Novel Approach

To read the first chapter of Silent Counsel, click here.

It's not uncommon for a lawyer to try his or her hand at writing a novel--particularly a legal thriller. John Grisham, Scott Turow and David Baldacci, for example, have captivated readers with legal thrillers for years--many of their works even made it onto the big screen. But they are the exception. Lawyers who do give writing a try usually don't see such success.

Q: How long did it take you to write "Silent Counsel"?
A:When people ask me this, my initial response is "about 54 years." But seriously, it took a long time. I was working full time as an attorney, and my life was very full. Writing a novel was something I was trying my hand at--it wasn't my livelihood. No one was depending on it. I would work on it for a while, then it would sit in a drawer for a while. It was a very lengthy process. I finished it about five years ago.

Q: How did you find a publisher?
A:First you need an agent, and I discovered the intricate dance that goes into finding one. You send a query letter and wait six weeks for the agent to write back. If you're lucky, he will ask to see the first three chapters. You send those and wait another six weeks to find out if he wants to read the whole manuscript. If so, you send it and wait for the verdict. The verdict in my case was always, "I really like it, but I am just not 'passionate' about it." But the good news was no agent wrote back and said, "Who are you kidding?" So I was encouraged. But there were still no takers.


Cathleen Flahardy

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