I must start this interview by saying I've gotten to know Marcia better over the last week, and she is one great lady. She's down to earth, funny, and very generous. I'd like to thank her for taking the time to stop by.
Marcia Clark, a former prosecutor who gained fame as the head prosecutor in the OJ Simpson murder case, added the title of author to her resume several years ago. She writes a series of successful books based on the character, Rachel Knight, who happens to be a Deputy District Attorney. I've had the pleasure of getting hooked. I recommend you begin this series with the first one, "Guilt by Association"
What made you want to become a writer? Where did the idea of Rachel Knight come from?
I’ve always wanted to write fiction, and specifically crime fiction, ever since I was a kid and found myself addicted to Nancy Drew. But I didn’t have the confidence to take the plunge and try to make a living at it. In hindsight, I think my addiction to crime stories probably had something to do with my decision to practice criminal law. I knew that was what I’d do from the first month in law school. Then I joined the D.A.’s office and well, you know…
I didn’t revisit my childhood dream of becoming a novelist until I’d done some writing for television. I think that experience gave me the confidence to give it a shot.
The idea of Rachel Knight came straight out of my life as a prosecutor. The life of a real prosecutor, the one I had before the insanity of the Simpson trial. I wanted to relive – and share with everyone – the incredible experience of being a prosecutor in the Special Trials Unit in Los Angeles.
How long did it take you to write the first book?
Where do you get your character inspirations come from?
Taking those traits into account I…well, wait, true confession time: there was another consideration that came into the mix. My own fantasy. I am not a big fan of housework and cooking, so I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if she lived in a five star hotel?” That seemed like a realistic fit for Rachel, given her “issues” and so I found a way for Rachel to live at the Biltmore Hotel, which is a landmark hotel in downtown L.A., close to the courthouse. In the second book, “Guilt by Degrees,” I gave Rachel an upgrade to a suite, so she could have her best friends, Detective Bailey Keller and fellow prosecutor, Toni LaCollette, crash with her after a night of partying.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, do you have some tips to break the spell?
Okay, I’m back. Do I ever have writer’s block? Every single day. I don’t have any magical answers for how to break through. My way is simple and painful: I make myself sit in front of the computer and bang out every stupid idea that comes to mind until something decent falls out. I won’t necessarily stay with whatever I land on, but that “system” seems to get the juices flowing. Eventually.
Can you tell us about any challenges getting your first book published?
Do you have any advice or suggestions for aspiring writers?
What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not busy?
Mainly read. Though lately I’ve also discovered the joys of Twitter. When marketing director Miriam Parker first signed me up and gave me tweeting tips, I didn’t really get it. I just couldn’t figure out what I’d have to say that would be interesting to anyone else. Eventually, I decided not to worry about that. Laughing. And it’s been great fun meeting people there, hearing what they’re doing, what they’re thinking. In many ways, it’s what we get from reading books: the ability to experience things vicariously and discover new ways of seeing the world from our living room.
What project are you working on these days?
I just turned in my third book, “Killer Ambition.” I’m starting work on a short story, due out next spring, and my fourth book. And TNT has just optioned my books for a one hour drama series – very exciting! I’m attached as an Executive Producer and Dee Johnson, Executive Producer and Showrunner is writing the pilot script even as we speak.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your attention?
Trinity Game,” comes out July 31st, and I got to read an advance copy. It’s sensational! I loved it!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for reading my books, and for your support. And I’d love to hear from you on Twitter (thatmarciaclark) and Facebook (thatmarciaclark), so come on over any time! And Dawn, thank you for this interview!