PAUL LEVINE: TRIAL LAWYERS ARE STORYTELLERS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Paul Levine’s new thriller Bum Rap was officially released on July 1. The novel found its place among the Amazon Top 10 ranks few weeks before the premiere and even reached Kindle №1 book. Our next guest is former lawyer, who is well known with his Jake Lassiter and Solomon vs. Lord series. Lets welcome Mr. Paul Levine.
– Paul, what is your next book Bum Rap about?
– BUM RAP is a legal thriller bringing together ex-football player turned trial lawyer Jake Lassiter with squabbling law partners (and lovers) Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. Just as Lassiter is ready to hang up his shingle for good, he gets a frantic call from Victoria. Solomon is charged with killing a South Beach club owner and the only witness who can clear him — a Russian bar-girl — has disappeared. It’s going to be a brutal case, and they need the hardest hitting lawyer in Miami. As Lassiter likes to say: “Law is a contact sport. Buckle your chinstrap.”
– How did you decide to write the story?
– It just seemed natural to bring together these characters who’ve been trying murder cases separately in Miami for years. And I knew that Solomon and Lassiter would detest each other. That makes the lawyer-client relationship a lot more interesting. After all, “conflict” is the heart of drama.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Outlining the plot. I wanted no wasted words, no side excursions. Pace, pace, pace! That’s what’s taped above my computer in my study.
– Tell us something more about your main character Jake Lassiter? Is he close to someone from your real life?
– I started life as a sports writer, covering Penn State football. I love sports! I got to know a lot of college and professional football players and coaches. It’s a natural environment for me. So when I created the Jake Lassiter character in the first book, To Speak for the Dead, it made sense that he’d be a former pro football player who went to night law school. It took him four tries to pass the Florida Bar exam. He’s smart, but not in a “book-learning” way. He’s solid and tough and believes in justice and brings some of his football mentality to the courtroom.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– About two months of research and outlining and about six months of writing.
– What is your experience with Kindle First Choice program? How did you enter and what are the benefits from it for an author?
– Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon company, had already purchased BUM RAP when I got the call that it had been chosen for “Kindle First.” That’s a tremendous boost for any book. Prime members can download the book for free one month before official publication, and as a result, the book began life on July 1 with more than 400 reviews. (I’m pleased to say that nearly 90% are four and five stars). The book is the number one bestseller in the “legal thriller” genre. So, yes, there are benefits!
– How came the idea for Solomon vs. Lord series?
– I loved Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” series with bickering husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles. Then came Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in “Moonlighting” on television. It’s a set-up that allows for humor and drama, and I love it.
– Who are you (Would you describe yourself with few sentences)?
– I’m a former sports writer. A former trial lawyer. A former television writer. A former law professor. Obviously, I cannot hold a job.
– What are your writing habits?
– Up early, review the previous day’s work, and try to pound out eight to ten very good, very slick, very fun pages by mid to late afternoon.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Speaking about BUM RAP to Land of Books! And everyone else in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, Latin America, South America who wants to talk.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– That’s under wraps for now. But expect to see Lassiter/Solomon/Lord together again.
– You are a former lawyer, how the profession helps you in your writing?
– Trial lawyers are storytellers. Hopefully, the stories are true. Knowing how to spin a tale is something useful to the lawyer and essential to the writer.
– Was it tough to switch from full time lawyer to full time writer?
– I practiced law for 17 years. Quitting to write fulltime was the best decision of my life.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– In its starred review, Booklist calls Bum Rap “a delicious mix of thriller and comic crime novel.” Do you agree? I like that word “delicious!”
– What’s next for Paul Levine?
– Making the perfect gin and tonic. I find that making the ice cubes out of tonic water helps.
Take a look at his books: