Author/historian Louis Kraft has focused his energy on producing work that highlights racism and the human experience of people who have put their lives on the line to prevent war. He has written articles for magazines, including Research Review and Wild West, as well as fiction (The Final Showdown) and nonfiction (Gatewood & Geronimo) books. Kraft returned to fiction writing when he collaborated with Robert S. Goodman on The Discovery.
Visit his website at www.readthediscovery.com.
In THE DISCOVERY by Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft, a young obstetrician/gynecologist delivers a premature baby after attending a dinner party. The child survives the delivery, but complications lead to a malpractice lawsuit two decades later.
In 1952, a pregnant seventeen-year-old gives birth in a Los Angeles hospital. Two nurses attend to the young woman while they wait for the doctor on call to arrive for the delivery. Dr. Harry Chapman arrives at the hospital clearheaded but with alcohol on his breath. The premature baby is born blue and placed in an incubator. The nurses turn the oxygen to the level recommended to pediatricians for preemies the year before to prevent blindness. When the baby’s color doesn’t change, Harry instructs the nurses to turn the oxygen up to maximum. They protest, but Harry insists that the nurses comply to save the baby from brain damage or death.
In 1972, Greg Weston, a twenty-year-old paralegal meets a young woman who works with a renowned pediatrician. When she questions the attractive young man about his blindness, Greg reveals that his adoptive parents told him he was born blind. After agreeing to see the doctor Gail works for, Greg becomes aware that his blindness may have occurred as a result of physician error. Greg requests his medical records from the hospital and the adoption agency, and he finds that the hospital records tell a different story about what took place after his birth. In both records, Dr. Harry Chapman is indicated as the doctor who delivered him. Greg shares his findings with a partner in his law firm, and they build a case against Dr. Chapman based on fraudulent changes in the hospital records, which allows the statute of limitations to be thrown out.
After Harry receives word that he is being sued, his attorney advises him that the malpractice insurance he carried in 1952 will not cover even a fraction of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The stress and uncertainty of the case, along with the accusation of fraud, breaks Harry, leading him down a road of depression and alcohol dependence. As Harry’s wife, Helen, watches her husband deteriorate, she makes an unthinkable choice to put an end to the plaintiff’s case.
In THE DISCOVERY, the authors connect the lives of two individuals across two decades, exposing vulnerabilities, bitterness, and frailties. As the case moves forward, a key witness’s testimony alters the lives of both men.
In writing THE DISCOVERY, Goodman and Kraft’s intentions were to offer readers multidimensional characters with real-world problems and to bring awareness to the severe affect malpractice lawsuits can have on physicians’ professional and personal lives.
The Discovery is available at Amazon.
What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
All through school I’ve written, and I wrote my first play in my senior year of college. It had one performance at Theatre West, a professional theater group in Los Angeles. … While performing dinner theater in Lubbock, Texas, in 1976, the racism and threat of violence was so extreme that when I returned to Los Angeles I wrote a screenplay about it and submitted it to an agent. He said, “This is terrible, but let’s talk.” I became one of his clients, and he gave me in-depth reviews, taught me how to write dialogue, character, and plot. My best screenplay was about the destruction of Germany during WWII as seen through the eyes of a U-boat commander, and like much of my writing to that time and since it has been about race and race relations. In this case the U-boat commander did not belong to the Nazi party and had a Jewish girlfriend. My agent said he loved the script but it was unsellable. By 1982 we had come close to optioning or selling a screenplays but didn’t. That spring while doing a 135-performance tour of The Prince and the Pauper (the script borrowed heavily from the 1937 Errol Flynn film and I played Miles Hendon, Flynn’s character) in a tour of Northern California. During the tour Das Boot, the great German anti-war film about a U-boat patrol opened, and I saw it. When I returned home I fired my agent. I was sick of no sales or options and wanted to earn money for my writing. By 1984 I sold my first articles.
Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?
Not only do I take notes, I study many films over and over again. I can’t begin to tell you how much you can learn from a well-done film, and just to name a few examples: Character, dialogue, plot, and scope. While writing The Discovery I watched Runaway Jury (2004), which I already owned, at least 10 more times. Dr. Robert S. Goodman, whom I partnered with for The Discovery, suggested that I see Paul Newman’s film, The Verdict (1982). I bought the DVD and watched six or more times during the writing of the manuscript.
Do you have a day job? What do you do?
Beginning in 1990 and continuing until 2012 I also wrote for software companies. My only day job now is writing the final list of manuscripts that I must write. By fall 2015 when my cover story, “Geronimo’s Gunfighter Attitude,” was published by Wild West Magazine I informed my magazine editors and those who hire me to deliver talks that I could not do this any longer as all my future writing would be exclusive to my book projects (At this time The Discovery was close to a final polish and I had already put it out to three trusted people to review).
Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?
What hours do you write best?
I can begin at four in the morning and way too often I’m writing deep into the night. All times to research and write are good for me, and that includes when I cannot sleep and get up and the wee hours continue writing.
How often do you write?
Seven days a week and that includes holidays, although the writing time is less on holidays that mean something to me (Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving).
Are you an avid reader?
Yes, but only work related to my projects. Most of it is primary source material for way too often nonfiction writers create fiction with bogus notations. I really don’t have any favorite novelists (western novelist Johnny D. Boggs is superb in character, plot, and dialogue) but there is one novelist that I read no matter how busy I am: Robin Cook, for I love his medical thrillers.
What are you reading now?
Secretary of the Interior, 39th Congress, 1st Session (1865), which includes the U.S. Peace Commissioner’s report (John B. Sanborn, president of the commission, to President Andrew Jackson, October 16, 1865) titled “Treaty council held in camp on the Little Arkansas river, October 1865.” It is one of many of many primary reports that deals with the massacre and sexual butchery of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians that thought that they had been guaranteed safety by the U.S. military, only to be slaughtered on November 29, 1864. Although the peace council was supposed to end the war and grant these people reparations for the loss of their belongings, livestock, and loved ones, it was little more than a continued land grab by the United States government to secure prime land. This lengthy report begins on page 699 of a huge document.
What are you currently working on?
As said above, I mainly read and study primary source material of my major writing projects. My current project is a contracted manuscript titled Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway. It deals with the lead-up to an attack on a Cheyenne and Arapaho village in 1864. It begins with them walking out of the mists of time, their dominance of the plains to the east of the Rocky Mountains, their first connections with the white man, the wanton decimation of their livelihood (the buffalo), their struggle to maintain peace with the white man, their counter attacks against an invading race, and the various participants in the story—The Cheyennes and Arapahos, the whites who married into their tribes, their offspring, the whites that craved their land at any costs and this included a huge racial bias, and the few whites that dared to speak out against the brutal and sexual mutilation of these people who thought that the 1864 war had ended for them, and more important thought that the U.S. military had guaranteed their safety. This attack on the Cheyenne and Arapaho village took place on November 29, 1864, in southeast Colorado Territory and it will remain in infamy for all time.