Message From The Author

Author's Message

CRIME AND ROMANCE PAY FOR PROSECUTORS

Lawyers often find success when they turn from legal to literary pursuits, and Michele Martinez, who writes crime novels set amid the privilege and power struggles of New York, is no exception. But the sexual tension in her books has proven just as popular. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Martinez burst onto the fictional scene last year with Most Wanted, which introduced federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas. Now, in The Finishing School (Morrow), Melanie must investigate the suspicious deaths of two girls from an elite private school with the help of sexy cop Dan O'Reilly.

RT: In writing this series, did you want to temper the suspense aspects with romantic elements?

MARTINEZ: I think this gets to the fact that I was a prosecutor in real life. I lived my personal life and my work life simultaneously. I can remember that when I was doing that trial, I was pregnant, or that I worked that case with that really cute agent. I was trying to convey the balance between one's work life and one's personal life. I do find that romance readers and women have responded really powerfully to Dan. I loved him, but I was surprised how much others loved him, to the point where I've had women following me around asking me if he's based on a real guy. And the answer is, he's an amalgamation of many of the guys in law enforcement that I've worked with.

RT: Since leaving the U.S. attorney's office, what do you miss the most?

MARTINEZ: I miss the feeling that I'm doing something that directly impacts the world in a positive way, although I feel that my writing does as well because it gives people pleasure. I also miss the milieu -- the cops, the bad guys. It's
so raw, and there was a feeling of privilege about being part of the inner workings of the government.

RT: Why is it that so many lawyers seem to become successful novelists?

MARTINEZ: I think it has to do with two things. First of all, lawyers are very used to writing clearly and persuasively, and I think that translates well, especially into crime fiction. I also think lawyers are really used to deadline pressure, so they don't have trouble writing books under deadline. To write a series, you have to be able to do that. Having constant deadlines as a lawyer has made that very easy for me.


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