Alan’s Interview on Inside Scoop Live

[ No Comments ] Posted on 01.19.09 under Interviews

Podcast with Juanita Watson – Listen here

Alan’s Interview on Blogger News Network

[ No Comments ] Posted on 11.25.08 under Interviews

Podcast with Simon Barrett – Listen here

Alan’s Interview with Norm Goldman of Book Pleasures

[ No Comments ] Posted on 03.29.08 under Interviews

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Norm: How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Alan: I started out doing precocious, irritating social commentary for my high school paper. Many years later, after songwriting, journalism and law careers (and finally teaching myself to type properly), I decided to start writing the kind of stuff I’d always liked to read. With my blog and the books (number two is half done), I’m happy to be finding my own voice as a (hopefully) cuddly curmudgeon. What keeps me going is knowing there are stories worth telling around every corner. The trick is finding time to tell them without going broke.

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Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write Landmark Status? As a follow up, how did you know when your book was finished?

Alan: I had a picture in my mind of Benjy literally running into Delia in the breakdown lane. After a while, the places where they were going (and why) started to come into focus, and I created a fairly detailed outline, with bits of dialogue and text. It took a few months to get up the courage to start writing the thing, one word, one sentence, and one page at a time, but I got through the first draft quickly. I wanted it to hang together like a performance from one moment in time, and I was afraid to destroy any individuality it might possess with excessive manicuring. I knew it was done when I blew everything up. But months later, I realized it wasn’t and wrote a new ending.

Read the entire interview at

Alan’s Interview with Juanita Watson of Reader Views

[ No Comments ] Posted on 02.03.08 under Interviews

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Juanita: You bring into this book glimpses of the historical origins of Miami and the ethnic influence in the politics of this city. Would you elaborate, and did this take any additional research?

Alan: In a way, the ethnic aspect was the easy part, because living in Miami is like taking a lab course in community. Tribal politics is still ascendant here, and the clash of cultures is everywhere, splattered across the local newspapers and television screens. I kept finding the characters going to places that demanded I tell their stories, too. So I did. The internet made it possible to research almost anything on the fly, from the history of the not so escape-proof prison atop the Dade County Courthouse (which offers cold comfort to a claustrophobic reporter trying to get down the stairs when the elevator won’t come), to the smallest details, like what brand of cigarettes Frank Sinatra was bumming for the ride back from the Deauville after card sharps Moe and Izzy Fine cleaned him out one night fifty years ago.

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Juanita: Alan, because this novel is considered satire, would you tell us about the deeper messages you were hoping to convey through this story?

Alan: There’s a persistent subtext about dislocation and trying to fit in, trying to find your place in a new or changing place, particularly for Delia as a Cuban-American who grew up in New Jersey and can’t seem to get both feet down in Miami, even though she’s in the bosom of her family. It’s not easy for Walter, either, as Miami morphs around him into something he barely recognizes. They all have immigrant stories in this new city where even the Native Americans are from somewhere else, but only Delia, and to a lesser extent, Benjy and Raj, are thinking about what it all means.

Read the entire interview at Reader Views

Alan’s Interview with Simon Barrett of Blogger News Network

[ No Comments ] Posted on 11.12.07 under Interviews

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Simon: What is it with attorneys, are you all closet authors? In the past year I have read at least a dozen books by people in the profession. I have come to the conclusion that every lawyer must have a book in them.

Alan: Jeez, are there that many? Seriously, though, lawyers have to write to eat, and they’re trained to turn “fact patterns” into stories. Many of those stories are stranger than fiction, and they do make you yearn to come up with your own. Storytelling is crucial in litigation, where winning requires framing compelling themes, keeping witnesses in character, and distilling every legal argument to the pithiest possible paragraph. One classmate used to say he aimed for hearing the imagined words, “so, f___ you,” after every sentence of written argument. The unifying experience of all law students is fatigue, so I’m not surprised he’s forgotten he said it.

Simon: Where did the idea for Landmark Status come from?

Alan: Miami’s a frontier town, where outsiders easily become insiders, bellying up to the bar, tipping back a mojito and quickly learning there’s no secret handshake. I’d never been in such a place, and my legal training had dropped me off in its inner sanctum. There, I worked and tangled with kaleidoscopically colorful movers and shakers who were busy with Miami’s principal business, buying and selling the same dirt over and over again. I also got involved in litigating some of Miami’s more infamous Ponzi schemes. Having become a fan of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry, I wanted to do my part to honor this unique, subtropical nuthouse. It just had to involve a mad scramble for a piece of property, set against a backdrop of investment fraud. And it had to have a lawyer in the middle, doing real lawyering, citing real cases.

Simon: How long did it take you to bring this project to fruition?

Alan: Five years. It just seems longer.

Simon: I was very impressed with Landmark Status, I love the dark humor. Are you happy with the way it turned out?

Alan: First of all, thank you for the kind words. It’s always hard to know if the material is working! And yes, I’m very happy with the way the book turned out. Dark humor seems to grow wild here, a place so bright and beautiful it takes your breath away, even when random catastrophe is poised to strike, well, randomly. Miami is a city built by people on the run, from the cold, from persecution or personal dead ends, for whom making it to (and in) this magic city tends to foster a sort of self-absorbed sunstroke. It’s a narcissistic sense of safety and triumph you can feel merely by turning your face to the sun, until reality’s sudden impact shatters your daydream. This happens a lot in Landmark Status, starting with the wrecking ball in the first scene.

Read the entire interview at Blogger News Network