Deathbed Dimes exposes the reality that if you can outlive your relatives, friends and sometimes even strangers, your odds of hitting the inheritance jackpot are better than playing the lottery! Joely Zeller is a beautiful and ambitious 32 year-old attorney and only daughter of Hollywood film royalty, who is determined to build a successful career, find love and marriage without their help. To emerge from under her parents’ cloud of notoriety, Joely fled to New York upon graduation from Stanford Law School to practice Estates and Trust law at a blue chip Wall Street law firm. Over the next eight years she endured ninety-hour work weeks and sacrificed her love life (jilted by her fiancé for his best man) only to have her career efforts foiled by her male and incredibly incompetent counterpart. A serendipitous encounter with a former professor reminds her that with the impending inevitable demise of aging baby boomers, an unprecedented wealth transfer would take place, making Joely realize that with her experience, Hollywood connections, she could start her own law firm back in L.A. With her two best friends and former law classmates, as her partners in her new L.A. law firm, Joely sets about helping the recently disowned, dispossessed and penniless sharpen their claws as they stake their claim to the fortune of the dearly departed.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
A hodge podge of personal experiences as a lawyer, my love of Los Angeles (and anything California), the unprecedented intergenerational wealth transfer and ensuing legal battles set to occur with the demise of the parents of the Baby Boomer generation, and then the Baby Boomers themselves.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
I would be lying if I denied that parts of Joely Zeller weren’t modelled after me. While I never was jilted by a gay fiance (I’ve been happily married to and with the love of my life for close to 13 years and we have two kids), I do have a Master of Laws in Trust Law and I studied Estates law in school and was fascinated by both the area of practice and my professional experiences as a young lawyer having trained for a while in that field. I ended up becoming an entertainment lawyer and spent a fair amount of time in Los Angeles, so all of that combined went into the basic foundation for Joely. However, everything else that went into Joely was pure fabrication based on inspiration of what I’ve seen, heard or spoken about with friends, some of whom are lawyers and some who are not. As for the antagonist, there are a few. Chip is a composite of a number of people I’ve had the displeasure of encountering, working with or for in my professional life.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape
I have to say that I’m very lucky in that I’ve never experienced it, nor have I worried about it. Sure, it’s easy to say I’ve never worried about it because it has never seeped into my psyche. However, I know that inspiration has its way of striking when ready, so I tend not to think about it too much. Plus, I’m always writing. I maintaing a widely read satire fiction blog: www.satiricalmama.blogspot.com, enjoyed by the likes of Giller Prize winner Dr. Vincent Lam, Paula Froelich and Rebecca Eckler, and I contribute tongue-in-cheek articles on parenting to Erica Ehm’s online zine www.yummymummyclub.ca.
5. Your all time favorite book?
Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
6. What made you pick that one above all others?
Raskolnikov was such a beautifully crafted complex character and his devolution was so masterfully woven. I don’t relate to him in any way shape or form, which speaks to the quality of writing being able to have his persona and story resonate with me so deeply. I love the weight of the book and how it made me think. I read it in high school and its impact has lasted. I think that Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance” came in a close second to matching the emotion that viscerally flowed from me when I read “Crime and Punishment.” I love to read true literary fiction, but as a writer that is not my voice or style of writing.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
Five years on Deathbed Dimes. I’m currently working on the second draft of my second novel, which hopefully won’t experience the same long (and hopefully not longer) trajectory from idea seedling to published novel.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
It absolutely has changed me, but it is not the fact that I’m now a published author that has changed me. Once I realized that I could write, get lost in a world of characters and stories of my own creation, I found my passion. My children, my family are the lifeblood to my being, but writing is my soul.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving
up? What made you change your mind?
Constantly. With every lit agent’s rejection letter. Every time I faced a rewrite. But, if one word was used to describe me, it would be tenacious.
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I’m still a practising entertainment lawyer and I have a baby boy who is 8 months old and a daughter who is 2.5 years old. I also have a husband that gets some of my attention some of the time ;).
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other
authors to that effect?
I know that not everyone is going to like me, as a person, or as a writer. Criticism, when constructive, motivates me to do better in all aspects of my life. I welcome it. I don’t welcome personal attacks or abuse – that stuff I simply ignore, although I do have to admit that I enjoy a good debate, so if someone goes after me personally, they picked the wrong person with whom to spar. I’ve developed a fairly tough elephantine skin when it comes to rejection because I know that in the creative arts, everyone’s taste is so subjective. What used to hurt deeply to my core, may only sting for a second, or not at all, depending on who is delivering the message. I live by a few mottos: “I’m not mean, I’m honest,” and “Suck it up, buttercup.” If I can be honest with others and hope not to hurt someone, then I should be able to accept the same. And, even if my feelings are on the precipice of being hurt, I remind myself to toughen up, take it, learn from it and move on.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect
from the next e-books/books in the series?
I’ve been asked by several people whether I’d write a sequel. My reply is always, you never know.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on
next, aside this title/series?
I’m working on my sophmore novel, details of which are heavily under wraps, but there has been quite a good deal of interest from other writers and literary agents to see what I have to offer next. It will be a more sophisticated and mature story, hopefully bearing a bit more literary weight, but will maintain my signature witty and sharp writing style. I always want someone to read my work and be entertained.
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would
you wish for?
To have a career as an internationally best-selling author as successful as John Grisham (being a lawyer who writes, although totally different material), which would also include screenwriting for film and television.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish
to have with you?
I’d bring an e-reader so I wouldn’t have to pick just one. For a writer, that’s a Sophie’s Choice-type question.
3. Name your favorite fruit.
4. Coffee or tea?
5. Favorite season?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours?
Whenever I first wake up, feeling refreshed and everyone in the house is still fast asleep. With young children and a husband who sleeps like a hibernating bear, the time shifts constantly.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
8. Favorite food for breakfast?
Smoked salmon on a pumpernickel flagel, but I generally settle for a banana and some almonds.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
12. Drama or comedy?
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
“I’m not mean, I’m honest.”
14. Cats or dogs?
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Sleeping – remember, I’m a mom of two kids under the age of 3!
About the Author & Links:
Naomi writes satire and fiction on her blog, Satirical Mama. Her vociferous blogging has been read and appreciated by industry bigwigs such as Giller Prize winner Dr. Vincent Lam and New York Times best-selling author and journalist Paula Froelich. Naomi’s articles have also been published by Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club. Naomi is also a practicing entertainment attorney and lives with her husband and two children in Toronto. She’s currently working on her sophomore novel