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Paul Levine Chat Transcript

Paul Levine discussed his exciting new Supreme Court Thriller 9 Scorpions (Pocket Books, 1998). The winner of the John D. MacDonald Award for fiction, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Jake Lassiter series. Scroll down to read the transcript from his live chat.

Moderator: Good evening everyone and welcome to our first Live Event at Writers Write! Tonight we'll be chatting with award winning author Paul Levine, author of the critically acclaimed Jake Lassiter series. To ask a question to Paul anytime during the chat, just type your question in the box and click Ask a Question. Ok, let's get started...hello Paul and welcome to Writers Write! We'll start with some questions from our audience now.

SimonL: Did your legal career help you when writing 9 Scorpions?

PAUL LEVINE: Yes. I have actually practiced before the Supreme Court, so I had some idea of the people and the place. Still, I did a lot of research so that the book would be authentic.

Moderator: 9 Scorpions just came out...can you tell us about the plot?

PAUL LEVINE: A 27 year old female lawyer, gets her dream job. Law clerk on the Supreme Court. Tragically, her past returns to haunt her and she is extorted into corrupting her justice to win a case.

Moderator: How did you get the idea for the book?

PAUL LEVINE: The idea of judicial corruption has always fascinated me. There are many cases of corruption among lower court judges. I wanted to take the same issue to the highest court in the land.

Moderator: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

PAUL LEVINE: Write. Write. Write. Do not talk about writing. Do not join writers groups, have coffee. Just write.

Petra: How did you start out in writing? Did you start with a novel, or have you had smaller publishings prior?

PAUL LEVINE: I never wrote a short story. My first book was "To Speak For The Dead", which was the initial Jake Lassiter book published in 1990.

Moderator: I love Jake Lassiter! Is he coming back?

PAUL LEVINE: Jake is on sabatical. Contrary to rumor, has not been disbarred. He will be back.

Moderator: LOL --we certainly hope not!

CindyL: I love the character of Lisa Fremont. Did you ever know someone like her?

PAUL LEVINE: Lisa comes from a long line of troubled, but dangerous women. Who hasn't known one or two?

Moderator: Do you have a set schedule for writing ?

PAUL LEVINE: Early in the morning until late at night.

ghstwn46aolcom: Do you outline extensively or just plunge in?

PAUL LEVINE: I outline, but then I sometimes depart from the outline because the characters insist that I do.

JoeH: what tips do you have for creating really vibrant characters? Your characters are always so lifelike to me.

PAUL LEVINE: I think of some people I know, combine them with other people I know, and use my imagination to create characters who are more interesting than anyone I know.

Moderator: I know you practiced law for a long time before becoming a novelist. Did you write fiction while you were still practicing law?

PAUL LEVINE: Only in my appellate briefs.

Moderator: LOL -- I'll bet!

SimonL: Have you ever written for television?

PAUL LEVINE: Yes. I write for the CBS show "JAG". Have an episode coming on Nov. 24.

AndyL: Do you have a website? how much do you use the Internet when researching a book?

PAUL LEVINE: I use the net everyday for research. You can find an excerpt from 9 Scorpions at

SimonL: What projects are you working on now?

PAUL LEVINE: I'm working on a book involving a plot to fix the Super Bowl.

SimonL: Are you going to write another Jake Lassitier novel?

PAUL LEVINE: Yes. Jake will return as soon as he sobers up.

CindyB: I liked the handsome, kind of macho Supreme Court justice in 9 Scorpions. Was he based on you at all??

PAUL LEVINE: He is the spitting image of his creator. Actually, no one on the court quite fits the Sam Truitt image, although retired Justice Byron White was a pro-football player.

Moderator: How would you advise an aspiring writer that has to juggle an intense day job?

PAUL LEVINE: That is very difficult. I wrote my first two books while practicing law full time. I did not have a life. All I can say is try to do the best job you can at each one, and hope that your spouse or mate understands why you are exhausted and inattentive.

CindyB: Have you ever thought about writing a romance novel? You've got the love scenes down!

PAUL LEVINE: I think every novel has a romance story in it, or at least most seem to. I don't think I will write a novel that is primarily a love story.

Moderator: Ok, we have time for about one more question...

alanJ: what do you love most about being a novelist?

PAUL LEVINE: I get to work in my underwear. I don't have a boss. I write whatever I want and hope that someone will want to read it.

Moderator: That doesn't seem to be a problem! Paul, thank you so much for coming tonight.

PAUL LEVINE: Thank you all and good night.

Moderator: If you would like to read more about Paul's new book, 9 Scorpions, just click here. Thank you all for coming and we hope to see you at future Live Events!! Goodnight!!

Posted with permission of the publisher.

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