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Oleta looked at him, opening her mouth, then thinking better of it, not asking him what kind of family put a fifteen-year-old boy on a corner, his pockets full of crack, so he could get killed over just whose corner was it anyway. She was afraid to ask Marcellus, the way he watched her with his own dead eyes. And she was flush with shame, knowing that she might have saved her boy if she had cared more about him than her next fix. It was too late by the time she realized how important her son was to her.
           
Excerpt from the opening of Joel Goldman’s Shakedown
(Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2008)

   
  1. What do you love about being a writer?
    Exploring the human condition.


  2. What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
    Getting better.


  3. If you were not a writer, what other profession would you want to pursue?
    I practiced law for 28 years. Iíd probably go back to that. Since retiring from the practice, Iíve also taught and enjoyed that.


  4. In your opinion, what is the most influential crime novel of the last 100 years?
    The Maltese Falcon because it popularized the genre, established a template that is still followed and has stood the test of time.


  5. Which fictional hero do you admire or despise the most?
    Rather than name one character, Iíll choose the everyman, the ordinary person confronted with extraordinary circumstances, forced to make hard choices and exceed his or her expectations of themselves. Those are the fictional heroes I love to read about and write about.


  6. After writing, how do you spend the rest of your time?
    My movement disorder has turned me into a bit of an exercise fanatic because I need to stay in good shape to tolerate the shakes, rattles and rolls.


  7. What city or location has the most impact on your writing?
    Kansas City is a recurring character in all my books. My fatherís family landed here early in the twentieth century and the city is part of who I am.


  8. Do your books have a message?
    Persevere.


  9. What are you currently reading?
    Just finished Lush Life by Richard Price, which was an absolute knockout. Currently reading Nothing To Lose, the latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. Iíve read the entire series and canít wait for the next one.


  10. If you could meet any person (living or dead), who would that be?
    Moses.


  11. What is your greatest vice?
    I suppose I would be more interesting if I had one that was really juicy but the worst thing I can confess to is being a sucker for American Idol and Dancing With The Stars.


  12. What is your greatest extravagance?
    Buying books that I have to read before I die. The stack keeps growing but I figure itís my guarantee of a long life if I have to finish all of them before I check out.


  13. What is your idea of misery?
    Being away from my family.


  14. What is your idea of happiness?
    Being with my wife, kids and dogs.

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