Hi T L Bequette, congrats on your first novel, “Good Lookin’: A Joe Turner Mystery.” We’re so excited to hear more about you and the book. Let’s get to it.
As a criminal defense attorney, your practice involves defending accused murderers. How did you shift gears and decide to write fiction?
I’ve always loved to write creatively. As an attorney, I have plenty of opportunities to write, but creativity is generally frowned upon. You can’t make up the law, after all. So, when I finally stopped making excuses and started writing, it was a wonderful feeling—like seeing an old friend for the first time in years.
How did Joe Turner start to take shape in your mind? When did you know you had to get the story out there?
I’ve practiced criminal defense for nearly thirty years, so my job has given me quite a trove of real-life tales that are often crazier than fiction. Also, a significant part of the book follows the exploits of twin boys. As a father of teenage twins, I’ve gained some insight there as well. They would disagree, by the way
In “Good Lookin’: A Joe Turner Mystery,” how much of it would you say is fiction and how much of it is derived from real life?
The protagonist, Joe Turner is a criminal defense attorney like me. When faced with defending a client who is actually innocent, he stresses out and drinks too much. Also, a bit like me, I suppose. Joe is also a smartass and very witty—like I would be if I could magically stop conversations and take lots of time to think of great lines.
If you weren’t a criminal defense attorney, would you still write a crime mystery? Do you want to explore other genres?
That’s a great question. I’ve thought about other genres, but I have so much material and stories yet to tell, I think mysteries will keep me busy for a while.
If you have a chance to partner with Netflix, who would you like cast for as Joe Turner?
Kyle Chandler, I think. He’s likeable.
Besides the real-life observations, where do you draw your inspiration from?
In my genre, Louise Penny is a wonderful writer. Also, you can’t beat John Grisham for storytelling.
Without giving much away, can you think of the one scene that made you go, “Ah, this is perfect!”
Is it okay to have two? The first involves an abusive bully. Spoiler alert, I suppose, but let’s just say I enjoyed writing the resolution of that part of the story. Also, there is one final twist in the very last line of the book. I think it’s cool.
Here are some rapid-fire questions for you. Answer with the first thought that comes to your mind. Ready? Let’s go.
Tea or Coffee
‘Rear Window’ or ‘L.A. Confidential’
Jazz or Country Music
Prefer writing in the morning or late at night
Video Game or Movie
What’s the one thing you learned when writing the book?
That organization — keeping plot lines and characters straight — is an underrated part of writing.
Tell us one thing about yourself that we likely don’t know.
I once worked in the largest prune dehydrator in the world.