Aside from the fact that his book is a must read, he has some practical pointers on pursuing the ambition to write and be published. Reece covers The Law of Literary Inertia (which cracked me up), Write What You Know – Then Make Stuff Up, Don’t Chase Trends, Embrace the Process, The All-Important First Page, and Develop a Thick Skin. Sounds like he's been there and done that, doesn't it?
Reece calls it his six year struggle.
Scott Turow and John Grisham are a little like the Beatles and Stones of the legal thriller genre. Everything that has come after them tends to be categorized and measured in terms of those two highly successful lawyer-authors. When Turow’s Presumed Innocent was published in 1987, I was a first-year law student at U.S.C. When Grisham’s The Firm was published in 1991, I was a first-year associate at a Los Angeles law firm.
Like many other lawyers of my vintage, I read those two enormously successful (and very different) books and thought, “I’d like to try writing one of those someday.” But it took 12 or so years for me to find the time to make the effort. After all, the demands of practicing law and maintaining a personal life don’t leave a lot of spare time for creative endeavors.
Eventually, though, I did begin writing and in May 2010 my debut legal thriller The Insider was published by Berkley Books, a division of Penguin, as a mass-market paperback. I’d characterize The Insider as more of a “Grisham” than a “Turow” because it’s a fast-paced story of a young lawyer who becomes a pawn in a complex criminal scheme that involves, among other things, Russian mobsters, insider trading and a secret government domestic surveillance program.
While I am but a humble beginning writer, I think I learned a few things in my six-year struggle to complete a novel and get it published. For those of you with a partially completed manuscript in a drawer or a long-postponed goal of writing one, I hope these pointers will make your journey a little shorter and less arduous than mine was.
- The Law of Literary Inertia.
In order to jump-start my literary efforts, I enrolled in a U.C. Berkeley Extension Novel Writing Workshop. The weekly assignments forced me to write regularly, and I enjoyed the process of getting and giving feedback.
At the end of the workshop, I had about fifty pages written and an encouraging evaluation from my teacher. It gave me just enough momentum to continue writing consistently on weekends, early weekday mornings and on the BART train to work. Later, I joined a weekly writers group, which provided the same kind of weekly deadlines and critiques that were so helpful to me early on.
- Write What You Know – Then Make Stuff Up.
Of course, a little legal verisimilitude goes a long way with most readers. If I had stuck to the real-life experiences of a young, workaholic corporate attorney like my protagonist Will Connelly, my thriller would have been about as thrilling as a day spent in a due diligence room reading corporate minutes. To remedy that, my story also includes plenty of deception, betrayal – and a sizable body count.
- Don’t Chase Trends.
- Embrace the Process.
- The All-Important First Page.
- Develop a Thick Skin.
- What some of the lessons you've learned along the way to publication?
The Insider Back Cover:
San Francisco corporate attorney Will Connelly's well-ordered life is shattered when he watches a colleague hurtle to his death outside his office window. Within days, Will is the prime suspect in a murder, the target of an S.E.C. insider trading investigation, and a pawn in a complex criminal scheme involving the Russian mafia and a ruthless terrorist plot. Now, Will must ensure that a deadly enemy doesn't gain access to the nation's most sensitive and confidential information—and the power to do incalculable, irrevocable harm.
Hirsch's fast-paced, film-ready plot and tough, ambitious characters will keep fans of legal thrillers on the edge of their seats."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~Reece Hirsch Facebook
Reece Hirsch's debut legal thriller THE INSIDER was published by Berkley Books in May 2010. He is a partner in the San Francisco office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, specializing in privacy, security and healthcare law. Reece is also a member of the Board of Directors of 826 National, a non-profit organization that conducts writing and literacy programs for young people.
Reece earned his law degree from the University of Southern California and a B.S. degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Prior to law school, Reece worked as a journalist in Atlanta for several years, including a stint as an assistant editor of a business magazine. For three years, he edited and published an arts and entertainment magazine in Atlanta.
In writing THE INSIDER, Reece drew upon his experiences working in law firms and his background in privacy and security law. THE INSIDER touches upon privacy concerns raised by government domestic surveillance in the wake of 9-11 and is based in part on the true story of the Clipper Chip, a National Security Agency encryption program from the mid-Nineties.
Reece lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Kathy and their dog Simon.