Les Horvitz began writing before he turned 12, cranking out unpublishable novels on his mother’s manual Royal typewriter in the basement. Father a doctor (only job ever obtained through nepotism working in an ER for a summer, didn’t lead to become a doctor, deflating parental hopes, but got to cut out an appendix (cut on the dotted line). Went on writing unpublishable novels for years. Didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop. Wrote anything they paid him for and many things they didn’t. A novel is published – under a pseudonym. Terrible cover. Hold the champagne. More promising publishing deals. A novel sells in the hundreds of thousands, garners foreign rights. Pop the cork. A publisher goes out of business. Checks stop coming but he keeps going.
Celebratory bottles of Champagne a distant memory. Acquires an Otrona, heavy mother with a tiny green screen, 64 K capacity. One night meets an editor of a newsweekly at a bar– he’s looking for writers. Gets a better computer – more memory. A few years later receives a phone call out of the blue – a book editor is looking for a writer to collaborate with epidemiologists (the folks who try to locate the source of an outbreak of disease and put a stop to it.) A big break – what E.B. White said about New York – that you have to be willing to be lucky – is true.
Travels to Karachi, Vail, Colorado and Atlanta to work on the book – his first nonfiction in hardcover. Karachi not recommended for tourism. Becomes known for writing books about medicine and science – ironically because he never took a single science course in college, karmic revenge maybe. . More collaborations follow. Works on a project with a detective specializing in art forgery, art fraud and theft – never comes to fruition but educational. (Best way to rob a safe: drill into it from the floor below.) Worked on another project with New York State’s most notorious prisoner who gets killed in prison yard fight – end of collaboration.
Les Horvitz is the author of over thirty novels including Synbio, The Donors, Double Blinded, The Dying and Causes Unknown. Editions of his books have been published in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Norway, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Brazil and the UK. He is also the author of several works of nonfiction, most recently The Essential Book of Weather Folklore, The Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocide, The Weather Tracker, Night Sky Tracker Eureka: Scientific Breakthroughs That Changed the World, and Understanding Depression with Dr. Raymond DePaulo of Johns Hopkins University. In 1996 Horvitz collaborated with Dr. Joseph McCormick and his wife, Dr. Susan Fisher-Hoch, both noted epidemiologists, on Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC. (Separately and together, the two investigated countless epidemics ranging from Ebola and HIV in Zaire to Lassa Fever in Sierra Leone and Hantan Fever in China. Level 4 refers to a biohazard unit in the Centers for Disease Control where scientists examine some of the most lethal pathogens known to man.)
Les has covered a variety of business, political and social topics for general interest magazines including articles on money laundering, international organized crime, financial mergers, global trade, and fraud in biomedical research.