Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meet Oliver Sands, Author

Oliver Sands is the pseudonym for the author of the legal thriller, The Kappa File. He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami, and is an attorney in the field of government litigation. He lives in Saint Augustine with his wife Margie and a cat that adopted them. Visit Oliver's Amazon author page for more about his writing.

1. How did you decide on Miami-Dade County for the setting of The Kappa File?

I wanted a setting that had some similarity with other locales. Whether the reader lives in Brooklyn, San Francisco, London, Brussels, etc., Miami-Dade County has some resemblance to those cities. It has colorful communities, warm weather, nutcases, nice people, traffic jams, diversity, and to help my writing, a murder here or there on occasion. Also, I used to live and practice law in Miami, so I was already familiar with the location.

2. What are some of the challenges for you as a lawyer writing a fictional book about a legal case: where can you rely on your own knowledge of the law, and where do you let your imagination take over?

Luckily, I never had a killer chasing me and trying to stop me from discovering the content of a file. In The Kappa File, the protagonist handles government contract litigation. I relied on some of the cases that I have handled in the past to help me to choose the area of practice of the protagonist. My challenge is like any other writer's challenge, which is presenting a story that is riveting and original, while improving on the craft.

3. Who are some authors whose work inspires you as a writer?

One of my favorite books is Numbered Account by Christopher Reich. I also like authors Harlan Coben, Robert Ludlum, and Sandra Brown.

4. What are some techniques you use when writing a legal thriller to keep your novel moving at a fast pace?

Although it's cliché, it's true: dialogue and conflict keep the plot moving. This is why I like Sandra Brown. She tends to use a lot of dialogue and conflict in her books to keep the story progressing. I just read one of her books where the whole story took place in a gas station. It takes great skill to pull that off.

5. You have done some clever promotion for your book, like setting up a website for the fictional law firm that cracked the case: how did you come up with your marketing campaign, and what has the response from readers been?

I wanted to do something different besides simply going the social networking and email marketing route. Therefore, when I had the idea to create a website to bring the characters to life, I thought I was being imaginative. However, after I created the website, I attended a seminar on entertainment law and learned how advanced and ingenious the movie studios are in promoting their products, and realized that my marketing idea was not new.

I have not been able to gauge the response from readers yet because I am still in the middle of my marketing campaign. One thing I realized is that each website created to promote a book generates a lot of work because you have to gather a following of fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking websites.

Thanks, Oliver!

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