Thanks for visiting my website, and thanks even more for your interest in my work.
The Usual Background Stuff
I grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey, which is about an hour outside of New York City. I graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. and M.A. in politics, and from there went directly on to law school at the University of Virginia.
After law school, I joined the litigation department of a large New York City law firm, and after a few more stops, am currently the head of the litigation department of Pavia & Harcourt LLP, which is located in midtown Manhattan. Pavia & Harcourt recently received some fame because it is the law firm where Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor practiced before she was appointed to the bench.
Writing: How it Started
I have always been interested in writing, and yet, oddly enough, never took any courses in college (or after) and actually never seriously tried to write until a few years ago. I showed a first draft of my work to a friend whose brother is an agent for cookbooks, and he suggested I retain a private editor, Ed Stackler.
Meeting Ed was the turning point. He was the first person who thought I had publishable talent, and working with him was like taking every creative writing course I missed in college. Of equal importance, when my first novel was finished, Ed hooked me up with my agent, Scott Miller of Trident Publishing.
And, even though Scott is a superb agent, my first novel didn't sell. There was interest among a few houses, but no offers.
So, back to the drawing board. For my next work I decided to try something different from a legal thriller, and I wrote a political one, focusing on the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice.
A year and a half later, I excitedly sent it to Scott, my agent. He said that I shouldn't even send it out to publishers because it would squander the good will I'd established based on my first effort. He didn't think that it was necessarily bad, but suggested that I stick to what I knew bestNew York City legal dramas.
A Conflict of Interest
Fast forward another eighteen months (but it actually didn't go by that quickly) and I finished A Conflict of Interest. Simon & Schuster's Gallery imprint bought it, which enabled me to meet Ed Schlesinger (what are the odds of having two Ed S's as editors?). Like my other Ed S., Ed Schlesinger made key changes to A Conflict of Interest, which made it better.
Having a book published was truly a dream come true. And then I learned that there were a lot of perks to being a published author, not the least of which was emails from readers!
A Conflict of Interest sold well in all formats, but was particularly successful on Audible, where it went to number 1 in the country!
I remember seeing the best seller list with my name above The Hunger Games, Steven King's 11-22-1963 and the Walter Isaacson book on Steve Jobs and wondering if there was some mistake in my computer.
The icing on the cake was when Suspense Magazine voted A Conflict of Interest one of the best books of 2011!
A Case of Redemption
Almost two years to the day that A Conflict of Interest was published, A Case of Redemption came out. During the writing process, I called the book Legally Dead—after the rapper character, and my family still refers to it as that. (The publisher wanted to change the title, although truth be told, I still think Legally Dead was a better title for the book.) Like A Conflict of Interest, A Case of Redemption had a great run on Audible, reaching number 2 in the country (and I'm sure that it was only the misfortune of coming out on the same day as Dan Brown's Inferno that kept it off the top spot). It received a bunch of awards too, most notably as a finalist for the ABA's Silver Gavel Award, in which it was the only nominee in the literature category.
Fast-forward another two years, and on April 14, 2015, Losing Faith was published. In Losing Faith, I returned to the world of Cromwell Altman featured in A Conflict of Interest, but this time with the focus on the firm's chairman, Aaron Littman. The story concerns Aaron's newest client—Nicolai Garkov—the most reviled figure in America. Garkov is accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia, and being the financier behind a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students, but he is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won't do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith—the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputations, but quite possibly end their careers.
Garkov has made his move. Now it's Aaron and Faith's turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them—or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth.
The Girl From Home
The Girl From Home was published on April 5, 2016. The book is a departure for me in two significant ways-it does not involve a lawyer-protagonist and it takes place largely outside of New York City, in East Carlisle, New Jersey, which is a fictionalization of my own hometown of East Brunswick. I was very pleased with the way it turned out, and it garnered some of the best critical claim of all my books.
Dead Certain will be published on June 1, 2017. It is the first of a two-book deal I have with Thomas & Mercer, the mystery and thriller division of Amazon. Dead Certain my most ambitious novel to date, as it really is a novel-within-a novel. The story concerns two sisters-Charlotte and Ella Broden. Eagle—and who are the children of F. Clinton Broden, a top tier criminal defense attorney who appears in A Conflict of Interest and Losing Faith. Charlotte has just had a novel accepted for publication when she goes mysteriously missing. Her older sister, Ella, is a former prosecutor desperate to find her sister, but all she has to go on is the manuscript that is purportedly a work a fiction, but certain characters bear striking resemblance to people they know, including Charlotte's boyfriend. The book explores the meaning of family and whether we really know the people closest to us. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing Dead Certain is that it allowed me to answer perhaps the most common question I get from readers—Is anything in the books true? In Dead Certain, that's the central question facing Ella Broden. Is her sister's book really fiction?
I usually begin working on the next book when the most recent one is in the editing process, which means that for about six months, I'm working on two books at the same time. Right now, that means I'm writing a book that I'm now calling Never Goodbye. It is a sequel to Dead Certain, in that it picks up six months after Dead Certain ends. I could tell you more, but I don't want to reveal any spoilers about Dead Certain.
As always, stay tuned and I'll post more information about Never Goodbye as soon as I know it.
Articles I've Written
Fifth Amendment Right Against Self-Incrimination (December 2016)
Using Song Lyrics in Your Novel (August 2016)
The Story Behind Losing Faith (April 2016)
A Guest Post at Lori's Reading Corner (April 2016)
Thoughts About My Second Novel (May 2013)
A Tip for the First Time Novelist (June 2011)