Author Interview - Jenn Bregman
One of my favorite things about this blog is the opportunity to "meet" (often virtually, but sometimes in real life) strong, successful, creative women. So when Jenn Bregman, author of The TimeKeepers sent me an email of introduction, I knew I wanted to feature her in an author interview (even though I haven't had a chance to read her book, yet! I hope to post about it next month.) Jenn is currently a criminal defense lawyer, a career that provided ample material for her debut novel about a lawyer who leaves Big Law. I am in awe of anyone who completes a book, I have a hard time writing a blog post sometimes. But it was her positive outlook on life (and yes, the fact that she's a dog-lover played into it as well) that made me want to feature her. I think you'll like her instantly, just as I did. At the end of our interview Jenn wrote, "I love my family, my friends, animals, adventure, challenge and exploration. I try to keep growing and to be a positive light for myself and others and to have fun in the process!" In our correspondence, she certainly portrayed all of these things. Meet Jenn:
About The Timekeepers:
1. Could you tell Hasty Book List Readers a little about your book and why you think they should read it?
The TimeKeepers centers on a young, idealistic, naïve lawyer named Sarah Brockman who leaves Big Law in search of work that will make a difference but finds herself barely scraping by, running her own personal injury firm working for clients who can't pay and pursuing causes she can't win. When a random horrific car crash changes everything, she is pitted against a cunning and deranged adversary who leads her through a kaleidoscopic landscape of corrupt judges, dirty cops, offshore banking, massive fraud and countless twists and turns through the highways and byways of Southern California, Mexico, and the Cook Islands all while kindling a tender romance with her boyishly handsome new love, Sam, who's been following the same trail . . . but from the other end,and the wrong side of the law. Readers love the interesting and spicy characters and, especially, the break-neck pace of the action. You don't catch your breath until the end when all the pieces finally come together in a surprising and satisfying way.
2. Like you, the main character of The Timekeepers is a lawyer. Are there other similarities between you and Sarah Brockman?
There is a lot of Sarah in me! I always root for the underdog! I also worked hard to succeed at UCLA Law School and then to become an associate in a Big Law firm. But, as much as I loved the practice, I wanted to help people more directly and left to start my own firm, just as Sarah did, where I helped people in financial distress. Nothing can ever replace the feeling you get when you know you have helped someone in a time of extreme need. Although I later moved to New York and became a white collar criminal defense lawyer, I still think my biggest contribution to the profession was the time spent helping those who needed not only legal help, but also the kindness and counsel that I was able to provide in my own practice.
3. Are there parts of this book that are drawn from your personal experiences as a lawyer?
Most of my personal experience as a lawyer is reflected in the characters in the book -- especially the bad guys! While I was lucky enough to work in firms with impeccable ethics and codes of conduct, I witnessed behavior from others that, although, not unethical or illegal, made me think that the natural consequence of who they were could lead them into doing things like the characters in the book. It was not that far a leap.
4. Sarah is a strong female protagonist, was she inspired by someone you know?
All the female lawyers and female business leaders I know! It is hard to be a successful woman in business -- be it law or corporate America -- especially after the 2016 election. Who and how are we expected to be? Tough, but not too tough. Outspoken but, again, not too much. Sexism is still pervasive, albeit often times cloaked as something else. It is a difficult terrain to navigate and any woman who even tries, gets my most hearty support!
5. I’m pulling this next question from your book club discussion questions on your website, but I’m curious about your thoughts. Which character did you feel the sorriest for and why?
The obvious choice is probably Hector since he really gets nailed in the end. But I feel the most sorry for Ariel. She loved, she trusted and she got the rug pulled out from under her. Anyone who gives his or her heart like that -- freely and without restraint -- and then gets betrayed without cause and in the cruelest way, deserves my greatest compassion.
About writing/reading in general:
1. Could you tell us a bit about your writing process for this book? How long did it take you to research and write? Did you have this story in mind for a while or did the project develop quickly?
I always wanted to write a legal thriller, but not when I did! I was very busy at work, but these characters just kept appearing in my brain -- frequently at night when I wanted to sleep! So I decided to let them speak. This is a completely character driven story. I let the characters do exactly what they wanted and let them "be" exactly who they were. I had no idea what they would do and how the story would go. I loved starting to write each day not knowing which way the story would turn and what mischief the characters would get into.
2. What genre do you prefer to read? What is your favorite book?
I love legal and historical thrillers so I adore John Grisham. I also love general fiction. My favorite book is always a shifting target and usually the book I just finished! In this case, "All the Light We Cannot See." Another book that has stayed with me a very long time is "Tinkers."
3. What character from a book would you like to switch places with?
This may sound a little weird, but Anna in Anna Karenina (except for the ending!) The intense passion of the story, the characters, and the historical time is so riveting to me -- so dramatic and so romantic.
4. I heard you love to travel, what book has traveled the furthest with you?
"A Wrinkle in Time." Hands down. I need to re-read it as it may not be as I remember, but it had a huge impact on me as a child.
5. What can you tell us about the sequel to The Timekeepers coming next year? (But don’t give anything away!)
I LOVE writing this book! I can't wait to start work every day. It's set in New York, my favorite city in the world and has romance, nail-biting suspense and historical and legacy elements that I just love winding into the structure. This is the second of the trilogy with the third set in Colorado. I know how it all ends. I hope I have the skill to tell the full story the way I see and feel it.
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