Today, I’m very pleased to have Andrew Gordon visiting with us.
Write What You Know – Really?
The old saying, ‘write what you know,’ sound good on paper, but what if your life is boring? Should you write about ‘boring?’ Granted, my life isn’t boring but it’s not all that different from everyone else’s so in a sense, it would be a boring read.
But law enforcement characters seem to excite readers of many stripes and especially in romance books. I work in law enforcement, and I can tell you the glamour and shine you see on television is nothing like the real thing. Sure there are some hot cops, I’ve seen and worked with a few, but no grass is every quite as green as it is in fiction.
I did try my hand at a legal story. It’s posted on Gay Authors for free. The Trial Of Jordan Colmar was a companion story to a much much, much, longer story – too long probably – Second Shot. It is not a romance, not a m/m story, not sci-fi or fantasy. It my an attempt at a courtroom story. It is written from the perspective of the prosecutor and follows him and his team during the trial of a very rich defendant who gay bashed someone in a small college town. [So I guess that semi sorta qualifies it as a ‘gay’ story.]
Having been a prosecutor for almost fifteen years, and a public defender for seven years before that, I tried to make it as true to life as I could, without being boring. It might still be boring, I don’t know. But what you see on TV is so far from really happens. Granted, time is a huge issue. How do you put an entire case, from investigation, interrogation, trial and verdict in fifty minutes? Hell, I’ve been in hearings where we can’t get through a preliminary argument in less than fifty minutes. An entire trial? Fuggedaboudit!
Seriously, in a halfway-complicated case, you couldn’t do closing arguments in less than an hour; two is probably more realistic. And if the trial lasts for days, do you think any lawyer is going to talk about one point and then sit down? Makes for great drama I suppose but it’s not realistic.
In The Trial Of Jordan Colmar, I tried to take snippets of each phase: openings, government’s case, the defense’s case, closings and verdict. For those interested, I warn you, it is NOT edited professionally, so there are going to be mistakes. Also, although I think it’s a stand-alone story, to fully appreciate the background, you probably need to read the much longer Second Shot.
The other side of law enforcement is the police. I tried to write about a bit about how police officers work in my upcoming novel Purpose that is due for a late May, early June release. In Purpose, the main character is a vigilante of sorts. He is the human host of a spirit of vengeance. As you can image, dead bodies, even dead thug bodies, would be a concern for the police. One of the main secondary characters is a police detective with the violent crimes unit. He is not one of the m/m characters, but he is fairly essential to the story.
In portraying the detective, I drew on my interaction with detectives in DC – since the story is set in DC it made perfect sense. Here again, reality might not be as exciting as needed for fiction, so I might have taken a wee bit of an artistic license here and there. That said, most of the places and procedures are fairly close to what actually happens.
Don’t get me wrong; I see the allure of a legal drama. I love being in trial. Yes it’s a ton of work, and you wouldn’t believe how exhausting a day of trial can be, but it’s still a bit of a rush. Yeah, I know how geeky that sounds, but dorky sports metaphors side, when the trial starts and you’re prepared and ready, you get locked in a zone. I think writers know exactly what I mean. When inspiration strikes and your fingers are flying across the keyboard trying desperately to keep up with the rush of words you want – need – to get down, you know what being ‘locked into it’ feels like.
To leave you with an anecdote of how much in the zone you can get during a trial, let me tell you about my first trial, lo these twenty plus years ago when I was a public defender. I was ready, really ready, for trial. I had my file organized, my witnesses prepped, my closing, my opening, my questions were all written out and waiting for me to use. So when the government rested, the judge turns to me and asks, “Defense, do you have a motion?” And me, all locked and loaded and ready to put on my killer case answered, “No Your Honor, we’re ready to put on our case.”
Thankfully Judge Ott was a kind man – kind to all who weren’t convicted criminals that is – and took pity on me. “Do you want to make a motion for Judgement of Acquittal?” Now, every defense attorney knows, you always at least ask that the court rule as a matter of law, the government failed to make it’s case. It almost never succeeds because the standard is, ‘if I believe everything the government witnesses have said, and drawing all inferences in favor of the government, is there enough to convict?’
Think about it. The standard boils down to, ‘if I accept everything the government said as the truth, is there enough to convict.’ What prosecutor would go forward if there weren’t witnesses to say the defendant did it? So it’s an almost impossible standard.
But I realized I was supposed to make the argument so I said the magic words, “I move for Judgment of Acquittal.”
Sometimes it pays to breath a little when you’re in the zone.
The Last Grand Master their very survival.
Champion of the Gods: Book One:
In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity.
But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell’s mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.
4 thoughts on “Please welcome Andrew Gordon”
Interesting post! You mean it isn’t like Law and Order?
It is fun to speculate on how “real” to make it. Most jobs are tedious, and most shows cut that part out. While you want it to feel realistic and researched, you also don’t want to bore readers. Thanks for making me think about this today!
As much as I tried to make the real less boring, it’s still a far far cry from TV. I’m not sure where they get their ideas from but certainly not from the courtroom. 😛
Thanks for stopping by Sklyar!
Very interesting!I think every job has a certain level of repetitiveness and aspects which are boring or tedious, even the more flamboyant professions such as acting or singing. I mean, how many times to they have to rehearse for that one moment in a scene, or that one song at a concert???
Thanks for educating me a little about law and its enforcement – beleive it or not, you managed to make it entertaining!
PS: I’ve started Last Grand Master!
lol Lily, well I suspect it is easier to make the attempt more entertaining than the actual finished product. I don’t think my job is boring per se, but it’s certainly not as flashy and fun as they make it seem like on TV.
Hope you like The Last Grand Master.
And woo hop, it’s almost March 6th 😛
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