APRIL 29, 2003

From all the books you have written, do you have a favorite?

I think that my first book, SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, will always be my sentimental favorite.  I had the idea for the story ten years before I actually started to write it and it will always be very special to me.  I think every author has a special affection for his or her first book.

At what point in time did you decide that writing was the "thing for you"?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school.  I can't explain it, but it is something that is "hot-wired" in to my psyche.  I didn't really do anything about it until I was in my thirties.  I studied accounting in college and went to law school.  I've been a corporate and
securities lawyer in private practice since 1983, but I knew all along that I would try to write a book someday.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a writer?

Read a lot and write a lot.  Study the genre that you'd like to write.  Try to make the time to write a little bit every day.  It's very difficult to keep your story flowing if you don't do some writing every day.

What is the name of your favorite mystery movie?

In the modern era, my favorites are L.A. Confidential and The Usual Suspects.  Of the classics, I liked Anatomy of a Murder, The Maltese Falcon and the Hitchcock movies.

What other authors do you enjoy reading?

Of the lawyer-writers, I like Scott Turow, Steve Martini, Lisa Scottoline, John Lescroart, Richard North Patterson and Michael Nava.  Of other mystery writers, I like Robert Crais, Michael Connelly and Martin Cruz Smith.

What other types of jobs have you had?

I've been a corporate and securities lawyer in private practice since 1983.  I work for the San Francisco office of a large law firm called Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.

Is there anyone, in particular, who influenced you?

My favorite writers when I was growing up were J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut and J.R.R. Tolkien.  Of the lawyer/writers, my favorites are Scott Turow and Steve Martini.

What led you to write mysteries?

I've always enjoyed the genre.  I became interested in writing courtroom drama after I read Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent in 1987.

Do you read reviews of your books?

Yes.  Thankfully, the majority of reviews have been very positive.  It isn't fun to get negative reviews, but you learn to deal with it.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good husband and a good father.  As for my books, it's very rewarding to know that I've been able to entertain a lot of people and I hope that they've learned a little along the way.  I would like to be remembered as a writer who respected his readers' intelligence.

What do you believe is the highlight of your career so far?

I've written three books that have been critically and commercially successful.

Do you write on a fixed schedule?

Yes.  When I'm writing a first draft of a new book, I take time off from my lawyer job and I stay home and write from nine in the morning until about three in the afternoon. This coincides with my kids' school schedule.  I work late at night from time to time, but I try to avoid it.

How did you get started in writing?

I've always wanted to do it.  I wrote my first book on a laptop computer while I was commmuting to work on the ferry from my home in Marin County to downtown San Francisco.  It took me three years to finish my first book.

How do you come up with plots?

I come up with ideas from things I read in the papers or see on the news.  My colleagues at work often provide good plot ideas.

How do you spend your free time?

I coach little league and spend as much time as I can with my wife and our twin sons, who turned 11 this year.  Between writing, lawyering and family,
I keep pretty busy.

Do you have a message you would like to give to all your readers out there?

Thanks for reading my stories and for supporting my work.  I really appreciate it.  And thanks to everybody who has taken the time to write.  Lawyers don't get much fan mail and I'm very grateful!


                                                 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheldon Siegel graduated from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley in 1983. He has been in private practice in San Francisco for over nineteen years and specializes in corporate and securities law with the firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. His three novels, Special Circumstances, Incriminating Evidence and Criminal Intent, have all been national best sellers. His fourth novel, Reasonable Doubt, will be released August 2003.
He lives in Marin County with his wife, Linda, and twin sons, Alan and Stephen. He is at work on his next Mike Daley story.
How did Sheldon come to write his stories? You might be interested to read about the circumstances that led to...
Special Circumstances. Or, what made him think the world wanted another legal thriller? And find out what Sheldon learned in writing Incriminating Evidence.