Marcia Clark wanted to write crime fiction since childhood, but lacked the confidence to go for a career as a writer. Her path to becoming the fiction writer of her dreams took a detour through becoming a criminal lawyer, serving as prosecutor for the trial of O.J. Simpson, and writing her nonfiction memoir of the Simpson trial, Without a Doubt (1997).
These days she’s writing crime fiction nonstop, just releasing the first in the new Samantha Brinkman series, Blood Defense (Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, May). “I started out a criminal defense lawyer, but left the DA’s office and eventually began consulting on a TV show,” says Clark, who lives in Los Angeles. “During that show, I started writing television scripts, which reminded me how much I wanted to write crime fiction.”
Her first series featured Rachel Knight, a prosecutor who “had to be honest and ethical and all those boring things,” says Clark. Four books in the series, including Guilt by Association and Guilt by Degrees (Mulholland Books), put her on the fiction map.
“But I wanted to write a character who is a little farther out there, whose childhood trauma informs who she is now,” says Clark. “We all have scars from life, but also the DNA we were born with. The mix of those two informs how we react and the choices we make.”
Samantha Brinkman, criminal defense attorney, is defending Dale Pearson, a cop arrested in a double murder, when he drops a bomb she didn’t expect. It ups the ante in the case both personally and professionally, and things get way scarier as Samantha and her associates get closer to the truth.
“I channel the characters I meet, the crimes they commit, and the way clients behave,” she says. “The Samantha Brinkman series is a more accurate representation of my life experiences than the first series because it reaches into both the defense and prosecution sides of thing.”
Clark is still doing court-appointed criminal appeals, but no longer has a private practice. She devotes her time to writing. “Writing is such a complete experience in terms of satisfaction. I have the ability to tell the truth about society, people, and the criminal justice system through the arts,” says Clark. “I can go pretty far exploring a subject. It’s fun telling jokes and drawing on everything you can think of to build suspense.”
Clark signs copies of the book today, 11 a.m.–noon, in the Autographing Area, Table 11.
This article appeared in the May 12, 2016 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.