Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guest Author Jill Archer

How I Used My Previous Career as a Lawyer to Create My Character and Build Her World

by: Jill Archer

They say, "write what you know." Well, initially, I wasn't interested in that. My first novel was chock full of all of the stuff I adore but know nothing about: robots, interplanetary travel, genetic alteration, and lots of mysticism. It was a rambling behemoth that I knew wasn't saleable. I wanted to try again, and hopefully come up with an idea that was more accessible, a story that wasn't quite as sprawling as my first one.

During the time when I was seeking inspiration for a new project, I attended a writer's group lunch and sat next to a librarian. I've told this story before on my website, so I won't belabor it here, but the bottom line is my seat mate suggested I use my former career as inspiration for a new novel. I balked. I've read some great legal thrillers, but my heart as a reader has always been with the SF/F crowd.

I knew, if I was going to spend a year or more writing another manuscript, then it would have to involve something speculative. It would have to have characters with paranormal abilities and/or be set in a supernatural world. And how was I supposed to combine my legal background with that? Sure, some authors were writing some fun paranormal romance novels with lawyer characters but I wanted to do something different. So I decided to use my experiences as a law student, adjunct professor, and legal practitioner to create a character who was a law student -- ahem, a demon law student, that is.

Converting real world experiences into fictional tales set in a fantasy setting was fun. Professors with magic? Demon clients? A gothic campus with an underground pub named after an ancient Mesopotamian god? Creating each of these and more while writing Dark Light of Day kept me happily entertained for over a year. I'm hoping reading it will keep readers entertained for at least a few days. :-)

For fun, here's a list of typical law classes and their Dark Light of Day counter-parts. See if you can match them up.

1. Legal Research and Writing
a. Evil Deeds
2. Contracts
b. Sin and Sanction
3. Torts
c. Manipulation
4. Civil Procedure
d. Promises and Oathbreaking
5. Criminal Law
e. Council Procedure

So, how about you? Do you have an interesting career or hobby that could be used as inspiration for a novel? I'm betting you do! Do you like legal thrillers? How about other types of fiction with legal elements? What are some of your favorites? Are you a lawyer who writes fiction? Ever wondered why so many of us become novelists? (I once joked that law schools should just teach creative writing to save us all time!)

Thank you to Sarah and Kinley here at Castles & Guns for hosting me here today!

Jill lives in rural Maryland with her two children and husband, who is a recreational pilot. She blogs about books, movies, interesting people, writing and various weekend adventures.

Contact info:
Buy links for Dark Light of Day:
  • Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Light-Noon-Onyx-Novel/dp/0425257150
  • B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-light-of-day-jill-archer/1108896255
  • IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780425257159
Blog tour prizes:
  • Signed Copies of Dark Light of Day: Three signed copies of Dark Light of Day to the blog tour followers who visit the most stops. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • Ace/Roc 2012 SF/F Samplers: At each stop, to be drawn randomly from that stop’s commenters, one Ace/Roc Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 Sampler. These are bound, print samplers with a color cover and the first few pages of new work from the following authors/titles: Benedict Jacka’s FATED, Alex Hughes’ CLEAN, Jacqueline Carey’s DARK CURRENTS, Steve Bein’s DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD, Anton Strout’s ALCHEMYSTIC, and Jill Archer’s DARK LIGHT OF DAY. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to be drawn at random from all blog tour commenters.
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to the person who brings the most people to the party. To enter to win this one, tell a friend about the tour (someone who hasn’t yet commented). You’ll be entered to win when your friend stops by at any spot on the tour and tells us that you told them about the tour.

Blurb for Dark Light of Day:

Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

Excerpt from Dark Light of Day:

Failing is not an option . . .

“I’ve been watching you, wondering, waiting to see where you’d end up. After all, there are other demon law schools,” Seknecus said, making a moue of distaste that made it clear exactly what he thought of them.

“But I was happy to see that you chose St. Lucifer’s.”

Technically my mother chose St. Lucifer’s . . . But there seemed no reason to interrupt to clarify that bit of misinformation. Seknecus wandered around the room, picking through papers, flipping open and quickly shutting the front covers of various leather-bound books, never meeting my eye. I had no doubt, however, that his attention was fully focused on me.

“So, you see, seeing your name on my list wasn’t exactly a surprise, although it appeared much later than I would have liked.”

He did look at me then, with a frown of disapproval. I did my best to look expressionless because none seemed appropriate. It wouldn’t do to look amused, bored or, Luck forbid, rebellious. Seknecus stared at me with narrowed eyes and then went back to wandering.

“You’ve got some catching up to do,” he said, addressing a copy of Sin and Sanction: Codification & Case Law. “It doesn’t matter why or what excuses you’ve got for yourself. You will be held to the same standards as everyone else, regardless of whose daughter you are. And you’ve missed a lot of class already.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but he cut me off with a wave.

“Manipulation class,” he clarified. “You’re going to have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to pass. Quintus Rochester doesn’t go easy on students and he’s likely to see your absence during the early part of the semester as a challenge. You know, failing is not an option. Not if you want to live . . .”


  1. Hi Kinley & Sarah, thanks for the opportunity to guest blog today. Don't know what the weather's like where you are, but it's VERY RAINY where I am. Kids are back in school after a Monday off so I think it will be a great day to get stuff done! :-)

  2. The cover really caught my eye! I like that it's a book about demons because I need to read more of them.

  3. Hi Fiery, thank you! I love Dark Light of Day's cover too. So far, you're in good shape to win the Ace/Roc sampler I'm giving away at this stop! ;-)

  4. I love your cover Jill!!!!

    The book sounds fabulous too!!


    Lisa :)

  5. I couldn't even begin to match the counter parts. Fun to try though. DARK LIGHT OF DAY looks amazing.

  6. Thanks, Lisa!! I appreciate the kind words and congrats!

    Hi Marybelle, that's actually good to hear! St. Luck's is meant to be fun, not mirror reality too closely. ;-) Here are the answers for anyone who's curious: 1-C, 2-D, 3-A, 4-E, 5-B. The class where I most wildly veered off from personal experience and let my imagination go completely "off the map" was Manipulation class. That's the clinic class where students are taught how to use their fiery magic in order to control their demons clients. If only real life research and writing were that hands-on and exciting! :-D Thanks for stopping by this tour spot!

    I'm closing the sampler giveaway here at midnight EDT. I'll stop back by tomorrow to announce the winner. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

  7. My youngest drew the winner for this stop. Fiery Na-- you're it! :-D Please send your US mailing address to: archer at jillarcher dot com. I'll be sending out another batch of samplers next week!

    Thanks again to Sarah, Kinley, Lisa, and the rest of the Castles & Guns crew for hosting me! (Quick hello to Amber Kallyn!) Have a great fall!