On this episode I interviewed former Atlanta paramedic, author, and current writer on CBS’s CODE BLACK, Kevin Hazzard. Kevin has had an amazing career in both writing and public service. Take a look below to learn more about him and go behind the scenes with a television drama writer.
About the author
KEVIN HAZZARD worked as a paramedic from 2004 to 2013, primarily at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. His freelance journalism has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Marietta Daily Journal, Creative Loafing, and Paste, and he has written a novel, Sleeping Dogs. He and his family live in Hermosa Beach, California where he writes for television.
Joe Connelly (AUTHOR of Bringing out the dead) said: “No one has a closer view into our fearful hearts than the paramedic, and no one writes it like Kevin Hazzard.”
Pat Conroy (New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini) A shocking, utterly compelling tour de force that shows the dark heart of an Atlanta that I never knew existed…Hazzard writes in an elegant, low-key style, racing from crimes scenes to fatal accidents to the birthing of babies. I couldn’t let the book go – it’s powerful enough to have turned me into an ambulance chaser in my own small South Carolina town, but it’s also very, very funny.”
About the books
A former paramedic’s eye-opening and, at times, deeply moving and hilarious account of a decade spent on Atlanta’s mean streets saving lives and connecting with the beauty that lies inside catastrophe.
In the aftermath of 9/11 Kevin Hazzard felt like something was missing from his life—that his days were too safe, too routine.
He wanted to test himself, see how he might respond to pressure and danger—so he signed up for emergency medical training and became, at age twenty-six, a newly minted EMT running calls in the worst sections of Atlanta. Immediately, he entered a different realm—one of blood, violence, and amazing grace.
Thoroughly intimidated at first and frequently terrified, he experienced on each nightly shift the adrenaline rush of walking into chaos. Often, the carnage was grisly, but a carousel of black-humored partners helped. And in lull moments, Kevin reflected on the way people’s facades drop away when catastrophe strikes.
As his hours on the job piled up, he realized he was beginning to see into the truth of things. There is no pretense five beats into a chest compression, or in an alley next to a crack den, or on a dimly lit highway where cars have collided. Eventually, what had at first seemed impossible happened: Kevin acquired mastery. And in the process he was able to discern the differences between his freewheeling peers, what marked each as a tourist, true believer, or killer.
Combining indelible scenes that remind us of life’s fragile beauty with laugh-out-loud moments that keep us smiling through the worst, A Thousand Naked Strangers is an absorbing account of one man’s journey of self-discovery—a trip that also teaches us about ourselves.
“Will Lightfoot is leaving. He’s packed everything he owns into a box and thrown it all away. Then, after stealing a bag of clothes and a pocketful of money from his roommate, he’s boarding a Greyhound bus to Philly.” “From Maine to Philly to the Poconos to Charleston and, finally, to Atlanta, Will is in search of fulfillment against the often empty promises of a nine-to-five existence and the so-called American Dream. Will winds his way south until he hits Charleston – an apparent paradise. It’s here that he meets people just like him – young and energetic, intelligent and listless – particularly the irrepressible Harry. But after a summer of watching the waves and making drinks in the alien South, Will can no longer pretend that he’s found what he’s looking for.” “When he receives a letter from his sister Penny inviting him to live with her in Atlanta, Will’s dissatisfaction drives him to accept, with Harry in tow, and soon the pair take up writing restaurant reviews and carousing. Harry’s uncompromising view of life and writing, his belief in working toward one’s principles, fuels his work on a novel and Will’s admiration. Harry, it seems, has found contentment.”\
About the writing
CODE BLACK is a heart-pounding medical drama that takes place in the busiest, most notorious ER in the nation, where the staggering influx of patients can outweigh the limited resources available to the extraordinary doctors and nurses whose job is to treat them all—creating a condition known as Code Black.
This episode was brought to you by Xiphos Books & Training. Xiphos Books is responsible for books such as ‘Welcome to New Orleans… How many shots did you hear? Volume 1 and 2 as well as the fiction novel A Salty Life & A Traitor’s Death. Be sure to stop by their website and look at their books, training and public speaking dates.
Remember that next week we will be interviewing Laura J. Kendall (Author and instructor)
Words off the street
@streetwordscast on Twitter
Guest Kevin Hazzard
BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM: Website; Audible; ITunes; Simon & Shuster; Barnes & Noble and Amazon