Q: You spent many years as a lawyer before you started writing. How did your first novel come about?
A: One of my law partners complained to me about another partner and asked for my advice. I told him we should write a murder mystery and kill the son-of-a-bitch off in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. So I did.
Q: It seems like so many lawyers become novelists. Is there something about framing a case, and presenting it to a jury, that makes a lawyer especially skilled at effective story-telling?
A: I was a trial lawyer for 28 years. Trying a case is all about telling a story. You need a hook, a compelling protagonist and a narrative that holds together, makes sense and gives the jury a reason to root for your side. Writing a novel requires a lot of the same story-telling skills.
Q: After writing several "Lou Mason" legal thrillers, you shifted gears and began writing about an FBI agent. What prompted the shift?
A: I developed a movement disorder called tics which is similar to Tourette's. It makes me shake, spasm and stutter. I wanted to write about my experience so I created Jack Davis, an FBI agent in his mid-50's and gave him my disorder. I wanted to find out what would happens if he shakes when he should shoot.
Q: "Freaks Must Die" novel is your first foray into the horror genre...was that a challenge for you? How is it different from writing a legal thriller or a crime novel?
A: It was a challenge to get in the horror mindset. Once I integrated that into a crime setting, it felt the same, only bloodier.
Q: This is also the first time you've written for a series that you didn't create. What was that experience like?
It was a great experience. The collaboration with the creators of the series, Lee Goldberg and Bill Rabkin, was a terrific learning experience. Capturing the voice and sensibility of Matt Cahill was a challenge. I felt a real responsibility to stay true to the character and the series.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I'm working on a novel that will be out later this year introducing a new series featuring Alex Stone, a public defender with a "Dexter" sense of justice.