Murder Books is pleased to present the following interview with Pamela Wechsler, the author of Mission Hill, the first in an exciting new series of legal thrillers set in Boston and featuring Abby Endicott, the Harvard-educated state prosecutor who specializes in homicide. Before Mission Hill, Pamela was a technical advisor and legal consultant on the television shows Law and Order and Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Before that, she was a prosecuting attorney, at the local, state, and federal levels. Pamela also has writing and/or producing credits on six television series: Law & Order Criminal Intent, Canterbury’s Law, Conviction, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Doubt, and Bull. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University Law School.
MB: A lot of writers were the ones who, as kids, organized the other neighborhood kids to participate in plays and games based on what they were reading at the time. Were you that kid?
Pamela: I’ve always been an introvert. My favorite game was scrabble. When I first moved to Los Angeles to write for television, the showrunner suggested that I take an acting class to help develop my craft. It was a great idea so I figured I’d give it a try. I signed up for a workshop in Hollywood, audited the first class, and promptly dropped out.
MB: Did you have creative writing ambitions before college and law school, or was this something you discovered later?
Pamela: I came to it later in life. When I was younger, I was an avid reader, and my mother wrote book reviews for local newspapers, but I never thought I’d write fiction.
MB: You have writing, producing, and consulting credits on at several law-oriented television series. What drew you from your day job as a prosecutor to the world of TV series consulting and eventually script writing?
Pamela: When I was a prosecutor in Boston, a friend of a friend was looking for technical advice on a script about prosecutors in Boston. This experience opened up a whole new world to me—writing for television. I was hooked. I spent a lot of time studying the craft and, eventually, I tried writing my own scripts.
MB: The world of TV writing and producing is undoubtedly very exciting and fulfilling, but are there any aspects of your life as a courtroom attorney that you miss?
Pamela: I miss the significance of what I did. Prosecutors have real and immediate impact on the community they serve. I loved working with victims and their families.
MB: Abby Endicott, the main character in your in your debut novel, Mission Hill, is a vivid, complex woman who is able to move fluidly between high-brow society and the ordinary folks. Where did she come from?
Pamela: I wanted to write about a woman who lived in two very different worlds. I drew from my own experiences. I met with a lot of different types of people when I was in the DA’s Office. As for the more glamorous part of Abby’s life, I didn’t grow up in a Brahmin family but I spent a lot of time with people who did.
MB: One of the enduring problems of writing characters who appear in a series of novels is that, while they have to grow, you can’t let them go through some major personal evolution within the confines of a single book, because there won’t be any room for them to grow in later installments. Without giving anything critical away, can you tell us how Abby Endicott will change in The Graves, the next novel in the series, and beyond?
Pamela: In Mission Hill, Abby made some major life decisions. For example, she chose her career and her boyfriend over her family money. In The Graves, she will have to deal with the fallout from her choices.
MB: You must be extremely disciplined and organized to maintain a career as an author and a television series producer/writer. What’s your secret?
Pamela: I don’t have a secret, but I can tell you my motivation—I don’t want to go back to practicing law!
MB: Thank you for taking the time out of what is an obviously very busy schedule to do this interview for Murder Books. I know our readers will find your story fascinating and your books an absolute pleasure to read.
To learn more about Pamela and her novels, please visit her website: Pamela Wechsler.
The Graves, the second book in her excellent, extremely authentic series about Boston prosecutor Abby Endicott, is now available from Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, and it can be purchased wherever books are sold.
Pamela Wechsler was interviewed for Murder Books by Roger Johns.