Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was a corporate bankruptcy attorney for over 38 years. I left the law in 2019 to pursue my other interests, one of which is writing. I haven’t looked back. While an attorney, I wrote 2 bankruptcy law books. Since leaving the law, I have written two books – one a memoir “And . . Just Like That” tracing in essays my path into, during, and out of, a life of the law. My latest book just came out – “Fresh Start” a legal thriller starring an African American female bankruptcy attorney – Josephina Jillian Jones – 3J.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Fresh Start” -The book is not based on any clients or cases I had, nor are the characters based on anyone with whom I came into contact during my years. It is totally borne out of the creative side of my mind that for 38 years was waiting to make its appearance. The book is inspired by the what ifs of being an attorney – what if I had a client that committed bankruptcy crimes; what if the client hid assets in Switzerland; and how far would a banker go to catch the client. The book is based on Kansas City where we lived for 28 years. I believe that the great things about Kansas City did inspire me to use it as the backdrop. It is a wonderful and beautifully rich place that doesn’t get its due.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I book minimum writing appointments on my calendar in two hour windows. If I write 10 words in that time period, then so be it. But, usually, I write for more than the two hour appointment because things are flowing. I use outlines and I use Microsoft OneNote to be organized and record my thoughts when I am away from the computer. I try to write 6 days a week and so far, I very much enjoy the process.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love Michael Connelly and David Balducci. I am also a great fan of Earnest Hemingway. They hold some traits in common – economy of words; that writing is all about editing and re-writing; and that the story and the characters are supremely important. A good book cannot survive without both.
What are you working on now?
I am finishing my research for my next book – “Automatic Stay” once again starring 3J. In the new book, we will delve more into 3J’s background and her years growing up in New Orleans.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My website is markshaikenauthor.com. I am employing a number of tools to market the book: getting reviews; ARCs; I have upped my social media presence; book trailers; interviews; podcast interviews; staying in touch with my mailing list; and Amazon ads
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Immerse yourself in the writing process, then be prepared to immerse yourself in the marketing process. Do what you feel comfortable doing in the marketing arena but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be prepared to make some marketing mistakes and just view it as a learning experience.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Mark, you probably thought that writing would be the hard part. It’s not. Marketing is harder.
What are you reading now?
On Target by Mark Greaney and Good Rockin’ Tonight by Colin Escott
What’s next for you as a writer?
Automatic Stay, starring 3J.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Old Man and the Sea; Huck Finn; any Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly; Loose Balls – the history of the ABA