WELCOME to the newest addition to Murder She Writes. I was thrilled with Allison Leotta agreed to come on board. I’m a fan–of her books and of Allison herself, thrilled to have met her at Thrillerfest and get to know her over and above being an on-line buddy. So PLEASE, give her a big MSW welcome! — The Other Allison
Hello fellow crime fiction junkies! I’m honored to be invited to blog here on Murder She Writes with such a talented and fun group of writers. I understand I’m stepping into the role previously filled by #1 bestselling author Sylvia Day, so I have big literary shoes to fill.
I’ll use this first post to introduce myself. For twelve years, I was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., where I specialized in prosecuting sex crimes, domestic violence, and crimes against children. The job was incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting a sex offender in jail, knowing that your work is helping keep your community safe. I think being a sex-crimes prosecutor is the best legal job in America.
The cases I handled were infused with heartbreak and tragedy – and moments of great courage and heroism, love and healing. There were also flashes of absurdity: a lady who mooned a prosecutor, a witness who brandished his wooden leg while being cross-examined about whether he was an “able-bodied man.” My friends and I would often walk back from the courthouse saying, “Somebody needs to write about this.”
When I got pregnant with my first son, a weird sort of biological clock went off. I realized that my free time was about to become scarce. If I was going to write that book, it was now or never.
I began waking every morning at 5:00 am and writing for two hours before heading to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. (I’ve heard that if you really want to do something, do it first thing in the morning, before you’re tired from your workday and tempted to crash on the couch and watch The Bachelor.) (Actually, I only heard the first part – I just added the clause about The Bachelor.)
After two years, I had my first book, Law of Attraction, a murder mystery stemming from a domestic-violence case. The protagonist was – surprise! – a fictional sex-crimes prosecutor in D.C.
The book was well-received, and I had a great, if somewhat crazy, time juggling the author life with the prosecutor life. I had a second baby in the middle of that. (It’s all kind of a blur now.)
At first, I thought I’d written a single book – but my publisher, Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone, thought I had written the beginning of a series. They asked me to write two more novels featuring the same heroine.
At that point, it became clear that I couldn’t simultaneously be a mother, writer, and prosecutor while getting anything close to enough sleep. I resigned from the USAO and have been writing full time since. I do miss the work and my USAO friends, but feel very lucky to have this chance to follow the writing dream.
My second book, Discretion, was published this July. It’s about a political sex-scandal that ensues after a high-priced escort is killed in a congressman’s office in the U.S. Capitol. Strand Magazine named it one of the top ten books of 2012.
After my kids are tucked into bed, I blog about what TV crime dramas get right and wrong, from my perspective as a former prosecutor. The Huffington Post now carries my weekly recaps of Law & Order: SVU. The American Bar Association named my blog one of America’s best legal blogs, for the last three years. (In fact, they’re holding voting right now . . . if you stop by and vote for me in the “For Fun” category, I’d be most grateful!)
Needless to say, I’m a bit of a crime-fiction junkie. I often blog about how to research crime stories and how to write realistically about crime, and I like discussing real-life legal issues and crime in the news. I’m really looking forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with this community of crime writers and readers.
Thanks very much for having me!