Unlike Charlie Rose, I can never seem to get my guests to sit for a three-hour chat. Which is unfortunate because we’ve got enough questions to last all day for today’s celebrity author and Dream Team of One, Paul Levine.
You no doubt know Paul as the author of 16 books, including 3 stand alone thrillers, 8 in the Jake Lassiter series, and 4 in the Solomon v. Lord series, and his latest caper, Paydirt.
Perhaps you don’t know that Paul Levine, recovering from knee surgery and walking with a cane, served as Jack Reacher’s defense attorney extraordinaire, and in a feat never before attempted or accomplished by any living lawyer, his client was acquitted by four juries at once. I know because I was there.
Diane Capri: How about it, Paul? After that amazing legal success, did you get your own reality TV show?
Paul Levine: *Laughs* I wish! I was already writing for TV in addition to my novels, as you know, but no one wanted to put me in front of the camera.
Diane Capri: But I remember you left Florida when you got heavily involved with the hit TV show, JAG, wasn’t it? And a few others?
Paul Levine: JAG was a lot of fun. High pressure, but we lawyer-writers thrive on that, as you well know. Co-creating the U.S. Supreme Court drama called First Monday with James Garner and Joe Mantegna was as close to reality TV as I came.
Diane Capri: What did you learn about writing while you were working with Hollywood?
Paul Levine: Screenwriting improved my dialogue and made it snappier. It didn’t increase my speed. It takes me longer to write something decent now than it did 15 years ago. But Elmore Leonard is still doing it at age 85, so I’ve got a few good decades left.
Diane Capri: You recently entered independent publishing in a big way with the reissue of your out of print Jake Lassiter novels first. Tell us a bit about that.
Paul Levine: Like you, I didn’t think about indie publishing until the past couple of years. My backlist Lassiter books had been out of print for a decade and in the Summer of 2010, there was no reason not to try offering them as e-books. It was great when Lassiter fans bought them again, and even more fun when a whole new group of readers discovered Lassiter for the first time. I know we’ve discussed this and you feel the same way about your Willa Carson books.
Diane Capri: Exactly. It’s great when new readers breathe new life into books we worked so hard to write. While your Lassiter e-books were selling well, did you continue writing for traditional publishing?
Paul Levine: I wrote Lassiter, which came out in hardcover. It’s the eighth book in that series, but the first one since 1997.
Diane Capri: Count me among one of the early Lassiter fans. Tell us a little bit about Jake. Is he still drinking Grolsh?
Paul Levine: *Laughs* Not only is Lassiter drinking Grolsh, but I am, too. Jake lives in Coconut Grove and Key Largo, Florida. He grew up down there. Tough guy. Played a little football, went to night law school and took the bar a few times before he passed. He has a few clients, handles a few problems between beers and football games.
Diane Capri: What about your other backlist books?
Paul Levine: The reception we got for the Lassiter series inspired me to buy back the rights to half a dozen of my books that were still in print to publish as e-books.
Diane Capri: Which books are those? And when will we be able to buy them?
Paul Levine: I bought back rights to all four of the Solomon v. Lord books that were optioned by CBS but never picked up; Illegal, a stand alone set in California; and then Lassiter, the eighth book in that series. Our plan is to have them published in April.
Diane Capri: This month you published a Kindle exclusive e-book, Paydirt. The book description seems a little different from other books you’ve written. Is it?
Paul Levine: Paydirt is a caper novel. It’s about down and out bookie’s attempt to fix the Super Bowl. I had a lot of fun writing it and readers are enjoying it.
Diane Capri: Now, seriously. Here you are leaving the courtroom with your client. I know Ali Karim called you silvery-tounged, but this is total fiction, right? How could you get Jack Reacher acquitted four times in one trial?
Paul Levine: You should know it’s all about the witness, Diane, and mine must have been amazing. All I can say is lots of people find out they Don’t Know Jack.
Diane Capri: That is so true! *laughs* What are you writing now?
Paul Levine: I’m working on a new Lassiter novel and a new Solomon v. Lord novel, too. Both set in Miami.
Diane Capri: Hmmm. You’re not working in LA television studios every day any more, writing a couple of novels set in Miami. Let’s see, I seem to recall your son lives here, too, doesn’t he? *grins* You’re moving back to Miami, aren’t you?
Paul Levine: Well, my daughter lives in New York, and we’ve been doing this triangle thing across the country for a while, which is no fun. I’d say it’s likely I’ll be back in Miami fairly soon, if I can persuade Niki and Taxi.
Diane Capri: Who??
Paul Levine: They look like the inspiration for Solomon v. Lord, don’t they?
Do you have a favorite Paul Levine novel? Which one? Why?
totally new author to me, Diane. I respect that he’s jumping into indie in a big way. I’ll look him up. Great interview by the way. You have a way of making all these folks seem so human. well done.
Glad you enjoyed the interview, Louise, and that you’re finding new authors this way. Very cool! Paul will be happy to hear you’re checking him out!
Great to hear that Paul is planning more Lassiter and Solomon v Lord works. I only found his work recently when he went to ebooks.
Jim, I’m sure Paul will be thrilled to know you’ve discovered his work now that he’s an indie. That’s the thing we hope will happen when we publish e-books — that readers like you will find them and enjoy them. I know he’s working hard on the new books. Thanks for stopping by.
Paul Levine is a new author for me, Diane. (I know, where have I been?) Fun interview! That pic of Taxi and Nikki is adorable, and they deserve a series of their own.
This is great, Pat. I’m not sure who’s the boss here, but I’m thinking Taxi, aren’t you? 🙂
Well Diane, according to Nikki’s eyes, I agree with you. I’m thinking Taxi’s the boss. 🙂
When you said you were doing an interview with Paul Levine, his name did sound familiar to me. But it must be because of his work in Hollywood because unfortunately I haven’t read his books. Yet. But I think it’s great that those of you who have a backlist can breathe new life into them by re-releasing them via ebooks! Getting a chance to introduce your work to a new generation of people. That’s exciting!
Great interview Diane. And yes I do see a similarity between you and Charlie Rose. Only he’s a bit taller! LOL! 🙂
One of these days, Charlie will have me on his show, Karen, and we’ll see if he’s taller! LOL!!!
Fascinating interview Diane! Always fun to learn about new (to me) authors!
I started reading Paul’s Lassiter books long before I met Paul, Julie. I enjoyed Lassiter initially because I love the Florida setting and the knight errant…but I’m guessing readers have already figured that out about me, hmmmmm? Thanks for stopping by!
I adore Paul. I’ve read several of his Jack Lassiter novels (love them all, won’t pick a favorite) and have been FB friends with him for a few years. He has some great posts, a lot of them about food and drinking. Hmmm…
Thanks for spotlighting him, Diane! It’s been fun getting to know him a little more.
I’m certain Paul will be pleased to know he’s adored! Thanks for reading!