INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


ON THE COVER January, 2008


Free Writing Resources!

Legal Dealings
Rebecca Forster thrills with judicious skills
By  Diego X. Jesus and Mark London

Forster & Sons, Inc.
N
ovelist Rebecca Forster has made a career out of some simple, direct concepts -- like crisp, proper answers to a rigorous cross-examination.

Sheís melded imagination, love of prose and fascination with the U.S. legal system into a marketable commodity with tough, tense and triumphant legal thrillers that offer courtroom drama rife with the ďhuman factorĒ -- at the wayward-jury hands of which even the smartest lawyer can be done in, the innocent railroaded and the little guy beaten down, or up.

In her world, everyone has something to loose in the end, even if theyíre attempting to gain something else in the meantime. It might be their time, their money. It might be their life. For Forster, law literally is -- her life, that is. Sheís married to a prominent L.A. Superior Court judge, is an tireless advocate for motivating writers of all ages, a speaker and guest on radio and TV and at writerís conferences, womenís symposiums and book festivals, includng repeat appearances at the Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Forster was raised in Southern California. She traveled back to the Midwest to attend Loyola University, Chicago before returning to earn her MBA at Loyola Los Angeles. Her latest series that includes Hostile Witness and Silent Witness are set in Southern Californiaís Hermosa Beach and feature volleyball-playing attorney, Josie Baylor-Bates. Privileged Witness will be released in February 2006.

IN: You write legal thrillers. Do you see yourself, as many do, as the female equivalent to John Grisham or are your respective works of a completely different nature?

RF: My husband started his legal career as a federal prosecutor who specialized in organized crime and terrorism. He became a criminal court judge, moved to civil court and now, for the next three years, will be in an administrative capacity in the courts.

His career -- and especially those of our friends who are female attorneys -- have inspired me. I have seen first hand what it takes to put a case together and the human elements that are necessary to make our legal system work. Self discipline, extraordinary curiosity about law and justice, self sacrifice (especially for prosecutors) and the courage to stand up to a criminal element make lawyers exceptionally fertile ground for a novelist.

I donít think you can write a legal thriller without delving deeply into characterization. In any legal action there is always something to loose. It may be as little as a personís time or as serious as the ultimate loss of life. A lawyer stands between the court and the accused -- there is nothing more dramatic than that. 

As for seeing myself as the female equivalent of Grisham. Every writer has a distinct voice so I think of myself as writing within the genre of wonderful authors like Grisham and Turow but parallel rather than equivalent.

IN: As a strong advocate for education and for women looking to make a mid-life career change, what time management advice can you offer to writers? Especially advice for women with children, an existing job and the desire to become a full time writer.

RF: Time is always a problem even when you write full-time. When I started, I had two babies and a full-time job. I carved out a specific hour each evening to write. I didnít worry if the writing was perfect, only that it moved the story forward. If I did five pages I was thrilled.  There is no way I could have done this effectively without my families full support, though. That is very important. As my children grew I would put them on the floor with paper and crayons and tell them they could write their books while I wrote mine. Weíd have a quiet hour.

The one thing a writer must not do is to beat herself up if  she doesnít write on a schedule. Some people write 10 pages a day. Some write a page a day. Itís all good. Half of my work is done in my head. So if Iím cleaning the house, running errands or taking care of the yard Iím working. I can make creative connections that couldnít be made if I was "pushing" it in front of a computer.

IN:You are an instructor at the Professional Writers Certificate Program at California University Extension Services, CU, Long Beach and you motivate children to become involved in writing. To all ages of writers what is the best advice that you can give about creating characters and stories?

RF:The best advice I have for anyone who writes is to watch everything and everyone. Notice the way peopleís voices sound, the words they speak, the gestures they make. How do they change with the weather? How do they dress? Those are all clues to building a memorable character. Use your words and paint pictures with them. Tell us what you see when you look at the world. Finally, always ask what if." Thatís how stories are made. If you have a story about going to the grocery store itís a little boring if all you buy is milk. But if you ask, "what if someone tried to rob the grocery store while you were buying milk" then youíre on your way to a story.

Iíd also like to urge the new writer to use books they like as "mentor" books. I love it when people use one of my books and analyze it to see how it is crafted. How are characters drawn, how is the suspense peppered throughout the book, what kind of description moves the story forward.

IN: Who have been the most influential people during your writing career?

RF: A high school teacher who told me I wrote well. My dearest friend who dared me to write a book and didnít laugh when I told her I was going to do it. That same friend who still reads everything I write. My husband and two sons who have always been my cheerleaders.

IN: When one of your new books is launched how important is touring, conferences and book signings to help ensure success and book sales?

RF: Truthfully, it is almost impossible for an author to affect sales without the backing of their publisher. Many bookstores donít like to do signings unless its for a big name author because they canít get people to come out. They end up returning inventory.

That being said, I think conferences, books groups, womenís groups, writing groups are all necessary to the success of both an individual book and a career. I am so grateful when people choose one of my books over the hundreds available to them. I love to have the chance to say thank you, to share the knowledge I have of the industry, to be a cheerleader for other people who have stories in their heads. That is the kind of  promotion that is successful -- the kind that your heart is in.

I think one of the most effective promotional tools is the mail -- snail and e-mail. I have always answered every letter I ever received. I actually have pen pals Iíve had for over 15 years because they wrote after reading a book. Thatís even more important than touring, I think.

IN: You have been on numerous television and radio shows. What advice can you give new writers on how to handle being interviewed for the first time?

RF: Keep it simple, simple, simple. Thatís my best advice. Dress comfortably. Donít get a new outfit that is out of your element. If you do youíll feel uneasy throughout the entire interview. Remember, youíve already written the book. You know what inspired you, how long it took, what you hope readers take away from it. Have fun. Always smile, tell something funny and keep it simple.

IN: Are there special insights you can pass along from your experiences in dealing with agents, editors, and publishers?

RF: Listen. That is my first, and best, advice. I learned the craft of writing by listening to the professionals. Editors, agents and publishers see hundreds of manuscripts a year. If they are interested in your work, they will do their best to make it saleable. The best education I ever had came from a caring editorís rejection letter or an agentís suggestions. That doesnít mean you canít ask questions, but Iíve seen a lot of authors blow deals because they refuse to give up a subplot or a character quirk.

IN: You have your own, dedicated web site at http://www.rebeccaforster.com How important is it for writers/authors to have a web site presence in this day and age?

RF: I think itís incredibly important to have a website or at least an e-mail address where people can contact you. I feel very strongly about allowing readers to check out my books and a website allows me to open those first pages to them.

IN: With the rapid changes to publishing that have happened since the encroaching predominance of the Internet, ebooks, and self-publishing software, what do you think is best about the book publishing industry? The worst?

RF: The best thing about traditional publishers is that they have experience, sales people, distribution, art departments for great covers. The worst thing is that the wheels move slowly in New York as they try to keep up with the authorís work in all its stages and keep abreast of new marketing techniques.

IN: What are the greatest challenges facing new writers on the path to becoming successful authors?

RF: I think the greatest challenge to new and established authors is the avalanche of books available with e-books, self-published books, the internet not to mention competing media. The poor consumer has so much "clutter" to work through in order to reach the individual author it can seem overwhelming. Sometimes we all feel like weíre drowning. New authors should take it one step at a time and enjoy each one. Donít worry about being a best seller before you have a book deal, donít worry about the cover before the book is written. Each step is exciting. Enjoy them all.

IN: Any advice for writers about the merits or pitfalls of taking writing classes, attending conferences, etc.?

RF: I would like to encourage people to listen very carefully to any instructor (myself included) and be objective during a class. Is the instructor giving you solid reasons for changing your writing, rethinking your story or how to approach the marketplace? No one has the magic bullet. No one can teach you how to write but they can teach you how to craft a story, submit it to publishers, promote your work.

If you take away one, solid piece of information that changes your work, or your work ethic, then the class was a good experience. I love conferences where a writer can actually hear an editor or agent speak; better yet, one where you can make an appointment to pitch your work. Thatís worth every penny of a conference fee!

ININ believes in the idea popularized by Catherine Ryan Hyde of "paying it forward" http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org which is based upon the concept of doing a favour for another person without any expectation of being paid back. Would you like to do someone a favour here in this interview space?

RF: Julie Moore and her two partners are the dynamos behind the Young Writer's Conference. Concerned that writing skills were falling by the wayside, the ladies put together a professional conference just for kids. When a school books the Young Writer's Conference the speakers are published authors, screenwriters, newspaper people, poets and more. Each student can choose their own writing track. The Young Writer's Conference gives kids in big and small schools the confidence to write and permission to use their imaginations. Everyone can see what it's about at http://www.youngwritersconference.org

IN: What's next for Rebecca Forster?

RF: Well, Iím just beginning a project thatís a little out of my normal realm. It combines fantasy with legal fiction. Thatís about all I can tell you now.  If it works out I think it will be terribly exciting.

Bibliography:

Privileged Witness ISBN# 0-451-21777-2 Publisher: Signet
Keeping Counsel ISBN#0821752812 Publisher: Zebra
Hostile Witness ISBN#0-451-1163-4 Publisher:Signet
Silent Witness ISBN#0-451-21424-2 Publisher: Signet

Read Rebecca Forster's excerpt from Privileged Witness.IN Icon


Diego X. Jesus is a Dominican-born American freelance journalist and associate editor of IN who makes Toronto his home approximately half the time. Otherwise, we don't know where he might be. email Jesus

 

Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. email Mark: talktome@canoemail.com


Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

ON THE COVER
IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writerís Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails weíve known;
Each writerís block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
Itís how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Donít plant your poem on the page
As though youíre hanging drapes;
Itís shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their ďthemes.Ē

Double Vision
A writerís life is paradox,
Itís more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know youíll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poemís through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."