I moved to Cherry Hill NJ. and attended Cherry Hill West High, and later attended Rutgers College.I followed that up with a masters degree in teaching. I taught high school in Glen Ridge(the alma mater of Tom Cruise) and subsequently Cherry Hill East(alma mater of Orel Hersheiser). I created a new course called Human behavior patterns which was a combo of social psychology and psychology.We did a lot of role playing and it was very successful. My students told me I was wasting my talents and should go to law school. On a whim, I took the law exams and decided to give it a go. I loved teaching but couldn’t imagine teaching the same thing over and over for 30 years.
I left teaching and went to law school and developed a love for criminal law.I was a prosecuting attorney for 30 years in Camden County N.J.where I handled literally thousands of cases including 25 murder trials.I worked in criminal defense for six years in the firm of Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman in Haddon Heights.
Now I am currently semi-retired. I know both sides of the criminal system and respect the roles both play.
This is my first novel and it combines my love of baseball and my passion for the criminal legal process.
The impetus for the novel was the increasing violence in sports and specifically retaliation in baseball. I began to wonder whether there would ever be an incident so tragic in its consequences that it would lead to a criminal charge. In my book I examine how that process would occur, whether it would be warranted, and whether it would effect the game of baseball.
I spend my time with my wife Robin in NJ and Sarasota Florida. Together we have three lovely and loving daughters.
What inspires you to write?
Since this was my first effort, I can only say that I was urged by my step-daughter to write a novel.(do you get the sense that I am influenced in life decisions by others?) I felt there were too many lawyers who had written books and that I wouldn’t be able to come up with something different. Then I got this idea from watching a baseball game.I watched a Phillies and Mets game in 2010 and saw the Mets’ reaction to a take-out slide by Chase Utley of the Phillies towards Rueben Tejada the Mets shorstop. There had been bad blood between the two teams since 2007. I began to fear for Utley and the genesis for my novel soon followed.
What would happen in today’s society if a manager ordered his pitcher to intentionally try to disable an opposing batter with a pitch? What if the pitch turned into a lethal bean ball?
Would the victim’s family or the press demand a criminal investigation? If so, what would be the appropriate charge?
If there were criminal charges, what impact would that have for the way the game of baseball is played?
Would pitchers be fearful of throwing high and inside pitches? Would they fear that a prosecutor would be watching over their shoulder? Would baseball fans believe it was just part of the game or would the public see the bean ball as retaliation and no different from the motive in any criminal case?These questions are debated and vetted in my novel A Pitch for Justice
Tell us about your writing process.
Once I had my idea, I read a few books for background material on the subject of the unwritten code of baseball, a nonfiction book about the only fatality during a major league game, some articles about retaliation in sports, and spoke with a couple of doctors for medical advice. I had never written before, except for legal briefs, so I wrote paragraphs or even pages outlining the characters,the plot. I knew where I was headed because the book also involves the legal process. I wrote all of these ideas and thoughts on a yellow legal pad.
I wasn’t overly interested in character development because my book was based more on the themes of the psychology of professional sports, and the line over which the codes of baseball go too far and the criminal justice system takes over.
The beauty of publishing an e-book is that you can change it even after it is published. I changed one leading character a great deal. I even changed the ending because initial reviews said they really enjoyed the book but were disappointed in the ending. I am happy with the current one and so have the readers.
Once I began to write, it just poured out of me like I was possessed.I wrote the first version in three months. I felt like I knew the story so well that I wasn’t going to worry about great prose. I just told a darn good yarn. After rejecting an offer from a small publisher, I rewrote a subplot and published.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have enough neurotic tendencies without talking to my characters. If I listened to them, I’d check myself into a hospital. Some of my characters are like myself or people I know so I can kind of recreate what a conversation would be like based on my life’s experience. The answer is no-I don’t listen.But I can empathize with their plight and that allows me to talk to them.
What advice would you give other writers?
The most rewarding aspect of the process is the actual writing of your story. Once you have done the background, and the path of the story, just let it flow.Worry about editing and grammar later. I loved the writing experience and was so proud that I actually wrote a book; a book that I as well as many others have enjoyed so much.
There are expected to be 500,000 self-published titles alone in 2014 so be realistic about your goals. You can’t expect to be an overnight sensation. If you have low expectations you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the writing experience itself. Then the hard work begins. Then you have to market it.Even if you are published, you will have to do a large measure of promotion. So write what you enjoy and don’t worry about commercial success.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I sent the usual query letters to agents and they all said that, unless you have previously published, they can’t take on a new project. I then approached a dozen or so small publishers with no success save one . That company sent me a contract (no up front money) and the admonition that I’d need to do a lot of the marketing. The problem for me was that I reserached the company and found a couple of internet articles that indicated the publisher wasn’t paying royalties. Of course, I didn’t sign the contract.
I then decided that the best course was to publish through Amazon and Smashwords. In reality the royalties from Amazo are better than many publishers. I am happy that I self-published.( Although, if I get an offer from Random House, I’ll certainly change course-yeah right).
These days it’s rare to get a traditional publishing offer. So, do it yourself or use novels52 or any other reputable business that helps self-publishers get their work out to the public.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
To me, it is obviously self-publishing and e-books that will tgradually become the major source of books on the market. They make up 25% of the e-book market already. I have read that there has been a 65% increas in books published since 2011.Most of those are from self-publishing.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, All of the above 🙂
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
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