Hollywood and the law--what could be more delicious in a novel? Naomi Elana Zener is the author of both Deathbed Dimes and satire fiction, which is posted on her blog Satirical Mama. She blogs for Huffington Post and her articles have been published by Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club. Naomi is also a practicing entertainment attorney and I'm thrilled to have her here. Thank you, Naomi!.
What sparked the writing of Deathbed Dimes?
Back in 2005, I conceived an idea for a TV series about estate litigators. I ended up shelving the idea, as I was preoccupied with building my entertainment law career. As time wore on, in late 2008 I watched "The Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, and devised one for myself. Item #1 was to write a novel. So, I dusted off the idea for Deathbed Dimes, played with it and came up with a unique idea for a novel that married fiction genres (think Helen Fielding meets John Grisham), as well as the zeitgeist of greed that permeates the underworld of estate litigation battles with a Hollywood twist.
The novel is set in the world of law and Hollywood, two worlds you know a lot about. Tell us about all of this, please.
I studied Estates and Trusts law, with a focus on Estate Litigation, when I pursued my JD and LL.M., so I knew a lot about the area of law. When I entered the fray of practising entertainment law, when I decided to write Deathbed Dimes, I thought that it would be fascinating to marry my knowledge of estate litigation with the zany world of the entertainment industry and those in it. Estate litigation battles affect everyone in every walk of life. I've read so many different cases about families fighting over money, from those disputing a $50,000 estate where the legal fees were triple that amount, to those that involved hundreds of millions of dollars and many disgruntled family members who felt entitled to inherit that wealth. In practising entertainment law, given that everyone dies, including rich and famous celebrities, it made sense to me to set Deathbed Dimes' story in Los Angeles, amongst the glitz and glamour of that world, even though the estate battle arc in the story isn't focused on that world.
How do you write? What’s your process like? Do you outline or just follow your muse (if there is such a thing!)
I outline. I make notes. I jot down dialogue as it comes to me to save for a character or a conversation that will appear in the short story or novel I'm working on. I don't fill notebooks of pages with ideas for a novel, or pages on end for a short story simply because I also like to let the story flow as it comes to me. Everything is my muse, from my marriage, my kids, to what I read, watch on TV/hear on the radio, and observe daily, and to people who flow in and out of my life. I always start to write from what I know and embellish from there.
What’s your writing life like?
Wonderful. I love to write. I miss it when I'm not doing it. I love to enjoy family time, work (my writing secret identity is being an entertainment lawyer), leisure, but my characters, ideas, worlds, and the like are never far from my mind. That's why I'm weighed down heavily by a large bag full of notebooks and my iPhone to write when a moment of inspiration strikes.
What’s obsessing you now and why?
Several things. First, my second novel. I'm waiting for notes from my editor so that I can write the third draft to use for querying new literary agents (I left my last one). Second, my third novel idea that I've started to flesh out and outline. Third, a short story I'm trying to finally finish, but life is getting in the way.
What question didn’t I ask that I should have?
There are many I could throw at you, but I tend to be open on my writing, but private about my personal life. I will offer that you didn't ask me who my favourite shoe designer is. For that question, I could never give an answer. It would be like trying to pick a favourite child. I love all of my shoes (well those that burned a deep hole in my wallet Carrie Bradshaw style).