The Lincoln Lawyer

 , a novel by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly's Interviews

Interview with Michael Connelly by Chris High

- This is your first novel in the genre of the legal thriller. What made you decide to turn your hand to this form of writing and how does it differ from what you have written before with the Harry Bosch series?

- It came out of my desire to explore something new to take a little break from Harry Bosch. I have always loved legal stories, going back to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. So it was something I've always wanted to try.

- Where did the idea of Mickey Haller operating his business from the back of a car come from?

- About five years ago I met a criminal defence attorney who told me he worked out of the back of his car and I stayed in touch with him and met some other defence attorneys who were willing to let me be a fly on the wall as they conducted business.

- "There is no client as scary as an innocent man," is a line from the preface to the novel and is quoted throughout. You have said in previous interviews that being called as a witness to testify against a man you knew to be innocent first lit your enthusiasm for the criminal process. In relation to this, how would an innocent man scare an attorney more than one who is guilty, in your opinion?

- That line was actually a line from a real defence attorney. What he meant by it is that there is only one acceptable outcome to a case involving an innocent client. Not guilty. Exhoneration. There can be no middle ground. No deal. No plea bargain. So that puts a lot of pressure on the attorney. It's scary. Because if the lawyer doesn't get that not guilty verdict then they have to live with their own guilt in knowing an innocent man is in prison because their effort wasn't good enough.

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Interview with Michael Connelly by Barnes And Noble

In the spring of 2005, Michael Connelly took some time out to answer some of our questions about his favorite books, authors, and interests.

- What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer - and why?

- The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. I read it in college and immediately subscribed to the idea of the crime novel as art. The book's evocation of Los Angeles and the social commentary on the city inspired me to become a writer.

- What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?

- I don't like listing or ranking favorites. I would say The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, The Black Marble by Joseph Wambaugh and The Underground Man by Ross MacDonald are very important to me because they inspired me as a writer. I also have loved The Little Sister by Chandler, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Ask the Dust by John Fante, Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

- What are some of your favorite films, and what makes them unforgettable to you?

- Chinatown, Bullitt, The Long Goodbye (with Elliot Gould), The Conversation, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I like movies where characters are put into extreme situations and we get to watch how they react.

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Interview with Michael Connelly by Danuta Kean

Michael Connelly talks to Danuta Kean about how having children has affected his crime writing.

Fatherhood has had a big impact on crime writer Michael Connelly, creator of Harry Bosch. It has finally laid to rest the ghost of the cynical and burned-out crime reporter who created the Los Angeles detective 12 years ago. It is also why in The Narrows Connelly had to return to the territory of The Poet, his first book featuring Bosch.

"When I wrote The Poet I wanted to write about a burned-out journalist, because that was the way I felt," explains Connelly, who was a crime reporter before he turned to crime writing. "At that time I was dealing with the contradiction of being a journalist who had written about murders over the years, who knew that a high percentage of those murders were never solved or the murderers got away, and moving into writing fiction where no one ever gets away with it."

Connelly says that when he wrote The Poet all those years ago he was "cynical and burnt-out". Fatherhood has changed him. "As I became more connected to the world through becoming a father I started looking at the choice I made when writing The Poet and I wanted to rectify it. It has taken a number of years, but I did it."

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"The Lincoln Lawyer - Behind The Writing", by Michael Connelly

"Have case, will travel."

Five or six years ago, I was invited by a friend to join him and others at opening day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I sat next to a man I hadn't met before and in the exchange of pleasantries and howyadoins learned he was a criminal defense attorney. As a news reporter, I had briefly covered courts in L.A. County years earlier and knew that defense attorneys, because of the breadth and numerous courthouses in the county, usually concentrated their work in a geographic section of the county. This prevented them from having long down times while driving between courthouses.I asked which courthouses he worked and he said all of them. He said, "have case, will travel." I asked him where he located his office and he said, "Basically, it's my car." He then went on to explain that, since he was willing to take cases anywhere, he made his car a working office. He used a client, who was working off his legal fees, as a driver, and he sat in the back where he had a fold down desk, computer, printer, wireless fax, etc. And, of course, he had his cell phone. While driving from courthouse to courthouse, he worked the phone, wrote legal briefs and pleadings, basically turning driving time into office time. I ended up spending more time talking to him than I did watching the game, and when I went home that day, I had an idea for a new character.

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Interview with Michael Connelly by Scott Butki

This interview with Michael Connelly was a personal thrill as he is both one of my favorite writers and someone who successfully made the transition from news reporter to crime writer. I have written previously about how much I enjoyed hearing him speak at a journalism seminar, in a workshop room jam-packed with other reporters hoping to make that jump from writing nonfiction to fiction. Most of his books are amazing reads, especially my favorite, The Poet.

While Connelly is finishing up his next novel, Echo Park, he agreed to an email interview. The subject of the interview was his book, Crime Beat, an appropriate selection since both he and I have written about crime in Southern California. But my musings pale in comparison to his stories of serial killers, drug addicts, robbers, and others.

This is a non-fiction book and Connelly said he was frustrated that some places, especially Internet sites, promoted it as fiction. But the collection of non-fiction does offer a unique way of looking at his fiction work, as he explains.

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Michael Connelly interviewed by Michael Carlson

Sitting in the garden of his house in Tampa, watching the city's lights flicker across the Bay, Michael Connelly radiates the intensity of an award-winning crime reporter, which is what he was before he became a prolific and best-selling crime novelist. Looking younger than his 47 years, hair cropped short and his gaze focused behind small, rimless glasses, his mental wheels appear to always be turning. It's easy to imagine him moving back to his writing desk the moment the interviewer has gone. And it's even easier to imagine someone who has seen the worst Los Angeles had to offer, and remains obsessed with that city even as he tries to relax, 3,000 miles away. But Connelly's obsession is not so much with the city as with writing about it, because he always wanted to be a novelist. 'Yes, it was all part of a master plan. Just kidding,' he laughs, but then admits that even as a journalism student, he took fiction writing classes. 'Journalism was a means to an end. I studied fiction with the novelist Harry Crews. But I fell in love with Raymond Chandler when I saw Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. I read all his novels, and was drawn to LA; I devoured Ross MacDonald and Joseph Wambaugh.'

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