Jack, Santa Fe New Mexico, Jack Mctaggart discussed on The Joys Of Binge Reading: The Best in Mystery, Romance and Historicals
Before turning your hand to fiction and I'm just wondering how did that transition about what's the some sort of casualness it made you think. I just must try my hand at writing a novel yeah. The catalyst was called a midlife crisis. And what happened was I turn fifty I've been at my fam law firm Whereas partner for twenty five years and I just thought to myself why do I WANNA do with the rest of my life? and I always wanted to write. I'd always been a reader and I bought something I wanted to try my hand dad and I always had this notion that I wanted to live more than one life on this earth and I've been on a particular trajectory for you know fifty years and I thought I'd try something completely different than so. I resigned my law firm partnership my wife did the same. She's also a lawyer and we pulled up stakes. We left La. We moved to Santa Fe New Mexico and I sound started writing. Fantastic just like that. That's amazing so now you've got to rising names that you work on. The CIA graves has written three match. Praise books on the Dick McTaggart crimes theories and then you've also got literary and historical fiction that you're right under the name of see Joseph Grade so I guess those two nine hundred just simply to differentiate those two different John Lewis Ave. Yeah so there's a bit of a back story to that which I'll be happy to tell you. I'm in Santa Fe. Now the year is two thousand six and I'm as I said writing this first novel which was my first Jack McTaggart novel. It was called Hush money and it took me about two years to right. I was really teaching myself how to write a novel and when it was finished I did. What all New Novels do which is to try to find the literary agent in New York and so I sent a query letters various agents in New York and I've received Forum rejection letters back and I probably sent out thirty letters. Probably got back thirty rejections. In the meantime I finished that novel and I'd start on my second novel and the second novel I wrote was something completely radic fan than the first person sort of sunny humorous Lawyer detective novel. Which was the first novel. Hush money the second novel was was based on a true crime That happened in the US in the nineteen thirties. It was a case I just stumbled upon and interested me a lot of research into and so that was calls hard twisted and it was a very different book. Third Person Very Dark Very greedy much more literary and a by two thousand and ten. I had written two novels. I was now four years into this experiment but I still had no agent and no publisher and so what I did was. I entered both of my manuscripts in a writing contest. It was called the southwest writers international writing contest and the year that I entered. There were six hundred and eighty entries in the contest and like a long story. Short hard twisted came in second and hush money came when I yeah so as a result of that I suddenly had a number of Asians contacting me offering to represent me I ended up signing with David Black Asian seeing the work and We sold the first mystery novel. Hush money to Saint Martins minute tar in a multi book deal and then we sold standalone Gritty historical novel to Bloomsbury But they didn't want to use the name Chuck Graves which are used on the first novel Because there was such radically different novels. They'd want there'd be reader confusion so We I didn't WANNA use a pen name. And if the mystery writing didn't work out ended up being you know Joe Schwarz for the rest of my life. So we reached a compromise where we use variations of my name. So that's a long way of saying that my mystery novels are written by Chuck Raves. And my other non mystery novels are under the name. See Joseph Graves remarkable that you could get I and seeking like that after having really not been able to stimulate mattress. That just shows you. That probably didn't even really weighed things. Yeah you know I. It's a really funny business. It's hard to break into and there's there's a big element of luck to it I think there are a lot of the world is full of really talented writers who never got their break and the world is full of really mediocre. Awful sewer are quite successful. That's just the way it is. Yeah so jackass as a lovely character. He's replaceable. He's thought about roguish ref around the edges. My school in the legal formalities. But but he's kind of got a heart of gold. I had the feeling when I was reading. It's almost like a wish fulfillment thing that you wished that no awards and able guys like Jack to make a living. But that doesn't is there any sort of choice in that suspicion? Well you know I. I think the Jack Taggart character probably my fantasy self. Jack Smarter Than Me. Funnier than me and better looking than me but other than that. There's a bit of me in there for sure In the first off. I'm not sure which one you're at but hush money was the first novel to make say because I like. Oh Yeah thank you Well the first novel takes place. He's a he's a a partner he he's he's sort of being tested for partnership At this at this White Shoe Law Firm in Pasadena California. That kind of describes law firm I worked at The fiction law firm was called handler. Grove The real law firm I worked at was called Han and Han in Pasadena so I sorta use my old law firm You know as a model for the setting and you know to a certain extent Jack has made. I find that writing Jack. Mctaggart novels Comes quite naturally to me Writing in the first person handwriting. That sorta breezy voice comes quite naturally to me Whereas when I write the other novels in the third person and try to be more literary I really have to work at it So I'd much rather just spend all my days writing the McTaggart novels but also have this. This notion that I want to be a serious novelist. You know write the great American novel so. I tried to do that when I'm not doing. Jack. That's lovely. Jack is about to become a full book series. I think one of the things I enjoyed about the books is that each one the headquartered interesting backdrop kind of Environment that the story takes place and then you get quite a lot of background information about those environment. So whether it's show drums thing or an upmarket winery or political campaigning. This quite a lot of extra information that comes with the action and the characterization and I wondered if you really did yourself have crystal understanding connections with those words before you write about them with you had to start from scratch and Research Them I. The answer is it was the former so the conceit there is that I try to take Jack and and Plunkett into An alien environment and they can fish out of water. 'cause Jack is real blue collar guy. He didn't grow up with a slipper spoon in his mouth but he finds himself in these Very sort of high end settings as you said in the world of equestrian show jumping or in the World Valley winemaking And as an outsider. He can kind of make fun of Of of those worlds a little bit But in as far as I'm concerned as a writer I am writing sort of what I know so. For example I did belong to an English. Riding Club in Los Angeles Called the Flint Ridge Rock and I am a kind of a wine guy. I you know a lot of wine tourism and in fact now I actually right now. so Those are world that I knew and politics. I was always interested in politics. And what in Pasadena I was the The campaign Treasure and campaign adviser for a friend who who ran for city council successfully so I had some exposure with all those worlds and I thought they were all interesting enough that it would it. Make good settings for Jack and Equity a good foil for the characters he might be in those types of settings. Yeah Yeah so. You've already explained a little bit about how you're trying to lure experienced student or the books. I have seen Refrains to a particular case with the The Weinstein Family Wine Company. You did have a case to yourself. That was relevant to that plotline today. sort of at the beginning of that book. There's there's a story it's not the main story in the book but it's sort of Jack's entry into the Into the case and it's a case in which A wealthy person dies and leaves behind two wives. Okay Jan In the book one of those. Why the person who dies is a film executive? And he you know media mogul and he leaves behind a wife and a mistress. Both of whom claim to be the wife and the mistress sues the life for half of a half of the deceased's estate. And that's how jackets and to Then that whole Napa Valley scene I had a case just like that I had a prominent citizen Client who passed away and behind two wives and That was quite an interesting case and thought that a fun way to sort of kick the call. So yes I have used actual Cases from my practice not too often and never is the main storyline. But I've used them. I had a very interesting Law Practice represented Interesting people including.