Pamela Wechsler, a lawyer, legal consultant and television writer has now begun her career as a novelist. Her debut novel MISSION HILL is the first in a series featuring Abby Endicott. Endicott is chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit in Boston, where she investigates and prosecutes the city’s most dangerous killers. She attended the elite Winsor school, graduated from Harvard Law School, and has been known to change into an evening gown amidst bodies in the morgue. She loves her job, and is committed to it. But among Abby’s many secrets is her longtime affair with fellow prosecutor Tim Mooney, a married father of one.
One night, Abby is awakened very late by a phone call from her favorite detective, who reports that there has been a horrific murder but is vague about the specifics. When she arrives at the crime scene and discovers the identity of the victim, she knows the terror and tragedy are only beginning.
Pamela Wechsler delivers a gripping and very human portrayal of a woman who will stop at nothing to find out the truth, even if it challenges everything she believes about justice. We are thrilled that she could be a guest this week on the blog!
Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
I was a television writer before I started writing MISSION HILL. I spent seven years in Los Angeles, where I was a legal consultant and writer for several network dramas. The shows I worked on were either police procedurals or legal dramas, so in some ways, writing MISSION HILL wasn’t a big leap. There are differences, however, between writing a script and writing a novel. In television, the pace is much faster; an episode can be pitched, outlined, written, and produced in a few weeks. It took me four months to write the first draft of MISSION HILL. Scripts are much leaner than novels—a one hour drama is about 60 pages long, MISSION HILL is about 300 pages. Also, scripts are mostly dialogue, with little room for description.
What are the hardest and easiest things about your job?
I find that the hardest and easiest things about being a novelist are one and the same: I work at home—alone.
When I was a prosecutor, I was constantly interacting with other people: detectives, victims, witnesses, defense attorneys, judges, and juries. As a television writer, I collaborated with other writers, producers, studio executives, actors, directors, members of the crew. Writing a novel is a solitary pursuit. I can spend the entire workday alone in my apartment, without talking to anyone.
What’s your next big thing?
MISSION HILL is the first in a three book series with St. Martin’s/ Minotaur. Right now, I’m working on the next Abby Endicott book. I’m also consulting on a couple of television pilots.
Has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
Some of the plot lines in MISSION HILL were drawn from my own experiences, but the characters are completely fictional. Since the places and some of the events are real, people look for themselves in the book.
Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why that person
My first reader is my father. He’s my biggest supporter, but he’s not a pushover. He gives really good notes about plot and character, and he isn’t shy about telling me when something needs work.
PAMELA WECHSLER grew up in the Boston area and is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University School of Law. After spending fifteen years as a criminal prosecutor at the local, state and federal levels, she moved to Los Angeles, where she spent seven years as a legal consultant and writer for network television shows, including:Law and Order; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; Law and Order: Trial by Jury; Conviction; and Canterbury’s Law. Currently, she is working on the next Abby Endicott novel, and consulting on television shows.