The problem is that I used most of them in my first book.
When I wrote State v. Claus, I sort of took the easy way out. After all, writing a novel was daunting business—no reason to make it harder. So the main character was a lawyer because I know how to be a lawyer. After decades of appearing in court and reading reams of trial transcripts, the courtroom scenes were a snap to write. Deciding what crimes Ralph would be charged with and what the elements were required nothing more than the legal database I use on a daily basis. The dynamics of law firm life were second nature. Even researching details of criminal procedure was easy: I talked to a lawyer I knew whose practice consisted primarily of representing individuals accused of crimes.
I wish the research for the sequel to State v. Claus was a fraction as easy.
A writer’s life is, by definition, solitary. Even those who live with spouses, children, and menageries need to take time apart to write. A few years ago, I attended at talk at R. J. Julia Booksellers by Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. and the mother of five children. She described how she would retreat to the attic to write and how her husband (who, I suspect, may be up for canonization) periodically sent her off to a hotel for a writing weekend while he stayed home with the kids.
Some writers leave home each day because they have day jobs. Poet Wallace Stevens worked as an attorney at a Hartford-based insurance company. Anthony Trollope famously wrote for three hours every morning before heading off to his job at the Post Office where he introduced the red pillar boxes still seen all over Britain. Whether they adored their coworkers or spent the workday waiting for the moment when they could scurry home to peace and quiet, I don’t know. Continue reading →