Steve Clark: Interview with Pacific Book Review
Today we are talking to Steve Clark, author of “Justice is for the Lonely”.
PBR: I admired the multiple yet interconnected plot lines; well constructed. As much as this story is plot-driven, is it just as much a character study of someone who gets through a troubled childhood and becomes successful (albeit with noticeable baggage). Is Kristen’s progress from troubled youth to successful adult used as a parallel criticism of someone like Leonard Marrs (antagonist in the book) who was troubled and did not rise above it as Kristen did?
Very good to catch that. Also she parallels her enemy, Caswell. Caswell has made no emotional progress dealing with his disability and remains bitter unable to make relationships, unlike Kristen.
PBR: Kristen is an intriguing character because she is so adept but also so humanly flawed. Is there a real, current or historical, figure whom Kristen is based on or is she a conflation of different qualities you’ve seen in different lawyers?
I’ve known two women who were adult children of alcoholics and saw some of the difficulties Kristen has with trust and authority. She makes a passing reference to Joan of Arc – The Maid. This is intentional. While everyone knows the basic story, the details are brought out in Helen Castor’s new biography, such as her struggle to be believed even by her allies and the unwillingness of the King to rescue her because she’s inconvenience, as well as heroic.
PBR: Even though there are times when she utilizes herself as a sexual object, she does act in the more traditional male role of being the person of action. In other words, she is the knight and her male counterpart, Michael Stern, is more like the damsel in distress. Was this a conscious move on your part in writing the book: to provide a feminist hero?
Yes to some extent. She’s also having fun in her role. In book 2 it is Michael Stern again doing the pleading, looking for the security of marriage, despite his history.
PBR: You mention, in the “Acknowledgments,” that the case in this novel illustrates “how much of the Sixth Amendment was surrendered.” This has to do with the right to a fair and speedy trial. Could you elaborate on this a bit as it applies to the novel and/or the legal system in general?
My statement is over simplified, perhaps a mistake. It reflects two issues- One – the right to have a jury consider the Plaintiff’s damages in a case like Layne has been drastically reduced in many states, especially so in Texas. Second – Although in the interest of saving words, a subplot was deleted, I am concerned with the assembly-line justice for drug offenders and the weakness of the parole system Diana deals with. Obviously Marrs should have stayed in prison, but the Board like most is simply overwhelmed.
PBR: From what I understand, this is the first book in a series featuring Kristen Kerry. Can you give some hints (no spoilers) about themes or events in the next book of the series?
The second book is told entirely in Kristen’s point of view. Kristen starts her own firm. She gets in even bigger trouble and again shows, she doesn’t always follow the rules and what a tough cookie she is. Her relationship with Stern has its ups and big downs.
Steve Clark, Author and Attorney