It’s my pleasure to be supporting the celebrations of Dollar Signs by Manning Wolfe with Brook Cottage Books today. Dollar Signs is a legal thriller published by Starpath Books, LLC and was released on 18th February 2016. You have the chance to enter to win an e-copy of Dollar Signs at the bottom of this blog post.
MERIT BRIDGES, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady
corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer.
PRAISE FOR DOLLAR SIGNS!
A legal thriller not to be missed…Manning Wolfe just put herself on my list of must-read authors. — Mark Pryor, Hugo Marston Novels
Move over, John Grisham. There’s a lady lawyer in town. — Elizabeth Garcia, Deputy Ricos Tales
This novel is smart, funny, moving, and entertaining as hell. — Jesse Sublett, 1960’s Austin Gangsters
A great read, and Texas crime fiction has a new star. — Bill Crider, Dan Rhodes Mysteries
Pages smoke like burnt fried chicken grease on a Saturday night…This one, my friends, is a non-putter-downer! — George Wier, Bill Travis Mysteries.
A high-speed storyline full of twists and turns upon a stark background of reality as lawyers might really experience Manning Wolfe is one of the up and coming legal thriller writers of this generation. Read her and enjoy her, but don’t expect much sleep! — John Ellsworth, author, Thaddeus Murfee Legal Thrillers
An Interview with Manning Wolfe
Hello Manning. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.
Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I’m an attorney and author living in Austin, Texas with my mate, Bill Rodgers. I now write full time, but that is a recent development. I practiced law for over twenty years.
When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer – born that way. I told picture stories before I could write words.
If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead as a creative outlet?
Some form of art, maybe. I collect original artwork and masks.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Easiest is coming up with a story. My mind loves to spin yarns. Most difficult is juggling the time demands of writing, promoting, and life in general.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I tend to write in chunks. I get a lot of the story out in a relatively short period, then I edit over time.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I enjoy many different genres and non-fiction books, but my favorites are thrillers and mysteries. As for legal thrillers, I’m a huge Michael Connelly fan, read everything by John Grisham and Scott Turow, and keep up with John Ellsworth, Robert Dugoni, and Lisa Scottoline. I also enjoy many of the UK legal thriller writers.
Do you have other interests that give you ideas for writing?
Being an attorney, there are enough stores in my history to write forever. You can’t make this stuff up. That said, I use my legal background or a client file as a starting point, then I blow things out of proportion to make it more thrilling.
Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I’m closest to Merit Bridges, the protagonist of the Texas Lady Lawyer novels. We have differences, but we are both attorneys living in Austin, Texas with a strong sense of values. I have a little Betty in me too. She is the character who says what she thinks and doesn’t worry if anyone likes it or not.
How important was it for you to have a female protagonist in Dollar Signs?
Merit started talking to me – she showed up. I didn’t decide to write a male or female.
How did you ensure that the legal elements in Dollar Signs were authentic?
Research, research, research.
How much of your own experience in the world of law has found its way into Dollar Signs?
Tons. I use my experience as an attorney on almost every page. I was never a litigator, but a strategist. That’s my favourite thing about the law. Sometimes it is smarter to think yourself out of a situation than to fight your way out. That said, there’s nothing like a good courtroom drama scene – so I mix it up and use both.
You have a very cinematic style of writing. Is this deliberately crafted or is it a natural style for you?
I’m a big outliner and I think in visuals. When I combine those two in my writing, it’s very much like a movie on the page.
The cover of Dollar Signs is very striking. Without giving away the plot please, could you tell readers what you wanted to convey through that image?
I worked closely with my designer Heidi Dorey on the cover. Since fire is the weapon of choice of the antagonist, Boots King, and the novel is based in Austin, the image emerged from the story. My son owns an aerial photography company. He hovered a drone over the S. Congress bridge looking back at the capitol and downtown Austin and took the cover photo. Heidi enhanced the picture, I had her turn it upside down, and that became the reflection of the flames beneath the fire.
Dollar Signs is the first in the Texas Lady Lawyer series. How is Merit Bridges developing and are you finding she’s taking over your writing?
For now, Merit Bridges is the center of my writing. All the stores I have planned in the immediate future are part of the Texas Lady Lawyer series. I have a stand alone suspense story that I’ve been thinking about for some time. It’s not a legal thriller. I don’t know when I’ll work on that one, but it occurs in part in Europe, so a trip may be in order.
Who would you choose to play Merit Bridges if Dollar Signs became a film?
Maybe Reese Witherspoon. She is a strong and powerful Southern woman like Merit. I could also see Amanda Seyfried. She has a quality that would add an interesting undercurrent. I’d jump through hoops for Helen Mirren – huge fan of hers. I’m sure she could master any accent she pleases.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Dollar Signs should be their next read, what would you say?
Dollar Signs is a legal thriller with a sprinkling of Texas bullshit. If you like a gripping thriller, but also want to laugh and be entertained, grab it for the beach or a plane ride. By the end of the book, you’ll be waiting to see what Merit will do next.
(I think you might have cheated there Manning!)
Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
There is a dyslexic character in the book – Merit’s son, Ace. My son is dyslexic, and although he is now grown and is on his own, the experience of raising a child with a learning disability was very difficult. I created Ace so that I could show some of the issues that surround dyslexia and the struggles for those who are challenged by reading.
(What a brilliant thing to do – this resonates with me as an ex-English teacher.)
Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
About the Author – Manning Wolfe
MANNING WOLFE an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas, writes cinematic-style, smart, fast-paced thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. The first in her series, featuring Austin Lawyer Merit Bridges, is Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King.
A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, Manning’s experience has given her a voyeur’s peek into some shady characters’ lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them.
Enter to win an ecopy of Dollar Signs by clicking here.