Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My guest is Teresa Burrell. legal suspense author of The Advocate series and her latest release, The Advocate's Ex Parte.  She's talking about her high maintenance character, Sabre Orin Brown and her cohorts and their penchant for wanting to tell their story their way. 
Hi Sia. Thanks so much for having me back here at Over Coffee. 
My pleasure Teresa. 
By the way, I’ll have a medium, decaf, hazelnut mocha with non-fat milk, and extra chocolate. Could you make that extra hot. It cools so quickly. And in a mug, please. I hate drinking coffee from a paper cup. Thanks. 
Decaf, hazelnut...? Right. Decaf?  [Sia smiles graciously and hurries away. What's the point of drinking coffee...sheesh, where is my stash of Ghiradelli...and my chocolate doesn't come in non-fat...what does she think this is? Starbucks? Sheesh.]                                     
Oh wait, that’s not for me.  It’s what Sabre, my character in The Advocate Series, drinks. She’s high maintenance when it comes to ordering drinks or food. Lots of “on the side” stuff.
Ahhh...I see. Tell me about her. 

Sabre knows what she wants. She’s a hard-working, caring juvenile court attorney and advocate for abused children. She takes charge and gets the job done, except when it comes to her love life. Then she’s a mess.

I’m often been asked if the character of Sabre Orin Brown is really me. (Her initials, by the way, are S.O.B.) I can say unequivocally, she is not me. She’s younger, richer, thinner, smarter.... She does, however, have the same job I had in my real life. Of course, I didn't spend my time solving so many murders and getting shot at, as Sabre often does.

I think it is impossible to write without putting some of yourself into your characters, so you will see elements of me in Sabre. I didn't do that intentionally. Sometimes, though, I will put a character trait that is so opposite or so unlike anything I would do, just to give her depth. At least I used to. Now, after five books with Sabre, Bob (Sabre’s best friend and colleague), and JP (her handsome cowboy PI), I don’t have as much leeway. They decide how they’ll act, what they will say, and how they’ll solve their dilemmas. I’m sure you've heard many authors say that before. It certainly is true for me. I’m guided by their personalities and if they do something odd, I think the reader has a right to know why. You would think that would make the writing easier, but in a way it’s harder. Sometimes I have an idea in my mind for certain events to take place and my characters won’t let me. They turn me in a totally different direction.

I spent twelve years practicing law in San Diego Superior Court, Juvenile Division. I loved the work, but it was draining. The background information in my novels and many of the incidents that take place in court in my novels are very true to form. Some of my ideas for my books come from actual cases, but the characters are all fictional. I start with just a single line or event and then create from there.

By the way, Sia, do you have any scones? I love scones with my coffee. So does Sabre.

I no longer practice law. I just write novels now and my life is much simpler, no where near the stress I used to deal with every day. Now, I only stress when I have a deadline for a book release. This last week was pretty crazy getting ready for the launch of The Advocate’s Ex Parte, the fifth book in The Advocate Series. It just came out last Sunday. As you know, it’s a legal suspense mystery series. I write legal suspense because someone once told me if I want to be a writer, I should write what I know. There’s a reason why I don’t write romance!



Attorney Sabre Brown is summoned into Judge Lawrence Mitchell chambers for an ex parte hearing. When the judge attempts to discuss one of her cases, she refuses to listen without proper counsel present. 
Later that evening, Judge Mitchell is murdered.

Sabre’s shock at his death is only surpassed by an attempt on the life of Dr. Carolina Heller, a psychologist she employs on a regular basis. Sabre now fears for her own life. 

Sabre enlists her private eye JP, and they begin to comb and scrutinize her cases, searching for connections between the two crimes. But Sabre’s life is in danger from someone much closer to her. 

Sabre and JP’s roads diverge. While JP infiltrates a twisted world of greed and corruption, Sabre is caught up in a domestic crisis fueled by obsession. As each is forced to fight their own battles, the question soon becomes, can they find a way to save one another?



Teresa Burrell is semi-retired and living in California, Burrell continues to educate groups about social issues impacting children and write novels, many of which are inspired by actual legal cases. She is the author of The Advocate Series which now contains five novels, The Advocate, The Advocate’s Betrayal, The Advocate’s Conviction, The Advocate’s Dilemma and The Advocate’s Ex Parte. 

You can find Teresa: Website, Blog, Facebook,  Goodreads, and Twitter.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Teresa, welcome back Over Coffee.

I do know what you mean about characters becoming so clear that they won't let you write certain ways or write them in certain settings. I think it keeps them 3 dimensional.

You're on the road today, right? But I know you'll be popping in off and on. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia ... and Teresa - I can imagine your characters taking charge - so much must come out of dealing with people in those situations - and I can see it would be draining - yet fascinating .. so pleased you're still out there helping, guiding, advising and just generally talking -

Cheers to you both - I'm sure your books would be riveting reads - Hilary

Johanna Garth said...

Sounds like a character I would relate to...not that I'm high maintenance about my coffee orders or anything erm it's the lawyer part! Let's go with that! :)

Mason Canyon said...

When I learn the characters took over a book while the author was writing, I know I'm in for a fascinating read. Sometimes I think authors try to keep characters boxed in, while even the readers can see the characters should be let lose. Wishing you much success Teresa. Your books sound intriguing.

Sia, do you have an extra scone and didn't I hear you say something about Ghiradeli? :)

Thoughts in Progress

Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate said...

Good morning, everyone. It's so nice to be here. Yes, Sia, I'm about to take off again, but I'll check in when I have reception.

I could sure go for that coffee and scone right now.

Johanna, I'm sure you can relate to much of Sabre's character. It takes a lot of effort for her to balance her incredibly large case load.

I'm off, but I'll check in later.

Thanks, Sia, for having me here today.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mason, lol! It's white ghiradeli, shhh, don't tell Sabre...

Tina said...

Sabre sounds like an interesting character, and I love legal suspense. Will have to check it out! Great interview, now can I have some Earl Grey tea, extra hot? Thanks!
Tina @ Life is Good

Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate said...

Sabre loves chocolate, but she can't have caffeine. That's why she drinks decaf. She limits her chocolate but refuses to give that up completely.

Great scone, Sia. Thanks!

~Sia McKye~ said...

HILARY--I also like stories that build on reality of a profession. I think anyone who has been in the helping/service fields have a cazillion stories they can tell and tell well.

JOHANNA--with kids, it's kinda hard to be high maintenance, :-) But, I've seen the attorney side of you and find it fascinating.

TINA--always have Earl Grey and Irish breakfast tea around. None of it comes in a tea bag. Do help yourself to the yummy fruit scones.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Teresa, you know I have to give Sabre a hard time. :-)Wise woman--who can willing give up chocolate?

I'm in and out today as well.

Btw, I like Sabre's cowboy. what makes him fun for you to write?

Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate said...

JP is fun to write because he's such an interesting character. He has a cowboy attitude and he's smitten with Sabre. He has so much confidence in everything except affairs of the heart. He is somewhat of a rebel and very protective of the people he cares about.

Especially fun coming up with all his JPisms. He's from Texas,dresses like a cowboy, and uses a lot of his Granpappy's old sayings. It's really fun coming up with those. JP has become a favorite among the readers. Women love him. Men admire him.

Jo said...

I must check these books out, sound like something I would enjoy.

I must admit I drink decaf most of the time with nothing in it.

Sorry I haven't been around Sia, vacation and all that.

Teresa Burrell, Author, Attorney, Advocate said...

I hope you enjoy the books. If you read one, please send me an email and let me know what you think.

Thank you, Sia, for having me here today. What a great group.

Good night all.


~Sia McKye~ said...

JO--I think you would enjoy them. No worries on not being around I know you were visiting friends and having fun. I've been swamped with work so my online time has been drastically limited and when I do have time I'm wiped out.

Teresa, I love characters like JP with sayings. It's always fun to read.

Mark Koopmans said...

I'm writing my first fiction novel and it's definitely fun to wander next to the MC and figure out (together( what's coming next!)

Annalisa Crawford said...

My characters rarely do anything I expect them to do. So annoying, but in a good way :-)

Sabre sounds very high-maintenance!

Jo said...

OK, just bought The Advocate. Not sure how soon I will get round to it, have a large TBR pile.