1. Tell us the story behind the story. How did MURDERING LAWYERS come to be?
I had been disappointed by legal thrillers that people recommended to me. I thought they tended to have too much legal talk and courtroom time and not enough real action. Also, most legal thrillers have one or two villains; I thought it appropriate and desirable to have many more villainous lawyer characters than that. So I wrote the legal thriller that I had been wanting to read.
2. What was the most challenging aspect of writing MURDERING LAWYERS?
Worrying about retaliation from evil lawyers. (Alternative more predictable answer: Writing while holding a demanding day job is very tiring and often discouraging.)
3. What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?
Your perception that powerful lawyers run the world, and not in a good way, is true. (Alternative answers: Lawyers ARE interesting, just not when they’re arguing points of law. OR, the only thing more dangerous than hyprocrisy is a strongly held belief.)
4. Describe your background.
During the day (and much of the night since the invention of email) I’m a lawyer for a big insurance company who has worked for big and small law firms. But my first love is creative writing. I have written stories since I was 6, got my first (manual) typewriter when I was 8, wrote my first novel when I was 14, published my first story when I was 20 (in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact).
5. Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?
I primarily write while on the train commuting to and from Manhattan for work; unfortunately, my train ride is only about half an hour each way. I often skip days. I am a big fan of old-fashioned index cards with descriptions of scenes on them as an integral part of the outlining process.
6. What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?
Ebooks have changed my life, for better or worse. Although I am a lifelong slow reader, the ease of buying and storing new ebooks has led me to buy and start books much more impulsively than ever before and has drastically decreased my completion percentage. This makes me understand that there’s more pressure than ever before to put out books that grab readers quickly and never let go.
The last books I finished were Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Allegiant (the third book in the Divergent series) by Veronica Roth. Recent additions to my ereader (my virtual nightstand), many of which I have started to read, include Wool by Hugh Howey, graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, business nonfiction Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It, World War Z by Max Brooks, Bleak House by Charles Dickens, We Are All Weird by Seth Godin, Lost Horizon by James Hilton, Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, and the Veronica Mars novel, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line.
7. Which authors inspire you?
The author who changed my life the most was Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was 8 and not feeling inspired to read much when I happened upon Tarzan of the Apes and A Princess of Mars in my school library. I proceeded to read dozens of Burroughs books in the next couple of years and branched out from there into various types of fantasy, space opera and exotic adventure novels.
My writing idol is Stephen King. He’s a writer’s writer in every respect: creative, ambitious, hard-working, prolific, self-reflective (his non-fiction book On Writing was inspirational) and damn good. He excels equally at character and at plot and forms a unique and worthwhile juncture of high and “low” literary art.
8. What have you learned from this experience?
You have to write what you love or, with all the strikes against you and all novelists, you’ll never get to the finish line. Write a book that you want to read because you’re unlikely to guess right about what other people want to read.
9. What are you working on now?
I’m two-thirds of the way through another novel about a lawyer who faces seemingly insurmountable odds and whose life is in constant danger.
After that, I am seriously considering writing a Young Adult fantasy adventure novel, probably in collaboration with one or both of my daughters.
And, right now, Larry says, “I’ve been having a ball working with the mobile app people at Stratdgi Corp. in creating MURDERING LAWYERS™ the mobile game app. It’s an arcade style 2D shooter in which the player works his or her way up from killing individual corrupt lawyers in self-defense to slaughtering scores of evil robed judges. It’s going to be lots of fun as a stand-alone entertainment and as a companion to the novel. The Apple device version will be available in August 2014 and the Android version shortly thereafter.”