Scottoline is the author of legal thrillers, which are situated
in Philadelphia. Some titles include: "Rough Justice",
"Courting Trouble" and her latest, "Dead
1) Did you
always want to be a writer, or did you have other plans lined out first?
I was a lawyer before I began writing, and working in a big Philadelphia
law firm. When a divorce coincided with the birth of my daughter, I wanted
to find something that I could do so that I could stay home to raise my
daughter. John Grisham and Scot Turow had just popularized the legal thriller
genre, but it occurred to me that there were no legal thrillers from a
woman's point of view. That is how I got started.
2) You studied English literature. Did you have any favorite
I was actually lucky enough to study under the amazing Phillip Roth, and
he has always been one of my favorites.
3) Later on, you also studied Law. Here in Belgium it's not that
common to study first languages, and then law. How did you come by it?
Actually, in America, it is very popular to study English, including English
literature undergraduate, and then go onto law school.
4) You wrote about 3 years on your first book. Did you find it
easy/difficult to sell it?
I definitely got my fair share of rejections, but I was lucky enough to
find the most wonderful editor in the world at HarperCollins.
5) Do you need to do a lot of research when you are working on
a new book?
I do a lot of research because accuracy is important to me. I read a lot
of books, do a lot of research online, and when necessary, visit people
or places that I will be writing about.
6) Would you advise new authors to look for an agent, or don't
you think it's necessary?
I strongly advise new authors to look for agents. I didn't know anything
about publishing when I first started, but one thing I have learned is
that getting published is hard enough. Without an agent, extremely difficult.
The resource I found most useful was Writer's Market.
7) How do you handle criticism?
As you know, I welcome email, and do my very best to answer everyone.
Sometimes I get a bit backed up when I am on tour or deadline. However,
that opens you up to hearing from people who love your work and those
who don't. I welcome the feedback, because it is a very solitary profession.
What better way to learn how to improve, than to hear it directly from
those who are reading you. Thankfully, there has not been too much criticism,
because it is always hard to hear.
8) Are any of the events/cases in your books based on true events?
My books are completely fictional, although like most authors, I do draw
from my own experiences both personally and professionally. One example
is Mistaken Identity. In the book, Bennie Rosato discovers for the first
time that she has a twin sister. A few years prior to reading that book
I discovered that I have a half-sister when she knocked on my door one
day. She looked so much like me that it was shocking. That inspired Mistaken
Identity (except Bennie's sister is evil, and mine is wonderful,) and
I have continued the story in my new book, Dead Ringer, due out in stores
9) Do you ever intend to write a book that is not based in Philadelphia?
I do think for my next book I will have the characters extend outside
the Philadelphia area for part of the book, but Philly will still be home
for the rest of the book.
10) Who's your own favorite writer in your genre?
not strictly in my genre, I am a big fan of Janet Evanovich. I just read
Michael Crichton's "Prey" which I thought was wonderful, and
I love John Searles, a new gem of an author who wrote "Boy Still