Conjuring the Tagline
The tagline for The Millionaire (Is Truth for Sale?) came to me when I sat at my keyboard, metaphorically bleeding from the forehead, trying to boil down the essence of the book into a catchy phrase, eight words or shorter. I’m sure there are tag lines that are nine words or more but since I can’t remember them, they weren’t catchy enough, so my rule is eight words or less.
(Note to file: never wait until the last minute to write a tagline. It’s a recipe for writer’s block.)
Eventually the tagline materialized out of the ether and plopped itself into my ear. At first, I thought, “What? Where did that come from?” But after contemplation, I came to believe it’s a good fit. The book bounces back and forth between two stories, that of Tony Paredes and Rick Stevens, which are both centered on their relationship to the murder victim, Oscar Wenderholm.
Truth, LIes, Coverups, and Tell-alls
Tony’s backstory involves a civil action. People are naturally suspicious when someone sues for a lot of money as the result of an injury. They wonder if the plaintiff’s story is true, given that its telling is tied to hopes of financial gain. If it’s true, why is it being sold? Shouldn’t the truth be free to everyone? If the hopes for financial gain influence the telling of a story, will it be distorted to suit the buyer’s taste?
Rick Stevens’ story is about an aspiring politician and his efforts to overcome his salacious past. His efforts were complicated when Wenderholm wrote a “tell-all” that, if published, could end his career. Again, the hopes of financial gain are tied to the truth: Stevens rewriting his history so he will be more electable and Wenderholm trying to get rich by publishing a book. (I laugh to myself every time I read that last sentence.)
Back to the story.
The judicial system went horribly wrong for Tony. He won an historically large verdict against his former teacher, Wenderholm, for sexual abuse. But when it was learned that the jurors had gone online during the deliberations (very much against the rules) and brought in the evidence they had found (very, very much against the rules), the verdict was set aside.
One beta reader thought this development was so ridiculous, he refused to finish the book. However, my little legalphiles, in the real world, jury misconduct can – and does – happen. While I was writing The Millionaire, I ran across two recent cases in which jurors brought online research into the jury room.
 I made up this word. See how I humorously played on the term “legal files” meaning a file full of legal documents to get “legalphiles” meaning people who love the law? I crack me up.
I am thrilled that The Millionaire, a Maureen Gould Legal Thriller, has been in the top ten of Amazon’s New Legal Thrillers list since its January 26, 2024, release.
It’s available on Netgalley: The Millionaire | Keenan Powell | 9798987149584 | NetGalley
About The Millionaire
When Maureen Gould’s former client, Tony Paredes, known as “The Millionaire,” is accused of killing his abuser, she believes he’s innocent. But the authorities don’t care. They throw him into jail with violent criminals who almost beat him to death to extort money he doesn’t have.
As he recovers in the hospital, Maureen must find the evidence that will convince a jury to acquit him. If he goes back, the next beating will surely kill him.
“If you love legal thrillers that are smart, jet-paced, and ring with such truth that you can’t put them down, THE MILLIONAIRE is for you. Highly recommended!” – Char Jones, Book Critique
About Keenan Powell
Keenan Powell is a Lefty and Agatha nominated author. Although she was one of original Dungeons and Dragons illustrators, art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school. The day after graduation, she moved to Alaska where she has vowed to practice until she gets it right.
She is delighted that her first Maureen Gould legal thriller, Implied Consent, averaged 5-star reviews on Netgalley and received a Booklife Editor’s Pick Review.
Visit her at: www.keenanpowellauthor.com