Since reading Escape Velocity by Susan Wolfe I have exchanged emails with Susan. I appreciate her response. As a practising lawyer I can appreciate the "time" challenges she writes about in her reply. Our exchange follows.
I have been practicing law in Saskatchewan since 1975 and write a book review blog called Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan.
I just read Escape Velocity and greatly enjoyed the book. I would have read it sooner but did not see it in Canadian bookstores. Earlier this year I requested the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto to get me a copy. I believe they got it through your American distributor.
I had previously read and appreciated The Last Billable Hour and hoped you would write more legal mysteries.
I was curious to try to find out why you had not written more books after The Last Billable Hour and went on an online search to find out more about you. My quest proved more difficult than I expected. I did end up writing a pair of posts on my search.
Here are links to my posts concerning your books and yourself:
I would be interested in knowing if you were trying to keep a low profile when I was searching or whether my internet sleuthing skills are simply deficient.
In reading the bio on your website it refers to you bailing on the practice of law and then returning to practice. Could you advise what took you into being a lawyer?
I have found a couple of interviews you have done online since Escape Velocity was published.
In a blog talk radio interview you advised the length of time between your books was a reflection of family financial need sending you back to work as a lawyer and the challenge of balancing “baby, book, law”. I am familiar with that challenge. During most of my legal career I have written a sports column. Writing time was easier to manage for me as it was a weekly column. Late most Sunday evenings while my sons were growing up I would write my column. To have tried to write more would have been impossible.
I expect most writers of legal fiction would have made Georgia a lawyer. I thought you could have written Georgia as a young lawyer instead of a paralegal. Why did you choose to have her a paralegal?
From what I read in one interview the book you are working on at this time is not a legal mystery. I do hope you will consider writing another book featuring Georgia and Ken. I thought they were an amazing legal team.
If you are able to respond and willing I would post this letter and your reply.
All the best.
Thank you for your interest in my second novel, Escape Velocity, and my writing career so far. I will try to answer your recent questions.
After I published The Last Billable Hour in 1989, I found it necessary to return to being a lawyer full-time. We had a second daughter that year, and we needed two incomes to support our family in Silicon Valley, which was fairly expensive even then. I very much wanted to write a second novel as well, and for many years my dilemma (trilemma?) was “Baby, book, law. Baby, book, law.” At one point I decided to go to Starbucks two mornings a week from 5:30 to 7am in order to write, and my 8-year-old daughter came with me to give me support. She would quietly sit and do homework so that I could concentrate. Unfortunately, I became a little frantic after a couple of months, because those writing sessions squeezed the last seconds of free time out my schedule. So I gave up and went back to just “Baby, law.” I do, however, remember those writing sessions with my daughter very fondly.
So I worked full-time and enjoyed my work and then, when our finances permitted, I stopped practicing law entirely and wrote Escape Velocity.
You asked whether I was trying to keep a low profile between my two books. My first answer was no, I was just busy. But may on some level I did want to keep a low profile. It was painful for me not to be writing, and maybe I just didn’t want anyone to remind me what I was missing.
You asked why I became a lawyer. I felt I was a serious person who needed a career, and law was a good choice for me because it involved writing, focused analysis, and justice. I am glad I chose it. I’ve been very happy with my legal career.
You also asked why I made Georgia a paralegal instead of a lawyer. That was strictly dictated by my plot. I needed to have a main character whom other people would underestimate, even forget about, because that allowed her to be a fly on the wall for many very senior meetings she would otherwise not have access to. The executives treated her as invisible. I don’t believe they would have treated even the most junior lawyer in such a dismissive manner. Note, however, that the real hero of the book is Georgia’s boss, Ken Madigan. He is based on a boss I had when I first went in-house, and I dedicated the book to him.
I hope these answers are helpful to you and your blog readers. Please let me know if I can be of further help. It’s always a pleasure to talk about my books.