My name is Matt Kozar, and I’m the author of Angels on the Bridge. Thank you for showing an interest this book, which has taken me four years to complete. Early mornings were spent pounding away on my laptop. When it was time for work, I lugged my computer onto my train bound for Grand Central Terminal in New York City and continued writing among the weary-eyed commuters.
The truth is I’m passionate about storytelling. I fell in love with books as a child and am grateful to my parents for encouraging my brother and me to read. Yet, I never thought I could make a career of storytelling. At Brown University, I studied economics and prepared for a career in finance but soon realized it wasn’t the fit.
Journalism felt more invigorating: inform the public; root out corruption and waste; write about interesting people, places and things; and most importantly, tell meaningful stories. But without knowing any journalists, I was unsure where to begin, so I sat down and wrote a letter to my favorite reporter to ask for his advice. The note to 60 Minutes Correspondent Mike Wallace was a shot in the dark, a swing for the fences, but I was a young kid with nothing to lose.
“I admire your work and never miss an episode of 60 Minutes,” I wrote in a three-page letter on August 21, 2004.
Several weeks later, my cell phone buzzed with a voice message from the legendary correspondent, and I immediately called him back. We chatted for an hour. I told him about my career aspirations, and how I’d applied for an internship at CBS News. Mike said that if I was accepted to the program, I should visit him at the end of the summer. I’ll never know for certain, but I’m confident he helped me secure that internship, the first and only time anyone has ever helped me get a job.
The summer of 2005 at CBS News was one of the greatest experiences of my life and invigorated my spirit for storytelling. I’m grateful to all of the correspondents and producers who guided me. Of course, the highlight came at the end of the summer when I met Mike Wallace in his office.
After college, I attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and following graduation, launched into reporting jobs that took me across the country. My stops included television stations in Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, Connecticut and New York. Most recently, I worked at WCBS-TV and CBS News in New York City. It felt special to return to the place where it all started for it me. Whether I was covering the mayor and the NYPD or interviewing a good samaritan who saved a person on the subway tracks, I loved the job. My favorites stories were of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write long-form fiction. With hundreds of plot lines and characters floating through my head, I decided to diverge and tackle more personal themes.
On October 30, 2010, I lost my 23-year-old brother Doug.
He and his co-worker Kate were killed on a bridge in Tampa, FL as they walked to their cars after work. The driver of the car that hit them was legally drunk. Following a plea deal with prosecutors, a judge sentenced the driver to 12 years in state penitentiary, which he’s currently serving.
After Doug died, a flurry of questions and angry emotions rippled through my core. How could such gentle people experience violent deaths? Where were Doug and Kate’s guardian angels? What happens to the soul when a person dies? The story of James St. George is an attempt to tackle some of these difficult questions. I also felt the desire to write a positive, inspirational story, something the world could use more of with current headlines leaning toward death and destruction. While many of the characters, ideas and themes in the book are borrowed from Christian doctrine, others were born from articles, anecdotes, or more simply, my imagination. Conservative practitioners of the faith may take aim at some concepts in this story, which is why I remind readers that this is a work of fiction. Angels on the Bridge is my vision of the soul’s journey and the afterlife.
While Angels on the Bridge includes allusions to Christianity, I wrote the story with the goal of appealing to people of ALL faiths and backgrounds, especially readers who recently lost loved ones.
Thank you for joining me on this literary adventure. I plan to donate a portion of any profits I earn to the Douglas Kozar Memorial Scholarship at the University of Tampa, which provides scholarship money to students studying criminal justice; my brother graduated from UT with a degree in criminal justice.
I’ve written an outline for a second book, and I’m excited to begin writing again soon. More details to come. In the meantime, please share your feedback and reviews for Angels on the Bridge. I look forward to hearing from you.