Friday, October 7, 2011

Q & A with Lawrence Friedman: on writing fiction

Note to readers: This is the last in a series of questions and answers with Lawrence Friedman.

Question:  When did you begin writing novels? What is that kind of writing like for you? Is it an extension into another genre of the things that motivate your scholarship? Or is it a departure – maybe more like a hobby? Do you have any advice for scholars who want to write fiction? I know about Death of a Wannabe, but & how where can readers find more?

Answer from Lawrence:
I've always enjoyed writing; and writing fiction has been a hobby of mine for a long time. Many years ago, I published a couple of stories under a pseudonym-- I don't even have copies of these, believe it or not. Then I tried my hand at mysteries-- a form of literature (if that's the word) that I enjoy reading on airplanes for the most part. I've actually written 13 of these novels, and am currently sketching out the 14th.

Getting fiction published is infinitely harder than getting legal history published. Frankly, for many years, I was quite unsuccessful-- up to now. Death of a Wannabe, which I hope you'll all buy and read, if only via Kindle, is the first to be published with a regular publisher, Quid Pro Books. This is a small press, run by a law professor, Alan Childress. Quid Pro also does law books; it is reprinting my first book, Contract Law in America; and has also published my most recent book, The Human Rights Culture. Quid Pro plans to bring out more of my novels in the near future. I did publish two others, but with a vanity press, and under a pen name (Lawrence Mayer). All of them are told in the first person, by a middle-aged lawyer, Frank May.

I recently talked to a former law student who is trying to switch professions: he wants to be an actor. I hope he makes it; but the odds are very long. Writing fiction, like acting, painting, and playing the piano, is fun; but for most of us, it is about as likely a way of achieving fame and fortune as buying a lottery ticket. In short, many are called but few are chosen. My advice is: enjoy yourself, if you want to write fiction; but don't expect to be the next John Grisham, let alone the next William Faulkner.