I'd dreamed of writing fiction since I was a kid, and every so often, ideas for books would occur to me, but I never actually made the commitment and put pen to paper.
Then I became a criminal lawyer. And a few years later, I joined the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. And so came the stories, the people, the adrenalin rush of trial; suddenly I was awash in the best material any writer could hope for. But I was in the thick of it, too busy living the ride to step back and write about it.
Then, years later, after I'd written scripts for television, I realized that it was time to write that novel, and that what I really wanted to do was revisit my happiest years as a prosecutor, and create a world that would be an ongoing series with recurring characters who'd – hopefully – also be fun, loveable and interesting. And I wanted to create a world that would convey the excitement and satisfaction, as well as the camaraderie and fun, of being a prosecutor.
So, in Guilt by Association, I created a family that consisted of prosecutor and protagonist Rachel Knight, and her best friends, Detective Bailey Keller and prosecutor Toni LaCollette.In writing about Rachel, Toni and Bailey, I've tried to convey the unique experience of life as a prosecutor in the Special Trials Unit. Unlike most other prosecutors, who first see their case file as they're on their way to the courtroom to pick a jury, in Special Trials, prosecutors got to work a case from the ground up; we'd meet with the detectives from the day they found the body, and do whatever it took to get the case ready for trial. That meant a lot of field work, going out to find and interview witnesses, visiting the crime scene, and coming up with ideas for unearthing more evidence.
In Guilt by Association, I do refer to the grind involved in the work, but I don’t dwell on it. I suppose it would've been more "real" if I'd spent chapters showing Rachel Knight slogging away into the wee hours writing motions, researching case law, and poring over law books, but who wants to read about that? Not me. The point of this book was to tell the essential truth while still having fun. I wanted to have fun in the writing and I wanted you to have fun in the reading. So you'll forgive me, I hope, for giving up that particular bit of reality in favor of focusing on the thrill of the chase, the intrigue of unusual cases involving "murder most foul", and the warm camaraderie between Rachel Knight, and her buddies Toni and Bailey.