Alan’s Interview with Simon Barrett of Blogger News Network

Posted on 11.12.07 4:05AM 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

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