Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spotlight on Author Rick Cornell

1.  When did I first realize I want to be a writer?  In 1995 I ended up in the hospital with an undiagnosable ailment.  But one thing that happened was I lost my short-term memory.  When it came back I realized I had been in the middle of a lot of amazing stories (as a criminal and appellate attorney), and I needed to write them down lest I forget them.  So that led to 2 years of writing Volume I of my memoirs.  But I realized a major truth:  I couldn't publish them.  So, that got me going toward writing something publishable.

2.  How long does it take me to write a book?  From word one of the storyboard (where the major creative process occurs) to the end of the first draft, about 4-7 months.  After  that, it depends on how long the self-editing, beta-reading and professional editing process takes.

3.  What is my work schedule like when I'm writing?  I am a criminal appellate and writs attorney by day, an opera singer or author by night.  I write at night when I'm not singing.

4.  What is my interesting writing quirk?  I don't know that I have one.  But all authors are quirky, aren't we?

5.  How do my books get published?  I went through a vanity press (Outskirts Press) on the first one.  I won't do that again.  (I don't discourage writers from doing that - once.  However, you will lose money doing it.)  I think I'll use Createspace for book #2.

6.  Where do I get information or ideas for my books?  My books are legal fiction (mystery and suspense) and I draw from real life cases I have seen and heard about.  But I will use other sources too, such as Google and opinions of beta readers and of course editors.

7.  When did I write my first book?  "I Am That Fool" was released on 2-14-14.  I was 61-years-old at the time.  I am now 63.

8.  What do I like to do when I'm not writing (or lawyering)?  Singing.  I sang small roles (comprimarios) for many years with the Nevada Opera, until the company went dark in 2014.  The opera chorus split from NVO and formed our own entity, "P'Opera!".  I am the President of the organization, and already I have sung a number of solos in the concerts we have performed.  (For more information, go to www.poperanv.org

9.  What does my family think of my writing?  My wife hates it.  My oldest son is my #1 unpaid content editor, and is amazingly perceptive.  My other two kids are essentially neutral.

10.  What was one of the most surprising things I learned in creating my books?  How much I don't know.

11.  How many books have I written and which is my favorite?  I have one book on the market, "I Am That Fool."  I'm very proud of it - I won a Finalist award from the Next Generation Indie Book Award contest for best new novelist, under 80,000 words.  My WIP is entitled "2051", and I intend to release it in 2015.  I like this one even more, but it is a much more difficult story for me to tell for a number of reasons.

12.  What suggestions do I have for you to be a better writer?  a)  Hire the best content editor your money can buy before you submit your book to an agent or self-publish.  And listen to her; chances are excellent that about 90% of what she's telling you is valid. b)  Read Donald Maass' "Writing the Breakout Novel" and/or Stephen King's "On Writing" before you start writing - each time.  c)  Take constructive criticisms from less than 5-star reviews seriously.  Don't debate with the reviewer.  If she didn't get your point, that might be because you didn't explain it clearly enough.

13.  Do I hear from readers much?  All the time.  I will run into people in the store who will say, "Hey!  I read your book!"  Generally they are not saying that to follow up with "And it sucked, big time!"  The comments I've received have been really positive so far!

14.  Do I like to create books for adults?  My books are intended for adults.

15.  What do I think makes a good story? With legal fiction, you have five things going on:  the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge, the defendant on trial and the jury.  Somebody has to be out of balance.  That's when conflict happens, and from that entropy you can create memorable protagonists and antagonists. 

16.  As a child, what did I want to be when I grew up?  When I was 5, I wanted to be a cement truck driver.  When I was 17 my dad asked me what I wanted to do with my life.  I said (in 1969), "Oh, I don't know.  Computers seem to be the big thing these days."  He said, "It's your life; do what you will.  But I always had you pegged as being a lawyer."  I thought about that, and decided Dad was absolutely correct.  How lucky I was to have a father like that!

Ryan Browne, the most successful trial lawyer in his state (purposely unnamed), celebrates a big win at a notorious strip club, The Proud Stallion. There he meets a stripper, Celeste L’Hoir. On his way with Celeste to have sex, while driving drunk, he crashes his car. He is charged with felony d.u.i., which carries 2–20 years in the penitentiary. His wife, Tania, is so angry at his stupidity and attempted adultery that she refuses to post bail for him. Thus, Ryan can’t get out of the putrid county jail. He decides to represent himself, believing that the useless public defender would only sell him down the river. But then, the great unrequited love of Ryan’s life, investigator Jessie Parker, agrees to help Ryan. As Jessie and Ryan investigate the case, they discover a wealth of corruption fueled by an incredible degree of prosecutorial misconduct and malfeasance by Ryan’s personal enemy, prosecutor David Schlegel, and his boss, the District Attorney. But luck is with Ryan, most notably in the form of Judge Laurie Linton, a brilliant, quirky judge who uses her “thinking chair” to figure out the legal solutions to the case. With a confluence of a number of forces – Jessie, Judge Linton, Ryan’s son, Beau, and Ryan’s jail-house friends, Buddy McCall, Rodney, and Unit Sergeant Mullen – Ryan reaches a form of redemption. In the genre of legal thrillers, this one vividly depicts what actually happens in a trial.

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