This is my first novel, a legal suspense set in the cut-throat world of Toronto “big law” – of which I was a part for nearly twenty years. Unlike me, the protagonist is a young comely female junior partner. Due to her inexperience, and circumstance, she gets embroiled in personal and professional misconduct and intrigue… There are many stakes at play. Hopefully, it’s a page-turner!
Tell us about this young protagonist and the characters around her.
Piper Fantouche is surrounded by an array of difficult men, most notably: Jim Watt, managing partner at Piper’s firm. He is a creepy blow-hard with more than professional interest in her. Piper has a boyfriend – Peter, a bit of a lay about who relies on (but may resent) her success. Meanwhile, Detective Mohan Singh, a straight-shooter with a thoughtful side, complicates these relationships, and others, when he becomes involved with the firm and with Piper.
What genre is your novel?
I would call it a “legal suspense” or “corporate intrigue,” if those are genres… More simply, a murder mystery.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Anyone who enjoys a good mystery, particularly to do with professional circumstances. (This isn’t a serial killer stalking alleyways.) Female readers would enjoy the smart and sexy central protagonist, Piper Fantouche – although male readers should as well! The central plot is a fly-on-the-wall look at fraught corporate life in the big city, so anyone interested in those aspects will enjoy the ride.
Sounds very John Grisham – and that’s not a bad thing at all! Have you written any other books? You seemed very careful in describing this as your first novel.
My most popular, and pertinent, book is Lawyers Gone Bad. It is a non-fiction examination of Canadian lawyers who betrayed clients and committed crimes, for reasons of money, sex, or madness.
If we’re not mistaken, that book is traditionally-published. What has been your experience self-publishing Bay Street?
A fascinating challenge! From formatting to marketing, it is a very fulfilling process over which to have control. I have learned much, and hopefully not stumbled too detrimentally along the way. I believe this is the way of the future for authors.
You seem attracted to legal stories. You say you are a lawyer yourself?
My professional career was spent as a lawyer, the majority of which on Bay Street, where I worked on some of the largest corporate cases of that time. I had always wanted to write (more than briefs), so upon retirement from law that’s exactly what I began to do! I am also president of PEN Canada.
Oh wow, that’s impressive. Do you have a website we can check out?
Do you use social media?
Next I return to the fruitful non-fiction field… A book on the topic which is on every Canadian’s lips – corrupt mayors! Coming from Penguin Random House in 2015.