Melissa F. Miller Talks Writing and the Sasha McCandless Series

Melissa F Miller

 

Interview with Melissa F Miller

 

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

I don’t really have a typical writing day—although I wish I did! In addition to being a writer, I homeschool my three kids, so my writing days often vary depending on what learning we’re doing on a given day. That said, I try to write early in the morning most days. My word count varies and I often “binge write” toward the end of a first draft, sometimes writing 12,000 or more words in a (long) day. Every time I start a new book, I tell myself this is the one where I’ll write a consistent, reasonable amount each day. So far, it hasn’t happened. Maybe the next book will be the magic one!

 

Your story premises are very intriguing. What’s your creative approach for a story?

Thanks! My approach varies from series to series, but in my Sasha McCandless series, I develop the premise of each book around a legal principle that will be central to the case Sasha takes on and a corresponding personal issue or event that happens in Sasha’s personal life. So, in Intentional Acts, Sasha has a client who may be liable for  releasing customers’ private data because of the deliberate actions of a rogue employee. The case intersects with her personal life and she grapples with her husband’s decision to conceal something troubling from her (his intentional act).  I find it really satisfying to merge the strands of the two plots and explore the various facets of a theme from different angles.

 

 

Do you write character arcs?

Hmm, sort of. My thrillers are plot driven, but my plots are character driven, if that makes sense. So I always know how my characters are going to be challenged and grow over the course of the events in the book, but I don’t write detailed arcs. Likewise, I have planned character arcs for my main characters over the span of a series. Mainly, I do this intuitively. But I’m currently reading Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, which is inspiring me to be explicit in my thinking about my character arcs.

 

Name the best virtues of Sasha McCandless in her job as a civil attorney.

Sasha’s greatest strength as a lawyer is her perseverance. She’s stubborn and determined, which serves her well as a litigator. She also has a natural ability to tease out connections between seemingly disparate pieces of evidence and to see the patterns in facts. And, of course, she can get by on very little sleep (and large amounts of coffee), which comes in handy when she has a court deadline looming!

 

 

Leo Connelly seems like a jack of all trades. Did you learn anything new about him while writing this book?

Leo’s such a fun character to write. As you note, he is something of a jack of all trades. Because he works for a fictional federal government ‘shadow’ agency, his jurisdiction and mission is wide-ranging, allowing him to coordinate with agents from so many different parts of the national security apparatus. In Intentional Acts, he’s put to an ethical/moral test. Without spoiling the plot, I can say his choice didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was that he took some smaller actions he knew might cause an issue in his marriage, but he did them anyway because he believed he was in the right.  (Apologies for being so cryptic—I don’t want to give anything away!)

 

What kind of case is Sasha undertaking?

In this book, her client is a nonprofit organization that has two problems. One, the federal government wants it to turn over confidential user information; and, two, a former employee has leaked private user data online. Sasha needs to help them resist the information request and avoid liability for the leak.  Sasha’s case intersects with her husband’s work when a man whose identity was leaked is murdered and the evidence suggests Leo killed him as part of a national security operation.

 

 

This book has great dilemmas. What was most challenging in writing it?

The trickiest bit was writing the Project Storm Chaser scenes from Leo’s viewpoint. Because I do write multiple point of views, I needed to be fair to the reader in sharing the information Leo would have. But I had to do it in such a way that I wouldn’t tip my hand and undermine the suspense as Sasha learned the truth about what was happening. There was delicate balance between revealing and concealing that I hope I succeeded in navigating!

 

What’s next for you?

I’m finishing up Crossfire Creek, the fifth book in my Aroostine Higgins thriller series.  In Crossfire Creek, Aroostine (a former lawyer turned tracker) searches for a mother and daughter who disappeared from their home without a trace and who have a very compelling reason to stay missing.

I have four ongoing series (three thriller series and one light mystery), and I try to write at least one book per year in each series. My Aroostine Higgins thrillers and my Bodhi King forensic thrillers are both spin-offs of the Sasha McCandless series. Aroostine and Bodhi were characters in Sasha’s books before they got their own series; so even though the three series are distinct and separate, they exist in the same world.  I really enjoy writing within the little universe I’ve created!

 

 

 

Intentional Acts image

 

 

After seven years together, she knows him better than anyone. Doesn’t she?

In the newest entry in this fast-paced USA Today bestselling series, wife-and-husband team Sasha and Leo find themselves on opposite sides of an explosive situation.

Sasha’s up to her elbows in a data privacy matter. Her client could be on the hook for breaching the privacy of hundreds of customers. All because a rogue employee intentionally leaked personal information for reasons known only to him.

Meanwhile, Leo’s busy with a high-stakes case of his own. He’s been ordered to neutralize a national security threat to the country, but he has his doubts about the strength of the evidence against the target.

As Leo vets the information he’s been given, Sasha learns that federal law enforcement has an interest in her civil matter. Because they both take their duties of confidentiality seriously, neither realizes that their cases are intertwined. Until one of the affected customers in Sasha’s case is murdered … and the evidence points to Leo as the killer.

Sasha’s not about to turn in her own husband, so she tails him instead. She only hopes what she finds will clear his name, not destroy their marriage.

 

Amazon |Goodreads

 

 

About Melissa F. Miller

USA Today bestselling author Melissa F. Miller is a former attorney who traded the practice of law for the art of telling stories.

She is the author of more than two dozen bestselling legal thrillers, suspense thrillers, romantic comedic mysteries, and forensic thrillers. All her work shares two common threads: pulse-pounding, tightly plotted action and smart, unlikely heroines and heroes.

Her books feature such diverse protagonists as a pint-sized attorney and mother of twins who’s trained in Krav Maga; a Native American government investigator who relies on her heritage to guide her when the chips are down; a Buddhist forensic pathologist who refuses to harm any living creature; and a trio of twenty-something sisters just starting out in their careers who find murder and mayhem wherever they go.

She’s edited medical, scientific, and technical journals, as well as educational books; clerked for a federal judge; worked for major international law firms; and run a two-person law firm with her lawyer husband.

Now, powered by coffee, she writes crime fiction and homeschools her children. When she’s not writing, and sometimes when she is, Melissa travels around the country in an RV with her husband, three kids, and their cat.

To find out when Melissa releases a new book, visit www.melissafmiller.com and sign up for her email newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Bernhardt Discusses His New Legal Thriller – The Last Chance Lawyer

 

 

The Last chance lawyer image

 

 

Getting his client off death row could save his career… or make him the next victim.

 

 

Interview 

 

What was your creative process for creating Daniel Pike?

I thought it would fun write some more legal thrillers. After nineteen Ben Kincaid novels, I was ready for a break, but with a few years off to write poetry and nonfiction about writing, it seems fun again. I wanted Dan to be a modern man, very in tune with the zeitgeist, smart, fun to spend time with–but not perfect. Perfect people are boring. I can’t relate. Dan has a special skill for rooting out the truth–useful for a criminal lawyer. He’s a bit quirky–wears sneakers to court, carries a backpack rather than a briefcase, lives on a boat. But he has a passion for justice, for preventing the government from railroading innocents, and as the book develops, you’ll see why.  

 

 

What makes him the last chance lawyer?

After a disastrous event early in the book, he joins a new team of lawyers that take their cases from the mysterious Mr. K, who sends them cases no one else can handle (at least not as well). K pays Dan’s salary, not the clients, so money is not the main focus. Dan becomes a lawyer for those who, due to finances or other circumstances, have few options.

 

 

Last chance lawyer image

 

 

 

How is he different than  lawyer Ben Kincaid in your other series?

Dan is everything Ben was not, at least when he started. Dan is confident, showy, outgoing, and successful. Ben was a dogged bur usually effective lawyer. Dan is a showboat. What he learns in this novel is how to be more than a showboat.

 

“Daniel Pike would rather fight for justice than follow the rules.” What is justice from his point of view?

When Dan talks about justice, he means correcting the imbalance in the modern judicial system. Dan knows from experience that the criminal justice system is stacked in favor of the prosecution. We may say people are presumed innocent, but in truth, most people assume the accused are guilty until it is proven otherwise. The threat of incarceration is so great people plea bargain to crimes they didn’t commit. Dan tries to bring the system back into balance.  

 

 

 

Man in prison

 

 

What is the relationship between the objective rule of law and an attorney’s subjective use of it?

I’m not sure what you mean by “the subjective use of it.” The law is the law. Legislators write it, and judges apply it. The defense lawyer’s job is to hold the jury to the law, which says they cannot convict unless guilt has been proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a high standard. And meant to be.

 

 

What can you tell us about the kind of case he’s undertaking?

At first, Dan is representing a nine-year old immigrant who will be deported, because temporary protected status has been revoked for those from her country (after decades), unless she is adopted. Then the prospective adoptive mother is accused or murder.  

 

 

What were some challenges while writing this book, or beginning a new series?

Unlike when I started with Ben, I planned this to be a series from the start. You will see some of the threads sewn into the first book. This is a self-contained novel, but there are elements planted that will expand and combine to form a much larger story over the course of many books.

 

 

What’s next?

In July, the second Daniel Pike book (which I’ve already finished). Court of Killers.

 

 

William Bernhardt image

 

William Bernhardt is the author of forty-seven books, including the bestselling Ben Kincaid series, the historical novels Challengers of the Dust and Nemesis, two books of poetry (The White Bird and The Ocean’s Edge), and the Red Sneaker books on fiction writing. His most recent novel is The Last Chance Lawyer, the first in a new series of legal thrillers featuring rebel lawyer Daniel Pike.

In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writers Center to mentor aspiring writers. The Center hosts an annual writers conference, small-group seminars, a monthly newsletter, a phone app, and a bi-weekly podcast. More than three dozen of Bernhardt’s students have subsequently published with major houses. He is also the owner of Balkan Press, which publishes poetry and fiction as well as the literary journal Conclave. He has published many new authors as well as prominent authors like Pulitzer-Prize-winner N. Scott Momaday, and Grammy-Award-winner Janis Ian.

 

WilliamBernhardt.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Marc Rainer Author of the Jeff Trask Crime Drama

 

 

Mob Rules Jeff Trask

 

 

 

MOB RULES: A Jeff Trask Crime Drama

 

Assistant United States Attorney Jeff Trask moves from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City, where he begins an investigation into an international drug ring smuggling the deadly combination of fentanyl and heroin from the southern border to the Eastern Seaboard. In this case, Trask is fighting a rival whose criminal genius rivals Trask’s own intellect, and—while Trask is bound by the legal code and his own set of morals—the mob boss on the other side of this battle is unencumbered by such restrictions. The investigation forces Trask to choose whether to operate within the legal system ot to venture outside it in order to bring down the murderous kingpin.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

MARC RAINER

 

 

Mob Rules has a very compelling plot. What was your creative approach to writing it?

As with all my books, I try to mix in quite a few real experiences from 30 years as a federal prosecutor with a plot that is also generated by one or more real cases, changing the names to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. I’m trying to return realism to the crime drama genre. Nobody outrunning machine gun fire or doing superhero stuff or solving the world’s biggest case alone. As in most avenues of life, it’s teamwork that’s essential and that wins for law enforcement. I hop into the heads of my characters and just keep asking myself what each character would do next in the real world. I try not to rush from one mental outline point to the next.

 

 

 

Team blocks image with sunset.jpeg

 

 

What was behind the move from Washington, D.C. to Kansas city for Jeff Trask?

That was also somewhat autbiographical. After a few years in DC, I transferred to Kansas City, where I spent the last 25 years of my career as a federal prosecutor. I was tired of “the swamp” in my real life, and actually got tired of fighting it even in my fictional alter ego. It was time to move, both for me and foor Jeff Trask.

 

 

 

Kansas city image.jpeg

 

 

 

What kind of investigation and what is he dealing with there?

Kansas City has always had a Mafia problem. I was assigned to the organized crime strike force unit when I got to Kansas City, and worked in that unit for a dozen years. It was this unit that made the case agains the Mafia in Vegas, the case upon which the movie “Casino” was based. (They ran that investigation before I arrived.) Trask has the same experience, and his first big case pits him against the mob in KC. The Mafia has always had its own weird and perverse set of loyalty codes, hence the title: “Mob Rules.”

 

 

Who else is helping Jeff on the investigation?

An old friend from the Air Force JAG named Cam Turner who is also a federal  prosecutor (a character based upon a real friend who paved the way for my transfer to KC), and a blended team of federal agents and Kansas City police detectives.  Since KC straddles the stateline between Missouri and Kansas, the investigative team includes detectives from both Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. I worked several major cases with the KCMO Police Department’s Career Criminal Unit, and that unit is prominently featured in the book. The cooperation between local and federal authorities was a very pleasant change from DC, where all the investigative agencies were constantly stabbing each other in the back. We had a little of that in Kansas City, but nothing like what I saw in Washington.

 

 

 

Task Force image.jpeg

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This book probably has more humorous episodes included than did all the previous novels put together. That dark cop humor is an essential ingredient in writing a realistic police procedural, because it’s an essential ingredient in police life and culture. All the funny scenes were taken from my time in KC, and all—believe it or not—were real, as I indicated in the author’s notes at the end of the book. Even the funny truth is usually stranger than fiction. At any rate, it was nice being able to build in a few laughs for the audience instead of having to stay in “hard-boiled” or “gritty” mode the entire time.

 

 

 

Marc Rainer image

 

 

Marc Rainer is a former prosecutor in the federal and local courts of the District of Columbia and the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City), and a former circuit prosecutor for the US Air Force’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, he has more than thirty years eperience in the prosecution of major cases. He is married to a former Air Force OSI Special Agent, and lives in a suburb of a major American city. The first book in his Jeff Trask crime drama series, Capital Kill, has been ranked #1 in Amazon’s kindle store’s mystery series sales rankings.

 

MarcRainer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with William L. Meyers

William L. Myers Jr image

 

 

William L. Myers Jr. – A Killer’s Alibi – Book Review & Interview

 

 

A Killers Alibi image

 

 

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters–some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

This is top notch for legal thrillers and crime drama. Never a dull moment. The ride begins from the first scene when Philly crime boss Jimmy Nunzio is caught red handed with the dead body of his daughter’s lover. Criminal defense attorney Mick McFarland is never really on his feet on this one. The case blindsides him from the beginning and never lets up. Then there’s Mick’s wife, Piper who investigates an innocence project case to free a young woman from a murder case. Two cases. Two dire situations. A legal thriller laced with tension, an intricate plot, a full cast of characters–But at its core it’s about one thing, family.

 

 

INTERVIEW

 

*What kind of person is attorney Mick McFarland that made him your protagonist?

            In crafting Mick, I set out to build a character who is basically a good guy, who wants right to prevail over wrong, but who, in the pursuit of right, will do whatever is necessary, including things that are wrong. As an attorney, Mick is a thinker, a planner, and very Machiavellian. He enjoys the “game” and excels at it.

 

 

 

Lawyer at work image sitting.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Mick is undertaking?

            Mick is in an interesting situation. His client is Philly crime lord Jimmy Nunzio—a man used to calling the shots. A Machiavellian manipulator. A man like Mick himself in many ways. What this means for Mick is that he isn’t the alpha dog as he is with most of his clients, and he finds himself having to dance with Jimmy Nunzio, for control of the case.

 

 

Moral dilemma ahead signage

 

 

 

*What is your method of creating characters and how do you bring out their flaws?

            I create characters by outlining them only in very general terms and then placing them into the story—putting them under stress–and watching how their flaws appear. I remember reading once that stress and conflict reveal character; you only find out core character by putting someone to the test. So, I make sure that my protagonists, and my antagonists, too, are under real threat.

 

 

 

*Tell us about Mick’s wife, Piper.

            Piper’s evolution is an interesting one. When I wrote, “A Criminal Defense,” the first book in “The Philadelphia Legal Series,” I started out with the plan simply to make a two-dimensional “wife” character for the main protagonist, Mick. But whenever I wrote Piper into a scene, she asked for more, she told me “I have more to contribute here.” By the end of the book, Piper was a fully-formed character with her own agenda, secrets and fears. In “A Killer’s Alibi,” Piper plays an even more important role—as a driving force behind one of the two main plot lines. She really comes into her own. (And, spoiler alert, in the fourth book, which I’m finishing now (in which Mick is imprisoned on charges or murder), Piper becomes THE driving force in Mick’s defense team.

 

 

 

A Killers Alibi image

 

 

 

*Is the innocence project she’s involved with commonplace in law firms today? Would her official position be an investigative attorney?

            Most law firms which do innocence project work do so under the auspices of, for example, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Larger law firms do have pro bono practices and some have attorneys devoted solely to pro bono work.

 

 

“No man knows the value of innocence and integrity but he who has lost them.” – William Godwin

 

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Piper is taking?

            Piper is leading the charge on behalf of Darlene Dowd, a young woman who was convicted of killing her sexually abusive father fifteen years earlier. Piper learns there is exculpatory evidence the jury never heard and she has to go on a hunting expedition to find the woman who has that evidence. But the woman has secrets of her own, and has been in hiding for years. It takes all of Piper’s will and resourcefulness to win the woman over and see that Darlene gets a fair hearing in court. But nothing is black and white in my books and Piper has to pay a price.

 

 

 

 

Evidence

 

 

 

 

*Now for one of my favorite questions. What is justice?

            Justice is like pornography: difficult to define but you know it when you see it.  When something happens to a character (good or bad) and it feels right to you, that’s justice.  The character, of course, may disagree with you— fictional characters, like real people, believe they are good guys, whether they are or aren’t. Along these lines, a word to the wise: if someday you find yourself standing before St. Peter, the one thing you should never say is I want what’s coming to me.

 

 

 

*What is a jury consultant?

A jury consultant:

A jury consultant is an expert hired by an attorney to help the attorney pick a jury favorable to his side. The jury consultant helps the attorney with questions to ask potential jurors and also helps to create a profile of the type of juror the consultant believes would be most favorable to the attorney’s client. A jury consultant also counsels the attorney on how to present the case, and how to conduct himself or herself in court.

 

 

 

Jury image courtroom

 

 

 

*In Piper’s case, how many appeals are permitted for someone on death row?

The number of appeals:

There are two avenues to appeal a conviction. One is simply a direct appeal of the jury verdict. Here, you’re saying the judge committed errors in allowing prejudicial evidence that should not have been allowed into the record. Or you can argue the judge erroneously disallowed evidence that would have been favorable to the defendant that should have been allowed. Another branch of appeal is done through the Post-Conviction Relief Act, which allows a defendant to petition for a new trial based upon newly-discovered evidence.

 

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr image

 

 

 

William L. Myers, Jr. is the No. 6 best-selling author for Amazon Kindle in 2017 for his debut novel, A Criminal Defense. That was the first in what has become the Philadelphia Legal Series. The third book in that series, A Killers Alibi debuts February 19, 2019.

A Killer’s Alibi has had rave early reviews including New York Times Bestselling author, Bill Lasher—

“William Myers’ riveting new novel is not just a crackerjack legal thriller, it is a wrenching portrayal of a whole range of farther-daughter relations, showing how they can damage, how they can nourish, how they go dangerously off track. A story not to be missed.”

Born in 1958 into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers started his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defense firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So, with his career on the fast track to success–he gave it all up and started his own firm. It was time to start fighting for the common guy.

That was twenty-five years ago and since then, he has focused on representing railroad employees and other honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has represented thousands of clients in his tenure and has become a highly-regarded litigation attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr. Discusses the Killer’s Alibi

A Killers Alibi image

 

 

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters–some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Audible

 

 

 

 

Got an alibit image dark background.jpeg

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr. discusses the third installment of the Philadelphia Legal series, A Killer’s Alibi.

 

 

*What kind of person is attorney Mick McFarland that made him your protagonist?

            In crafting Mick, I set out to build a character who is basically a good guy, who wants right to prevail over wrong, but who, in the pursuit of right, will do whatever is necessary, including things that are wrong. As an attorney, Mick is a thinker, a planner, and very Machiavellian. He enjoys the “game” and excels at it.

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Mick is undertaking?

            Mick is in an interesting situation. His client is Philly crime lord Jimmy Nunzio—a man used to calling the shots. A Machiavellian manipulator. A man like Mick himself in many ways. What this means for Mick is that he isn’t the alpha dog as he is with most of his clients, and he finds himself having to dance with Jimmy Nunzio, for control of the case.

 

 

 

Lawyer with justice sign in background.jpeg

 

 

 

*What is your method of creating characters and how do you bring out their flaws?

            I create characters by outlining them only in very general terms and then placing them into the story—putting them under stress–and watching how their flaws appear. I remember reading once that stress and conflict reveal character; you only find out core character by putting someone to the test. So, I make sure that my protagonists, and my antagonists, too, are under real threat.

 

 

 

*Tell us about Mick’s wife, Piper.

            Piper’s evolution is an interesting one. When I wrote, “A Criminal Defense,” the first book in “The Philadelphia Legal Series,” I started out with the plan simply to make a two-dimensional “wife” character for the main protagonist, Mick. But whenever I wrote Piper into a scene, she asked for more, she told me “I have more to contribute here.” By the end of the book, Piper was a fully-formed character with her own agenda, secrets and fears. In “A Killer’s Alibi,” Piper plays an even more important role—as a driving force behind one of the two main plot lines. She really comes into her own. (And, spoiler alert, in the fourth book, which I’m finishing now (in which Mick is imprisoned on charges or murder), Piper becomes THE driving force in Mick’s defense team.

 

 

 

Lawyer woman image.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*Is the innocence project she’s involved with commonplace in law firms today? Would her official position be an investigative attorney?

            Most law firms which do innocence project work do so under the auspices of, for example, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Larger law firms do have pro bono practices and some have attorneys devoted solely to pro bono work.

 

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Piper is taking?

            Piper is leading the charge on behalf of Darlene Dowd, a young woman who was convicted of killing her sexually abusive father fifteen years earlier. Piper learns there is exculpatory evidence the jury never heard and she has to go on a hunting expedition to find the woman who has that evidence. But the woman has secrets of her own, and has been in hiding for years. It takes all of Piper’s will and resourcefulness to win the woman over and see that Darlene gets a fair hearing in court. But nothing is black and white in my books and Piper has to pay a price.

 

 

 

lawyer files image with glasses.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*Now for one of my favorite questions. What is justice?

            Justice is like pornography: difficult to define but you know it when you see it.  When something happens to a character (good or bad) and it feels right to you, that’s justice.  The character, of course, may disagree with you— fictional characters, like real people, believe they are good guys, whether they are or aren’t. Along these lines, a word to the wise: if someday you find yourself standing before St. Peter, the one thing you should never say is I want what’s coming to me.

 

 

 

Justice lady statue at sunrise image.jpeg

 

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr image

 

 

William L. Myers, Jr. is the No. 6 best-selling author for Amazon Kindle in 2017 for his debut novel, A Criminal Defense. That was the first in what has become the Philadelphia Legal Series. The third book in that series, A Killers Alibi debuts February 19, 2019.
A Killer’s Alibi has had rave early reviews including New York Times Bestselling author, Bill Lasher—

“William Myers’ riveting new novel is not just a crackerjack legal thriller, it is a wrenching portrayal of a whole range of farther-daughter relations, showing how they can damage, how they can nourish, how they go dangerously off track. A story not to be missed.”

Born in 1958 into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers started his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defense firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So, with his career on the fast track to success–he gave it all up and started his own firm. It was time to start fighting for the common guy.

That was twenty-five years ago and since then, he has focused on representing railroad employees and other honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has represented thousands of clients in his tenure and has become a highly-regarded litigation attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading, Storytelling, and Deep Point of View

Guy reading book

 

 

What am I reading? 

 

Gray Mountain John Grisham

 

 

John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

It’s no surprise that international sensation John Grisham is a grand storyteller, but now I know why. Gray Mountain is about the story of a big city lawyer, Samantha Kofer, who ends up in a small time town of Brady, Virginia. Everything she worked for is nearly gone when her law firm folds under stressful circumstances of a recession. Now forced to work for free under limitations of her employer, she has to go up against big time coal mining companies in the middle of nowhere.

Right away I was drawn into the point of view and mindset of Samantha Kofer as she navigates life after the big city. Storytelling is all about people in the midst of challenging situations. This is her story. Really looking forward to the rest of the book!

 

 

What am I anticipating next?

 

 

Killing Season image

 

 

Let it bleed. Watch it burn.

The first shot punches through the windshield of an SUV. A head shot. The driver’s death is instantaneous.

By the time Special Agent Violet Darger arrives in Atlanta, the city teeters toward panic. The vacant streets and restaurants paint an eerie picture. No one dares to venture out.

A killer walks among them. A shadow. And the public cowers just the way he wants them to.

A sniper along I-20 kills eight and causes a 36 car pileup. The next morning, the same individual stalks through a grocery store parking lot with a handgun, taking out six innocent shoppers along with the store’s front window before fleeing without a trace.

Once more Agent Darger must identify with a murderer, must stare into the darkest recesses of mankind to anticipate his next move. Putting herself in his head may be the only way to stop him. But what hatred drives a man to such desperate, violent acts? What damage? And what price must one pay to invite that chaos inside themselves?

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

I just finished the first book, Dead End Girl and LOVED IT.  There are good writers, great writers, and those who bring you so deep into the point of view their characters are indelibly impressed upon you. The Violet Darger FBI series by L.T. Vargus & Tim McBain is of the latter category. The prose is quite remarkable. The ability to capture a scene so well it invokes physical reactions in the reader as its replayed in 3D.

I’ve really been enjoying the deep point of view of characters recently. Listened to the audiobook of Dead End Girl so I feel like I know Protagonist Violet Darger. Seeing her reactions, fears, vulnerabilities, strength, secrets, family, history was quite the ride. Now I’m definitely looking forward to book 2! The Killing Season A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller.

 

 

 

Get It green push button

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Siegel Discusses Justice & His Legal Thriller Series

 

©Michael Paras Photography (973) 476-3988

 

 

Andy Siegel maintains a special commitment to representing survivors of traumatic brain injury in his practice of law. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. His many trial successes have regularly placed those outcomes among the “Top 100 Verdicts” reported in the state annually. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law School, he now lives outside of the greater NYC area. 

 

Andy Siegel is also the author of several adventurous legal thrillers, three of which are newly released today.

 

 

NellyEltonJenna

 

 

 

A Time with the Author

 

 

In your bio you twice mention your “sense of justice.” What does that mean, and how does it affect your work as a lawyer and a novelist?

 

My sense of justice is an internal feeling I get when my hard-fought legal efforts have resulted in achieving an outcome I know to be more than fair and reasonable. And … the resolution leaves my client with an impression of satisfactory closure. As a novelist, I create good versus evil and/or David versus Goliath scenarios in my stories. So I believe a sense of justice is attained for my eponymous character when the readers find themselves viewing Tug Wyler as an ambulance chaser they can root for.

 

 

 

Lady justice image

 

 

 

What is the civil justice system?

The best and only game in town. Where people can come under one roof and address real grievances in a civilized way, judged by members of their own community. I’ve never considered any area of law other than personal injury, embracing the fact that the media likes to poke fun at guys like me. Any related scene you’ve ever viewed in a movie or on television will show a guy in a neck brace, representing a scammer of the system. I get it and appreciate its humor too. I mean, just look at the home page of my andysiegel.com website. It reads: “Finally, an ambulance chaser you can root for …”

 

But I specialize in injury cases involving traumatic brain insult. My commitment to these individuals extends beyond the courthouse walls, as I sit on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. I represent real people whose lives, and those of their families’ lives, have been tragically altered in a nanosecond of negligent conduct. I try to make life easier for those folks who—through no fault of their own face a future long in challenges. For some, that challenge is just getting out of bed in the morning.

 

 

You strike me as a natural storyteller. Name the similarities of trials, cases, and victims to storytelling.

Each has a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s that simple. But, if you’re going to be a storytelling novelist, you also need an audience. In court, my audience is captive, with a court officer keeping them in that jury box until their service is over.

 

 

 

Whats your story image

 

 

 

You stated “Justice is something you shouldn’t have to compete for, … but it is.” In light of this statement, what are the flaws of the adversarial nature of the justice system?

The flaws are not in the system per se but rather in the manner in which an injured individual selects and hires their lawyer. People spend hours and hours researching what car they’re going to buy, but that same person will hire any accident lawyer upon the recommendation of a friend—or even a friend of a friend—without doing any due diligence. The fact of the matter is, not every lawyer has the requisite knowledge and experience to handle cases of significant proportion. Especially when it comes to traumatic brain injury (TBI), an area I have a compassionate interest in.

And I’m not the “right guy” for every TBI survivor with a lawsuit. There has to be a particular connection between the attorney and the client in these matters for things to be holistic. For a greater understanding of the message I’m hoping to share here visit: http://tbihelpline.com/traumatic-brain-injury-lawyer-new-york/, which memorializes a lecture I gave at the annual conference of the Brain Injury Association of New York State called the“Dos and Don’ts of Hiring a TBI Lawyer.”

And what I mean by “justice is something you shouldn’t have to compete for” is that your case will only be as good as the lawyer you hire. If the other side has a better lawyer, then you may lose that competition for justice.

 

 

 

Who is Tug Wyler?

 

Part me, part my alter ego. But you knew that already. However, I live in the real world and not a fictional one, so I’m unable to follow Tug Wyler’s model as he goes about representing his clients in such an antic, creative, and risk-taking way.

 

 

What motivates him?

 

What keeps Tug digging deeper and deeper into the circumstances giving rise to his legal retention is his compulsion, like mine, to make the system work for the injured victim, an outcome the big insurance companies vigorously resist. Please remember, as I always do, that there’s no one type of victim. We’re all vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

Gavel image

 

 

 

Do you have any other creative ideas for books besides the Tug Wyler series?

Easiest question of the bunch. No. Every single word in the Tug Wyler Mystery Series is derived from, inspired by, and influenced by each and every legal case I’ve handled over the years. I write from a true insider’s perspective. So, I’m not very confident that I could write an engaging book outside of this series. I have written a screenplay though …

 

 

 

 

Justice blue icon image

 

 

 

 

How did you go from “not knowing what you wanted to do” to Brooklyn Law School?

 

My college roommate made a very compelling argument in support, stating, “Hey, let’s go to law school. Let’s be lawyers, get a JD degree. Knowledge is power. Power is king, and we’ll command respect from our peers. Respect.”

Sounded good to me. My only plan at that moment was a decision whether to get a Domilise’s hot sausage po’boy or to go to the Camellia Grill for a piece of pecan pie. I recall being stretched out on our disgusting couch, sore from lacrosse practice, thinking how I needed to investigate this lawyer thing a bit more, already knowing exactly who I needed to speak to: my childhood next-door neighbor Jack B. Weinstein, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson.

As I grew up, Jack had taught me a lot of useful stuff over the years—how to change a flat tire on my bike, how to bait a hook and scale a fish, and how to use a lock wrench, among many other things. One day on college break, I walked down his driveway. He gave me his patented smile and said, “Back from New Orleans. Great, here.” He handed me a potato sack and a broomstick. Jack, for certain, was the only person in Great Neck, Long Island, who owned a potato sack.

Anyway, he led me to his fenced-in garden, which was on a narrow tract of land between the Long Island Sound and the Library Pond, where I asked what the sack and the stick were for. He responded with a pointed finger. What I saw was a gaggle of Canadian geese swimming in the Library Pond.

“And?” was my next question, which led to his second finger point. A gosling was stuck in his garden, trying to get out by repeatedly attempting to jump through one of the square openings in the wire fence. Unfortunately the little guy was too big to get through, and, with each jump, he scraped the top of his head on the wire, which wound was now bloody and deep. “Jack, why don’t I just pick him up and put him over?”

He responded, “Go stand in front of the fence, and, when I pick up that chick, you ward off mama goose with the stick and the sack.”

I gave him a curious look, which was met with a You’ll understand in a moment expression. The one thing I knew about Jack was that he was always right, so I didn’t question him and took my position.

Jack asked, “Ready?”I nodded, and, when he went to pick up the tiny frightened chick, it began squeaking some alarm call. This cry for help caused mama goose to take off like a high-powered fighter seaplane on a dive-bombing mission, flying straight at my head at forty miles per hour. Barely fending her off, I screamed, “What the fuck, Jack?” realizing I had just sworn at the highest and most prestigious federal judge in New York State. Turning back to him, I saw that little ball of fluff was in the exact same place it had been before the mom took her run at me. Unnerved, I asked, “What’s up?” Jack responded, “I couldn’t get a grip on him.” Now I’m not one to take issue with a famous federal judge—and famous he was—but I did strongly urge him to get a hold next round, which didn’t happen until after four more attempts and close encounters with a highly protective and dangerous mama goose.

Recovering from our confrontation, we found ourselves sitting on a bench, facing the Long Island Sound, next to his rowboat. Over the years, Jack and I had had several conversations on this bench, but this was the most important one. I said, “Jack, I’m thinking of going to law school. Why’d you go?”

He responded, “I didn’t know what to do next.” That was good enough for me. He added, “I’d be happy to write a recommendation but don’t apply to Columbia Law School.”

I said, “Thanks, but why not Columbia?” He didn’t hesitate. “Because you’ll get in, but you’re not qualified.” He of course was right again.

Long story short, my roommate didn’t show up for the LSAT test or apply to law school, but I owe him dearly for that “knowledge is power” speech, for that conversation propelled me to go to law school. I will add that I love what I do.

 

 

 

NellyEltonJenna

 

 

ANDY SIEGEL

Amazon | Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Review: The Advocate’s Daughter by Anthony Franze

The Advocates Daughter image

 

 

A Washington, D.C. lawyer and a frequent major media commentator on the Supreme Court, Anthony Franze delivers a high-stakes story of family, power, loss and revenge set within the insular world of the highest court of our country.

Among Washington D.C. power players, everyone has secrets they desperately want to keep hidden, including Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer. Sean transformed his misspent youth into a model adulthood, and now has one of the most respected legal careers in the country. But just as he learns he’s on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, his daughter, Abby, a talented and dedicated law student, goes missing. Abby’s lifeless body is soon found in the library of the Supreme Court, and her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, a law clerk at the high court, is immediately arrested. The ensuing media frenzy leads to allegations that Malik’s arrest was racially motivated, sparking a national controversy.

While the Serrat family works through their grief, Sean begins to suspect the authorities arrested the wrong person. Delving into the mysteries of his daughter’s last days, Sean stumbles over secrets within his own family as well as the lies of some of the most powerful people in the country. People who will stop at nothing to ensure that Sean never exposes the truth.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered metallic typeset

 

 

I’ve been on a legal thriller kick recently.  Not sure if you’ve heard of Anthony Franze, a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice in a Washington, D.C. law firm, but he write’s a great book. From beginning to end, I peeled the pages in great suspense to find out what happened. A Supreme Court nominee is set to make history with the “cat in the bag”…Well, until he discovers his daughter is found dead the Supreme Court library. As he sets out to find the truth behind her murder, the plot unravels along with everything else in his life. Great book!

 

 

 

Five Gold Stars

 

 

 

 

Anthony Franze image

 

 

ANTHONY FRANZE is a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, and a critically acclaimed thriller writer with novels set in the nation’s highest court. Franze has been a commentator on legal and Supreme Court issues for The New Republic, Bloomberg, National Law Journal, and other major media outlets. He is a board member and a Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization. Franze lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. Learn more at www.anthonyfranzebooks.com

 

 

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Justice image cartoon