Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Interview with Ben Matthews, author of The Pursuit of Justice

Title: The Pursuit of Justice
Author: Ben Matthews
Publisher: Rushton Press
Genre: Legal Thriller
Format: Kindle/Paperback

  “A satisfying, well plotted mystery that should please the court.” — Kirkus Reviews

 Attorney Raymond Jackson is troubled by ethics charges, his failing practice, and memories of his still missing sister. When he agrees to resolve the ethics charges by taking on a case from the public defender, he gets saddled with a client nobody wants. The client is charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, an exotic dancer who was pregnant at the time of the crime. Investigating the State’s key witness, Ray discovers several similar unsolved murders from the past few years. Needing help, Ray must turn to the man he trusts the least. Ray also becomes involved in a money laundering investigation with his old girlfriend. As the bodies pile up, Ray finds himself framed for murder on the eve of trial. When the investigations collide, the cases become personal and Ray must choose between justice for his client or himself.

  “Matthews…keeps the pages turning.”—Kirkus Reviews

To Purchase The Pursuit of Justice

amazon BN

Blended Family Bliss, a nonfiction work.

For More Information
 Visit Ben's website.
 Connect with Ben

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Tough question.  We just graduated the 4th of 5 children from college.  I am very proud of all 5 of them.  I have had two successful law practices.  And Kirkus Reviews called The Pursuit of Justice “an auspicious debut…”
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I write about what I know.  The Pursuit of Justice is set in Myrtle Beach, SC where I learned to fish, shrimp, crab, and water ski.  It is a legal mystery and I’m a lawyer. 
When and why did you begin writing?
I was an English major at Presbyterian College (Class of 1978), so I had to write.  And I enjoyed it when I did.  I particularly enjoyed writing sonnets.  I never considered writing a novel until my wife suggested it.  I really wasn’t confident that I would finish it if I got it started.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It began with required writing but I found it to be fun and dabbled in it from time to time.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
I didn’t know that I had a chance to be a decent writer until the Kirkus Review. 
What inspires you to write and why?
I truly enjoy it.  It’s still a hobby for me but I never thought that I would find something as entertaining and consuming as reading.  For years and years, I listed reading as my favorite hobby but it now has to share the spot with writing.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Legal mystery.  I’m a lawyer and I have always loved reading this genre.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My wife was tired of my complaints about the novels I was reading.  She told to write my own and I did.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I joined a local writing group.  I read a lot of books about writing novels.  I struggled through a few workbooks and went to seminars.  I found the book Self Editing For Writers.  One of the authors has a business called the Editorial Department and I worked with Jane Ryder, R.J. Cavanaugh and Mark Febbo.  The Pursuit of Justice isn’t here without all the help of all of these people and the constant support of my wife.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The most challenging part of writing are the days when it doesn’t feel right.  The days when every word or phrase is off a little and I spend a lot of time searching for the correct adjective or verb and still don’t feel like I get it right.  Sometimes I force it and sometimes I go to something else or just leave it until the next day or time.  But I am fortunate on those days (and on the other days too) in that I often have an hour long commute that’s pretty easy to drive.  I am able to spend that time thinking about what I’m writing and recording notes in my phone. 
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Other than what I learned about writing, I developed better discipline as a writer and I became a better observer of people. 
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Right now it’s a hobby but it would be great to develop into a second/retirement career.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
My high school teachers and college professors complained about my sparse style.  I graduated from both in the 1970’s.  And it’s still that way.  I have to work hard to provide detailed setting.  My editors constantly urged me to add more adjectives.
But, I think this can be a strength too.  Particularly when it comes to who or what my characters look like.  The book is set in South Carolina but I tried not to use racial identifiers with most of them.  Some are clearly of one race or the other but I have already had readers describe a few characters as a member of different races.  I think that lets the reader identify with the story better because they have helped pick the characters.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
I seem to be able to write dialogue pretty well but I think that stems from my enjoyment of it. 
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I don’t have a favorite quality because like all people, I’m not the same all the time.  I try to foster the qualities of steadfastness, trustworthiness and reliability.  I can be thoughtful, considerate and funny.  Sometimes I’m a very good listener.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Probably, that I don’t display my passions enough.   
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
There are a lot to choose to from.  But let me give you two that spring to mind.
One is about people and I don’t know the author but it comes from one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  Captain Sparrow says that “you can always trust a dishonest man but you can’t trust an honest man.”  He explains that what you can trust is that a dishonest man will be dishonest but you know that an honest man will sometimes be dishonest.
The second quote is from Thomas Alva Edison.  “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” 

Thank you so much for choosing to include The Pursuit of Justice in your blog.  Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Ben Matthews

Ben Matthews is a native of South Carolina.  He is a graduate of Presbyterian College, the University Of South Carolina School Of Law and is admitted to the South Carolina Bar. He maintains a law practice in South Carolina.   His practice has allowed him to appear in the Horry County Courtrooms on many occasions. Although he is not a resident of Myrtle Beach, he spent many weeks of summer, multiple spring breaks and a host of weekends along the Grand Strand where he learned to water ski, fish, crab, shrimp, scuba dive and party. It is still the number one getaway for him and his wife.

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