How did you come up with the concept for The Whole Truth?
The news, specifically the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping story. That's often how it happens for me. I'll read or hear a news item, and then start playing the "what if" game. Elizabeth was taken from the bedroom she shared with her sister. I turned that around to brothers, and asked myself what the effect might be on the younger brother, who feels guilty that his older brother was taken. That forms the prologue.
Is any part of The Whole Truth factual?
Other than the tweak of the Smart story, nothing. As I usually do, I made it up, but drew on my legal experiences and research.
How closely is this The Whole Truth based on your life or a case you’ve had?
Nothing at all, though I based the character of Johnny LaSalle, in a small way, on a defendant I once observed in court when I was clerking for the DA's office. He came in, hands shackled behind him, but holding a Bible. That fascinated me. He had piercing blue eyes and seemed like the kind of guy who could gather followers around him. Was he a sincere believer, or a con man?
That's one of the questions in The Whole Truth.
How long did The Whole Truth take you to complete?
Most of my first drafts take about four months. T hen there is the editing process, a couple of months. But I'm usually thinking of ideas months, sometimes years, before I start writing.
What is the symbolism for the title The Whole Truth?
There is a major puzzle in the center of the novel. Who is Johnny LaSalle? Is he who he says he is? And what really happened all those years ago? Is there something my lead character, Steve Conroy, doesn't know? Something shattering and life changing? Of course! This is a novel of suspense, so nothing is quite as it seems. Will Steve ever learn the whole truth?
Do you have a favorite character in The Whole Truth? Why?
Two minor characters caught on for me. Curls and Red. Two retired ladies who volunteer at a county hospital, and bicker at each other in the nicest way. I based them on my two great aunts, who lived together, and operated in exactly this fashion.
How much research did The Whole Truth take?
I'd say the "usual" amount. I did setting research, brushed up on the law, researched cult movements.