Pamela Samuels Young is an award-winning author of five novels and a contributor to Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes. Pamela is the latest to share some of her thoughts on crime fiction in this Quick Hit series.
Down & Out: How did you start writing? What do you remember as your earliest inspiration?
Samuels Young: I’ve always been an avid reader. Although I majored in journalism in college and worked as a television news writer for several years, I never thought about writing a novel. After finishing law school, I developed a passion for reading mysteries, particularly legal thrillers. It began to bug me, however, that I never saw women or people of color depicted as hot shot attorneys in the legal thrillers I read. I would close the books feeling satisfied with the story, but disappointed about the lack of diversity in the cast of characters. One day, I decided that I would write the kind of legal thriller that I wanted to read. With five legal thrillers behind me, I can definitely say I discovered my passion.
D&O: What is it about Scoundrels that piqued your interest? Or, how did Gary Phillips convince you to contribute a story?
Samuels Young: As soon as I heard about Scoundrels, I loved the concept for the book. Bad actors make great characters. That’s reinforced with every book I write. The early draft of my legal thriller Buying Time had only a few lines from my protagonist’s obnoxious father-in-law, who was a bit of a scoundrel in his own way. After my test readers kept commenting on how much they enjoyed his despicable antics, I decided to give him a larger role in the book. People enjoy characters they love to hate.
D&O: Do you think readers will respond differently to stories firmly rooted in white collar crime? How does this collection differ from standard crime fiction fare?
Samuels Young: The public outcry over financial scandals like the Enron scam and the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, as well as the popularity of TV shows like American Greed demonstrate that white collar crime hits a very personal cord with people. I think it’s because most of these bad actors had great lives before they launched into a life of crime. Their greed makes us shake our heads because we can’t understand how someone with so much could want even more and feel no shame about destroying the lives of others as they went about their fraud and deceit. Personally, I feel that write collar criminals are just as pathological and heartless as murderers and rapists. They just wear suits.
You can visit Pamela Samuels Young online here.
The Scoundrels ebook is currently available for the KINDLE and NOOK.
You can also buy this as a trade paperback from AMAZON OR you can ask for it from your favorite Indie Bookstore…they can get it for you.