Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Legal Thriller writer Steve Martini. Steve is the author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels, including Shadow of Power, Double Tap, The List, The Judge and Undue Influence, the last two of which were produced as network television mini-series on NBC and CBS. In all he has written seventeen novels, fourteen of them in the “Paul Madriani” series, most have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. Mr. Martini has worked as a newspaper reporter and capital correspondent. He has practiced law in California in both state and federal courts handling civil and criminal matters. You can find Mr. Martini and his books at Stevemartini.com.
I asked Steve where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!) His response was:
My books can be found at books stores across the country, and at bookstores online and in ebook format.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Readers can go to Stevemartini.com to find information on all of the published works as well as background on the author. I am old school and do not use social media a great deal.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from you?
I write what are termed legal thrillers, and though many of the stories take place outside of the courtroom they all have a legal background. My stories, except for three are all part the Paul Madriani series. Madriani is a California criminal defense lawyer located in the San Diego area of Southern California who with his partner Harry Hinds and his sometime investigator Herman Diggs, inhabits a world of suspense and high crimes. The stories while centered in California have also involved far flung areas of the world, places where I have traveled and at times have lived including Costa Rica, Thailand, the American Virgin Islands, Columbia, the environs of Mexico’s Pacific coast as well as the Yucatan Peninsula. I find that the cultural color of vivid foreign locals can often drive a good story. Characters and locales are keys to my writing. My stories have at times been referred to as beach books with riveting plots.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
Of all the characters in my stories the one that was the most intriguing was a Mexican assassin named “Liquida”. He allowed me to dabble in dark humor and tighten the tension of my stories in new and exciting ways. Liquida was part of three book trilogy that included Trader of Secrets, Rule of Nine, and Guardian of Lies, in that order. To a large extent he drove those stories through the suspense that was created when he began to target Madriani, as well as his associates and family members. Many of the books also deal with high tech weaponry, edging toward weapons of mass destruction and the history surrounding some of them. Readers should find this interesting as the stories are well researched in these regards.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write?
Having been a practicing lawyer for a decade or more prior to my first novel it was natural that I should write about what I knew. The Simeon Chamber, my first book was a mystery with a legal backdrop set in the San Francisco Bay area where I was born and lived until I was ten, though I returned to Northern California for college, law school and later to practice law. The cardinal rule is to write about what you know and then rely upon research and travel to extend your grasp of the world and events. My second novel Compelling Evidence was a story set in the courtroom and steeped in the law. It was populated with characters ripped from real life and landed me on the New York Times bestsellers list, the first of many bestselling novels. You learn new techniques and venues for story telling as you write, and it is important not to permit yourself to be boxed into a rigid genre that denies you the ability to tell a good tale. One of my rules is to always maintain flexibility in this regard. If a publisher asks me if I can write a good legal thriller the answer is always yes. Then I write them a good well plotted story with real characters, vivid locales, some realistic legal underpinning and the confidence that when the editor reads the manuscript he will know that readers will not be disappointed.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Writing is a lonely undertaking, especially when it comes to the long form of a novel. It is you, the four walls of the place where you work and the characters that inhabit your story. After nearly three decades of doing this, I can tell you that it takes a toll. You can find yourself talking to yourself. You must also come to terms with the grind of meeting annual deadlines, a book a year, a stress that as you grow older can take a big bite out of your health. Any endeavor involving commercial publishing of popular fiction is not retirement, semi-retirement or any other form of leisure. It is hard work, stressful and at times when deadlines draw near carries its own forms of terror. But if you have a compulsion to express yourself in the written word, and to create your own world, writing is the only medicine that treats the disease.
Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to be with us, Steve.