Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog Tour Q&A with Paul Levine

I'm very excited to have author Paul Levine stop by P.S. I Love Books while on his blog tour!

PAUL LEVINE worked as a newspaper reporter, a law professor and a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time novelist. Obviously, he cannot hold a job. Paul claims that writing fiction comes naturally: he told whoppers for many years in his legal briefs. His books have been translated into 23 languages, none of which he can read. In Germany, for reasons he does not understand, he is published under the name “Polly Levine.”

Welcome Paul! I appreciate you taking the time out to visit P.S. I Love Books.

My pleasure! Fire when ready.

Can you tell us a little bit about Flesh and Bones, your latest re-release in the Jake Lassiter series?

Flesh & Bones” deals with the very real issue of “recovered memories.” In the opening scene, fashion model Chrissy Bernhardt shoots her wealthy father. She claims to have recently recovered repressed memories of having been sexually abused by him as a child. Hired to defend her, Jake Lassiter begins to doubt his client, even as he falls for her.

Which of the characters did you enjoy working with the most?

Jake Lassiter, that linebacker-turned-lawyer, is my favorite character I’ve ever written. He’s a brew-and-burger guy in a Chardonnay and paté world, a tough guy with a tender heart. He’s honest but cynical. Looking at the sign over the judge’s bench that says, “We who labor here seek only the truth,” Lassiter adds his own footnote: “Subject to the truth being concealed by lying witnesses, distorted by sleazy lawyers, and excluded by inept judges.” He’s been known to turn down a frivolous case: “I could have used the work, but I prefer cases I believe in. Best is to have a client you like, a cause that is just, and a check that doesn’t bounce. Two out of three, and you’re ahead of the game.”

Here’s his self-description, or rather the description I gave him: “I don’t wear an earring or a gold chain. I don’t belong to a private club or a mystic cult. I don’t smoke fancy cigars, and the next time some overweight stock broker in suspenders and French cuffs drops ashes on me, I’m gonna jam the stinking stogie down his throat.”

All of the proceeds of the ebook release of Flesh and Bones are going to the Four Diamonds Fund charity, can you tell us a little bit about that charity? Does it hold any personal meaning to you?

A few years ago, one of my dearest friends, the godfather of my son, lost his daughter Margaux to Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare but vicious bone cancer. Another friend, a well-known author, has lost both a child and a grandchild to the disease. The survival rate for Ewing’s sarcoma that metastasizes is a disheartening 10 per cent.

Ten per cent!

The Four Diamonds Fund pays for cancer treatment of children at Hershey Children’s Hospital. Penn State students have adopted the Four Diamonds Fund as their cause and have contributed an astonishing $78 million through their annual dance marathon, which goes by the slogan: “For the Kids.” This year’s event raised more than $9 million alone. So, I’ve adopted that as my cause, too.

What do you think of the ebook cover?

I’d better like it; I designed it!

If the Jake Lassiter series were made into a movie who would be your ideal cast for the main characters?

Twenty-one years ago, when my first novel, “To Speak for the Dead”, was published, I thought Tom Selleck would be just right as Jake. He’s a little old for the role, as written. I thought Robert Loggia would be a good Doc Charlie Riggs, and low and behold, he was cast in the television movie, “Lassiter: Justice on the Bayou,” in 1995. Gerald McRaney, who wasn’t quite right, played Lassiter.

If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author (dead or alive) what would it be about and who would you choose?

I’d take Charles Dickens and we’d re-write “A Tale of Two Cities.” I think the opening line should be: “It was the best of times. On the other hand, it wasn’t so great.”

If you didn’t have a passion for writing books what do you think you’d be doing as a career?

I’d still be trying cases as a Miami lawyer and padding my expense account.

I’m always looking for books to add to my ginormous TBR (to be read) pile. What books are you currently reading or have read recently? Any good recommendations?

Wake Up Dead” by Roger Smith
Over Exposure” by James W. Hall
The Lock Artist” by Steve Hamilton

What are some of your favorite things to do when given a break from the writing life and other work-related things?

I follow Penn State football, swim laps, walk my mutt in the hills above Los Angeles, and generally stay out of trouble.

Are you currently working on any projects that we may see from you in the future?

Lassiter,” a new hardcover from Bantam, will be out September 13. In this one, Jake might have been the last person to see a missing young woman alive. He’s got to find her or find out what happened in a string of violent events that lead to a murder trial.

Thank you so much for stopping by Paul! Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Please visit my website at http://www.paul-levine.com/

And thanks!


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