Kalla’s interests extended beyond the medical thriller genre. His sixth novel, OF FLESH AND BLOOD, was a multigenerational family drama, featuring a fictional West Coast hospital and interwoven storylines. And this spring, his latest book will be released: THE FAR SIDE OF THE SKY, (June 5, 2012, MacMillan/Tor-Forge). His first historical novel, it’s set in Second World War Shanghai – which was known as the “Paris of the East” – where 20,000 German Jews found shelter from the Holocaust, and almost certain genocide.
“The progression from writing medical mysteries to historical fiction was natural,” says Kalla. “In my own family, my grandfather was a Czech doctor who fled Prague with his family on literally the last commercial flight before the Nazis descended. My father—who became a surgeon after the war—spent much of his teen years hiding from Nazis in Budapest. In my case, recording history is as important for its global insights as it is a deeply personal lesson for me. And suspense is suspense, whether dealing with threat of a pandemic or an amazing true-life story of war-time survival.”
Readers of the historical fiction genre will not be disappointed in the care Kalla takes in details. The Shanghai Kalla describes is vividly punctuated with scenes that include the appearance of gangsters and prostitutes in crowded opium dens, but at its center features a satisfying romance between the main characters of Franz Adler, a widowed Jewish surgeon and the Eurasian Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah, a nurse he meets at a refugee hospital. Fans of Kalla’s medical writings will be pleased the author also examines the state of 1940s health care, and the devastating realities and dilemmas of war-time medicine with the practiced eye of a clinician which they have come to expect from the multitasking – and bestselling – author/doctor.
“There are so many amazing truths that are in danger of being forgotten,” concludes Kalla. “From taking a patient’s medical history – to recording world events. It can all be so tenuous. The key is to write it down in order that we remember.” Learn more about the author at Kalla’s website.