Implied Consent, my latest book, will be published on January 26, 2023. I started writing it right after we were sent home from Left Coast Crime in March of 2020, the convention having been shut down by COVID. Those times were so uncertain. In my line of work as an attorney, hearings stopped. I had a lot of time on my hands, like everyone else, and was anxious under the cloud of an uncertain future. A lot of writers couldn’t write. I couldn’t stop writing. I was in the mood to pick a fight.
The inspiration for Implied Consent was ripped from the headlines. Specifically, Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill in which he chronicles his pursuit of the Harvey Weinstein story. At the crux of Farrow’s story is his astonishment that Weinstein sexually harassed women in his employment. Working women, such as myself, are not so surprised. We all have stories.
The view of a victimized employee is only a sliver of the truth. We don’t see the extent of the manipulation and power structures that encourage, facilitate, and protect exploitation. That is the story I wanted to tell, not from the point-of-view of an astonished male, but from the point-of-view of someone who has been there and whose mission is to dismantle as much of this system as she can.
That is when my protagonist, Maureen Gould, came into being. She was in the mood to pick a fight, too.
Maureen is a born-and-raised San Francisco attorney in solo practice specializing in sexual harassment cases. I picked San Francisco because I lived there in college and know the terrain. She lives in an urban chic converted warehouse not far from where I once worked. Her office is in an historical Jackson Square building with a view of Coit Tower and filled with heavy wooden furniture reminiscent of a 19th century lawyer’s office. Her paralegal/office mom, Yolanda Martinez, nurtures her and worries about her whereas Maureen’s family of origin story is complicated. When the book opens, Maureen’s marriage to the tall, dark, handsome Jake Kuhn, is strained.
In the first scene, Maureen is giving an impromptu press conference on the courthouse steps following a victorious jury verdict in a school sexual harassment case. This scene came to me like a bolt of lightning, and it is from here the story flows.
After the press conference, Maureen’s investigator, who is lounging back at the office, calls to tell her that a young woman showed up, carrying a suitcase, and crying. She will only speak to Maureen. The young woman is Josephine Navarre, an assistant for Reginald “The Duke” Cleville, a Hollywood producer. They were staying at the Mark Hopkins Hotel while they visited locations for an upcoming movie and courted local backers, when he assaulted her. She fought back. He fired her in retaliation. Maureen, and I, take on her fight for justice.
Why I Write Legal Thrillers
Writing is therapeutic for me. I write about social issues ensconced within a puzzle mystery and legal thriller. Social issues provide not only context but character motivation. The puzzle mystery keeps me intrigued as I write. The legal thriller is the venue for my battles of good versus evil.
The book is currently up on Netgalley and pulling in reviews so praising that I am humbled. If you are interested in reviewing, please check it out. https://www.netgalley.com/widget/440981/redeem/a12147784f6b910186a8a7ddc86b8ab2297f19ec8f89cb5aa118a605c782b9d5
What About You? What’s Your Inspiration?
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While still in high school, she was one of the illustrators of the original Dungeons and Dragons. Art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting, studying the Irish language, or hanging out with her friends at mystery conventions.
6. Sales: Is the Publisher Selling Books?