Monday, November 5, 2012

Attorney-Client Privilege by Pamela Samuels Young : Interview, Guest Post & Excerpt

 



A brutal murder, missing documents and an unscrupulous opposing counsel lead attorney Vernetta Henderson on a quest for justice-and ultimately-revenge. The hotshot L.A. lawyer takes on a corporation with a long history of discriminating against women. While Vernetta simply wants justice for her clients, the corporation's hired gun wants to win . . . and she doesn't care how. On the home front, Vernetta's infamous sidekick Special has finally found true love. But is the price more than she's willing to pay?


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Show no fear.
That had been my mantra for the past eight days, which was exactly how long I’d been sitting at the defense table in Department 26 of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
At the moment, every eye in this media-infested tinderbox was riveted on my opponent, Girlie Cortez, who was winding down her closing argument.
A salacious mix of Filipino and Caucasian, she was a junior partner at the litigation firm, Donaldson, Watson and Barkley. Petite and slender with dark, ominous eyes, her shiny black hair spilled down her back like a curtain of silk. Born Lourdes Amelia Cortez, Girlie had legally adopted her childhood nickname and wore it like her personal marquee.
Any opponent who judged Girlie based on her feminine appearance would live to regret it. A tigress of a lawyer, she had a reputation for doing whatever it took to win—no matter how unscrupulous, unethical or just plain scandalous. I learned that from personal experience.
The Honorable Rafael Pedrano nodded in my direction as Girlie returned to her seat at the plaintiff’s table. “Ms. Henderson, you may address the jury.”
I slowly stood up, my eyes bright and focused, my stance relaxed.
Show no fear.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” I began with a respectful smile. “As you know, I’m Vernetta Henderson and I represent Lamarr ‘The Hero’ Harrison, the Los Angeles Legends’ star wide receiver.”
At five-eight, I was a great height for commanding attention in a courtroom. My shoulder-length hair was parted on the side and conservatively swept back behind my right ear. My navy blue, pinstriped suit conveyed both confidence and power.
“I’d like to commend Ms. Cortez for that spectacular story she just told you. But this is a court of law. Stories are of no value here. To carry her burden of proof, Ms. Cortez must present you with credible evidence. She hasn’t done that because she doesn’t have any.”
I took a moment to make eye contact with a few of the faces in the jury box. Juror number six, a dental assistant with perfect teeth, gave me an encouraging nod. I was already counting on her vote since I’d caught her giving Lamarr a seductive smile that bordered on flirting.
“There were only two people in that hotel suite on the morning of June twenty-fifth when the plaintiff alleges that my client sexually assaulted her. So only two people—Lamarr and the plaintiff—know what really happened.”
Using her name would make her human. Human was not what I wanted her to be.
“When you head back to the jury room to begin your deliberations, I’d like you to ask yourself one question: Who’s the real player here?”
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Lamarr was sitting up straight, just as I had instructed, his hands clasped on the table in front of him. He was 26 years old, ten years my junior, with a boyish face and deep-set dimples. A tall, sturdy 230 pounds, Lamarr traversed the football field with the speed and grace of a prized race horse.
“My client plays games for a living,” I told the jury. “That’s his job. The plaintiff plays games too. The one game she plays best is manipulation. She manipulated my client and she’s been trying to manipulate all of you by walking into this courtroom day after day with her conservative suits, her mousy demeanor and her crocodile tears. But let me remind you who she really is.”
I took four short steps over to the defense table and pressed a button on my laptop. A life-sized picture of Tonisha filled the screen to the right of the witness box. She was wearing purple eye shadow, ruby red lipstick, and a thick auburn wig that fanned out across her shoulders. Her long legs were shamelessly snaked around a shiny brass pole. She was also butt naked.
Extending my arm, I pointed up at the screen like it was my smoking gun. “That’s the real player in this courtroom.”
Although the jurors had seen this photograph when I cross-examined Tonisha, they still seemed jarred by it. Juror number nine, the computer geek, leaned forward and blushed. Juror number two, the Lutheran minister, averted his eyes.
“The plaintiff,” I continued, “is an admitted sports groupie who was on a mission to hook up with a professional football player—any football player. But Girlie Cortez wants you to believe that the plaintiff only accompanied Lamarr to his suite at the W Hotel so they could talk and get to know each other.”
I dramatically rolled my eyes.
“She wanted to talk? At two-fifteen in the morning? We all know the real reason we’re in this courtroom.”
I raised my left hand and slowly rubbed my thumb back and forth across my fingertips. “So that the plaintiff can collect.” 



Tell us about your current release.
Attorney-Client Privilege is the fourth book in the Vernetta Henderson mystery series. In Attorney-Client Privilege, hot shot L.A. attorney Vernetta squares off against an unscrupulous female lawyer in an explosive sex discrimination case that threatens to bring down a corporation. Meantime, Vernetta’s best friend Special, once again finds herself faced with a personal crises that will make you laugh, cry and root for her until the very end.

 

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I’m not able to write every day because I still practice law. Most of my writing happens during the weekend. I will spend eight hours or more on a Saturday or Sunday glued to my computer. I also try to get in a couple hours of morning writing time before work when I can. My vacation time is usually spent in Palm Springs writing all week.

 

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I’ve been part of a four-member writing group for seven terrific years. We meet once a month and critique each other’s work. I also have a book club or two critique my manuscript before it goes to press.

 

What book are you reading now?
I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. OMG! That book was so good I wish I had written it!

 

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I finished law school in my early thirties, I developed a passion for reading legal thrillers. But I never saw women or people of color depicted as attorneys in any of the books I read. I would close the novels feeling satisfied with the story, but disappointed about the lack of diversity of the characters. One day, I decided that I would write the kind of characters that I wanted to see. In the process, I discovered my passion!

 

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
I’ve had great fan letters and they always warm my heart. But my best praise from a fan wasn’t really a letter. A woman approached me at book signing to tell me how much she enjoyed my books. She explained that she’d recently had back surgery and went on to say that reading my books got her through that very difficult period in her life. That truly made my day!

 

What are your favorite TV shows?

Scandal. That show is hot!

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

I’m currently working on a book that I’m very passionate about. The working title is Anybody’s Daughter and it deals with human trafficking. The research for the book has been heartbreaking and eye-opening. I hope to entertain readers, but also to educate them about this tragedy that is happening in our own communities every single day.

 

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you?

Yes! I frequently pass this advice on to other writers. First, master your craft. Take the time to study writing the same way you would study any other profession. Also, read like a writer. When you read a book you enjoy, study the author’s writing style and the book’s story structure. Ask yourself why the book was a great read.

Second, don’t let rejection keep you from pursuing your dream. Most successful authors experienced years of rejection. John Grisham, for instance, received 45 rejection letters and self-published A Time to Kill because people told him no one wanted to read about lawyers. How wrong they were! So never give up on your dream. 

Do you have a Website or Blog?

Yes to both. My website is www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com





Pursue Your Passion!

by Pamela Samuels Young

People often ask me how I went from attorney to author. Although I majored in journalism in college and spent several years working as a television news writer, I never gave any thought to writing fiction. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and when I finished law school in my early thirties, I developed a passion for reading legal thrillers. Unfortunately, I never saw women or people of color depicted as attorneys in any of the books I read. I would close the novels feeling satisfied with the story, but disappointed about the lack of diversity of the characters. So one day, I decided that I would write a legal thriller with the kind of characters I wanted to see. In the process, I discovered my passion! 

At the time, I was an associate at a large corporate law firm in Los Angeles. Despite the demands of my law practice, I somehow managed to get up at four in the morning to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing before work. I wrote in hotels, in airports, in the office late at night—whenever and wherever I could find the time. I never really had a true passion in my life until I discovered mystery writing. I’m currently practicing law as an in-house employment attorney for a large corporation, yet I’ve still managed to publish five novels over a six year period. Nothing short of passion made that possible.

Whether your dream is to write a novel, start your own business, or go back to school, you can make it happen. Here are some tips that will help you begin your journey.

1. Find Time To Plan Your Passion

With the demands of work, family, church and community activities, you may think you don’t have a spare moment to even think about, much less pursue, your dream career. You’re wrong. More than a few best-selling authors found time to write despite family demands and busy careers. Before they were household names, John Grisham and James Patterson wrote in the mornings before heading off to work. Mary Higgins Clark wrote late at night after putting her five children to sleep. You can do it too!

It won’t be easy, but you can find free time where you least expect it. The next time you’re taking a neighborhood jog or walking on the treadmill, use the time to think about possible locations for the business you’ve dreamed of opening or mull over the plot for that book you’ve wanted to write. Instead of listening to your favorite CD during your morning and evening commute, use the time to work on your business plan. Your lunch break and the two to three hours you spend in front of the television can also be put to good use. With your family’s support, you might even find an evening or two to run off to your local library or a nearby Starbucks for some passion-planning time. Even if it’s only an hour a week, use it.

2. Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

You may not realize it, but you have a multitude of resources all around you—family, friends, colleagues, church members, and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to request an informational interview. If you want to run a bed ‘n breakfast, call up the owners of a similar establishment in another community, invite them to lunch and tap their brain. People love to talk about themselves and many will be flattered that you want to ask them for advice. The Internet is also a valuable resource. You can enter a few key words on Google and YouTube and find loads of helpful resources. Just remember: research, research, research!

3. Join Professional Organizations

It’s a good idea to surround yourself with others who share your interests and passion. There are hundreds of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and realize their business goals. As a writer, I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. I don’t make the meetings on a regular basis, but when I do, I always learn something or make some contact that helps me along in my writing career. No matter what your passion is, there’s bound to be a networking group you can join.

4. Understand That It Won’t Happen Overnight

Unfortunately, creative and entrepreneurial ventures don’t come with the guarantee of a regular paycheck. I assumed that after releasing my first novel, Oprah would call and the rest would be history. That has yet to happen. Somehow, I’m still balancing both my legal practice and my passion: writing legal thrillers. It can sometimes be quite stressful, but each time I release a new book, I’m re-energized and more committed than ever about reaching my goal of becoming a full-time writer. There will no doubt be disappointments when things don’t happen in accordance with your time schedule. Just remain faithful and focused on your goal. It will happen.

5. Ignore The Naysayers

We all know people who believe you should find a good job, work as hard as you can for 30 years, then retire at 65 and enjoy life. For them, the thought of leaving a secure, well-paying position for the uncertainties of entrepreneurial life is unthinkable. That kind of limited thinking won’t help you realize your dream.

You have to decide what you want to do and go for it. And don’t be surprised if you turn out to be your biggest obstacle. When that happens, just look your self-doubt squarely in the face and command it to go away. The same degree of preparation and persistence that helped you land your current position will also help you smoothly transition into your dream career.

So don’t just dream about pursuing your passion, make it happen!




 


Pamela Samuels Young is a Los Angeles attorney and the author of five legal thrillers. She is also on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers. In Pamela’s most recent release, Attorney-Client Privilege, a brutal murder, missing documents and an unscrupulous opposing counsel lead a hotshot L.A. lawyer on a quest for justice—and ultimately—revenge. To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit her website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.
 
 


Monday, November 5


Thursday, November 8

Book reviewed at Diva’s Bookcase

Friday, November 9

Interviewed at Diva’s Bookcase

Friday, November 16

Guest blogging at Darlene’s Book Nook


Pump Up Your Book and Pamela Samuels Young are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD!




Here’s how it works:



Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.
This Kindle Fire promotion will run from September 3 – November 30. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on December 1, 2012.
Each blogger who participates in ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE’S VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR is eligible to enter and win.
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.
If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)gmail.com. What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!







 

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