Kevin Wark – President of CALU, former estate lawyer, former vice-president at PPI Solutions and crime writer… Yes, that is correct, Kevin Wark is an author too.
Perhaps most known for his book “Everything you need to know about estate planning,” Wark has carved out a pretty neat style for novels as well.
In 2014, he independently published Brought to Justice a story about former Chicago homicide detective, Tony Deluca, who moves to Wisconsin to join the Madison Police Department. Once there, Tony finds himself in the midst of a homicide investigation.
In an interview with The Insurance and Investment Journal, Wark explained that he has had a passion for writing all of his life. Being a fan of murder mystery novels, it was a no brainer for him to combine the two.
“I have always enjoyed the process of writing and have written extensively on tax and estate planning subjects over the years. I also read quite a bit of detective and murder mystery novels and had a few ideas for a book plot. I finally made the decision to put my writing skills to fiction and started writing Brought to Justice,” he said.
On top of balancing his day job as president of the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU), Wark said much planning and work goes into writing a 355-page novel.
“Usually I write from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. before work and then again from 7:30pm to 9 p.m. in the evening. The book took several years to write, there were times when I had to put it down for a while. I wasn’t going to allow it to consume my life.”
The planning process was broken into two parts. Wark said he visited Madison a dozen times to research and get a feel for the community.
“I wanted it to be as real as possible, I even talked to a former police officer from the Madison Police Department as part of my research.”
Kevin credits the internet for playing a big role in his research. It allowed him to access a host of information on Madison; Google Street View was especially useful. By allowing him to view streets, buildings and roads, he was able to recreate neighbourhoods in the book in a way that the reader can feel they are in Madison too. One of the biggest hurdles Kevin faced was getting the book published.
“Finding a publisher was tough as no one in Canada was overly interested as the book was set in Wisconsin.”
Luckily with the dollar still high in 2014, Kevin secured MadCap Publishing to be his publisher. Being independently published means that Wark had to do everything from marketing, to editing and creating publicity.
“We had to organize events like book signings… We had to enter the book into competitions to get attention…. We had to create our own publicity as well.”
The inspiration for “Brought to Justice” came after a family holiday, which ended up in Madison – the capital of Wisconsin.
“I wanted to set the book in a small town and this seemed like the perfect location. I wanted the story to be in a place where a case like this would touch the whole town and bring them together.”
A great icebreaker
Perhaps one of the best things about being an author is the icebreaker opportunities when at conferences or meetings.
“I always bring a few copies with me when I go to a conference or a meeting and ask (new contacts) if they like reading. If so, then I would tell them about my book and give them a copy to read.”
Currently Wark is busy with preparing to release two more books. This year he plans to release an updated version of his “Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning,” which reflects the changes in the industry since it was first published in 2001.
And with the messages he has received demanding a sequel to the favourably reviewed “Brought to Justice”, he is motivated to continue his creative writing. Wark is currently 30 pages into the sequel “Back to Justice,” which once again focuses on Tony Deluca who is now a private detective hired to defend a prominent businessman accused of murdering his wife. He hopes to have Back to Justice published sometime in 2018.