Interview with author J.D. Trafford
What was your experience creating Matthew Daley?
I knew from the outset that Matthew Daley was going to start high (fancy job and lots of money) and be brought low (no job and living in parent’s basement), but that was about it. Through the editing process the character, however, was became much clearer and the stakes became more significant to him personally and professionally. This is my sixth book, and I’d say that this book more than any of the others was created more during the editing process than in the initial draft. It reminded me that editing is not distinct. It should be considered an extension of the writing process.
What exactly is a corporate lawyer?
There are two kinds of corporate lawyer: transactional, when deals are made and partnerships are born, and litigation, when all those deals and partnerships go to hell. My experience is that the transactional, corporate attorneys are salesmen. They wine and dine. Corporate litigation attorneys are warriors. They love to fight.
Describe the relationship between Matthew Daley and his sister.
Mathew grew up in an abusive household with another who is an alcoholic. His sister was his protector. She took a lot of the heat while he was growing up and that allowed Matthew to focus on his education and escape.
Does his sense of justice change throughout the book?
Yes, I think he began without caring much about justice. It was about winning or losing. He wanted to win because he was paid to win. By the end, the law became personal and he wanted to win for his family.
What kind of dilemma is he facing?
Like a lot of lawyers, you go to law school with an idea of how your life is going to be and then there comes a day when you’re like, “is this really it?” There is a gap between what you thought it was going to be and the reality of life. For Matthew Daley, he was living the dream and then he realized that dream came at a cost.
What can you tell us about his fiancee?
She is also a lawyer at a big firm, and she is like a mirror image of Matthew Daley but it takes her longer to understand the realities and costs of what they do for a living.
Where is he blue-collar hometown located?
This book takes place in St. Louis, Missouri.
How high are the stakes if he loses?
The case is his redemption. He has bet his whole life, job, and savings on this case.
How many attorneys does a large pharmaceutical company normally have?
I think the short answer is that they have as many as they need plus one.
What are you working on next?
I’m working of another legal thriller that takes place in St. Louis. I think I know how it’ll end, but if I say it out loud, I’ll jinx it.
J.D. Trafford is an award-winning author who has been profiled in Mystery Scene Magazine (a “writer of merit”). His debut novel was selected as an IndieReader bestselling pick, and his books have topped Amazon’s bestseller lists, including Amazon’s #1 Legal Thriller.
In addition to graduating with honors from a Top 20 law school, J.D. Trafford has worked as a civil and criminal prosecutor, an associate at a large national law firm, and a non-profit attorney for people who could not afford legal representation.
Prior to law school, J.D. Trafford worked in Washington D.C. and lived in Saint Louis, Missouri. He worked on issues of housing, education, and poverty in communities of color.
He now lives with his wife and children in the Midwest, and bikes whenever possible.