Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Author Interview with Paul Levine!

So, my first author interview...Paul Levine...Thanks for taking the time to talking to us....

Q-You were a successful lawyer, so what made you want to be a writer?  Are you still practicing?   Or do you write full time now?

A-I practiced law 17 years in Miami and experienced mid-career burnout.  I’ve written full-time for the last 21 years.

Q-How long did it take you to write your first book?

A-It took a little more than a year to write “To Speak for the Dead” which I wrote while still practicing law.  After then it was 9 months to a year, whether I was doing anything else or not.

Q-How difficult was it to get your first book published?  What challenges did you face?

A-The first challenge was to get an agent.  As it turned out, it only took him 48 hours to get a two-book hardcover/paperback offer from Bantam.

Q-Where do you get your character inspirations from?

A-I wish I knew!  Some just come to me, without warning.  Jake Lassiter, the protagonist of “ToSpeak for the Dead” and seven other novels, is a night-school lawyer who was a second-string linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.  He voices my opinions but he does a lot of stuff I would never do…like punch out a witness in court.

Q-Do you work with an outline or just write?

A-I use a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline so that I know where I’m going.

Q-Do you ever experience writer’s block?  If so, what cure works for you?

A-Basically, when I feel “blocked” (or lazy),  I remind myself that the mortgage is due.

Q-What things do you love & hate about writing?

A-There’s always the question: Do you enjoy writing or having written?  When I was younger, I enjoyed the process perhaps more than I do now.  These days, I enjoy the finished product more than the work to get there.

Q-Do you have any advice and suggestions for aspiring writers?

A-Put your ass in the chair.

Q-How do you market your work?  What avenues have you found work best for your genre?

A-For many years, I just let the publishers do their thing.  Earlier this year, I bought back a bunch of my books that were still in print and now I’m my own publisher on Amazon Kindle with both the “JakeLassiter” series and the “Solomonvs. Lord” series.  I do a lot of promotion on Facebook and various blogs and book sites.

Q-What is your take on the recent upswing of e-books?  Do you think they are the future?

A-The future is now!  Yes.

Q-You wrote many episodes of the television series JAG.  How did you segue into TV?

A-I free-lanced two episodes, which JAG bought, shot and aired back in 1997 and 1998.  In 1999, they offered me a full-time gig on the show, and I took it.  I think writing dialogue for television actually improved the dialogue in my books.

Q-Can you tell us about your latest book?

A-That would be “Lassiter.”  Allow me to quote the flap copy:
Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who disappeared into South Florida’s sex trade. Now he traces her steps and runs head-on into a conspiracy of Miami’s rich and powerful who would do anything to keep the past as silent as the grave. In this tale of redemption and revenge, Edgar-nominated author Paul Levine delivers his most powerful thriller yet.

Jake Lassiter, second-string linebacker turned low-rent lawyer, is cynical about the law, but if you hire him, he’ll take a punch for you . . . and maybe a swing at the prosecutor, too.

Amy Larkin—beautiful, angry, and mysterious—accuses Lassiter of involvement in the disappearance of her sister eighteen years earlier. What does Lassiter know about Krista Larkin, the runaway teen turned porn actress? More than he’s saying.

Seeking to atone for his own past, Lassiter follows the cold trail of the missing Krista and butts head with the powerful men who also knew her: a former porn king turned philanthropist, a slick Cuban-born prosecutor, and an aging mobster.

The evidence leads to a long-ago night of kinky sex, designer drugs—and possible murder. But before Lassiter can nail the truth, a gun goes off, a suspect falls dead, and Lassiter has a murder trial to defend. Will the verdict disclose what happened to Krista? The answer, buried under years of deceit and corruption, is revealed in an explosive courtroom finale, proving that rough justice is better than no justice at all.

Q-What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A-Hike, swim, bike, walk my emotionally challenged dog in the Santa Monica mountains.

THANKS AGAIN, PAUL!!   I can personally recommend the Solomon vs. Lord series...I absolutely LOVE them!!

More info about Paul Levine at http://www.paul-levine.com


  1. This is a great interview with Paul Levine! Love his wit. I also subscribe to his theory on how to write, but I call it BOC - Butt on Chair. Thanks for posting this, I'll pass it on to twitter and facebook. Rita

  2. Dawn, I'm impressed!!! Great interview!

  3. Delightful! Great job and very personable author. Thank you and keep them coming Dawn!

  4. This interview was wonderful -- both the questions and the answers! It was truly an engaging "chat" between authors!

  5. Dawn this was a great interview! I liked the part when Paul said to "put your ass in the chair"! This is classic writing advice yet so dang true! I will have to read and review his book, To Speak for the Dead. Can't wait for you to interview some more authors!

  6. He DOES have wit, doesn't he? lol I was hoping he'd give MORE detail, although I could ask him some follow-up questions someday. I do have other well-known writers waiting in line for interviews, which is wonderful!! For now, I'm concentrating on finishing my thousandth edit! lol

  7. I will start reading one of Paul's books on my Kindle tonight! Good of you to share the interview, Dawn. I guess this is six degrees of separation thing. LOL.......Seriously, good job. Night Vision is free for Kindle owners, I got that one and the sequel I bought. I will borrow one from the Kindle owner's library when I finish these two. Many thanks, furry hugs, and sloppy kisses, Deb

  8. I wish he would write another Solomon vs. Lord book!

  9. Hey Cindy...he has told me he gets a lot of that from his fans, and someday he'll write another one. Believe me, I totally agree!! I absolutely LOVE that series!