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Monday, November 02, 2015

Interview Series: Una Tiers: She Sewed Sequins On Her Hats

Hello, Una Tiers is my pen name. Chicago, Illinois is my hometown. The area is filled with libraries, museums, cool architecture and more things to do than there is a time in the day. I studied fiction writing with the best, Harry Mark Petrakis. Then my dream was put on hold in favor of making a living.

More than ten years ago, another lawyer/mystery bookstore owner invited me to a book signing. There I met Miriam Grace Monfredo who wrote mysteries teaching about the woman's rights movement. I considered teaching about legal rights through fiction.

After a terrible day in court, I wrote a story about the injustice and treachery foisted upon me. It made me laugh and feel better to even the score within the limits of my imagination. With new bad experiences, I merrily murdered (on paper) again and laughed more.

It took three years to write Judge vs Nuts, and I had a blast. I attended writing workshops and tried to learn everything about writing. A small publisher released Judge vs Nuts in 2012 and in 2015, my rights reverted back. Now I am 100% independent. Really, a publisher was not the answer for me. My new book, Lettuce Read Wills, is a short blog collection with samples of my books. If you leave a nice comment, I may ask you to be a beta reader.

My next mystery is Judge vs Lake Michigan, due for release in late 2015.

One of the things that thrill me is when a reader writes that they learned the underlying legal lesson. Or, when they ask any question. I would love to show people another side of lawyers. I would like you to think about your options.

My childhood: I was the kid reading under the covers with a flashlight. As I started the eighth grade, I'd read most of the books in our school library. So, I was granted the luxury of taking one day a month to go to the main library in downtown Chicago. Today I am the proud holder of three library cards. My house has a large book collection.

The first book I owned was a hardcover book of poems. It had a maroon cover and I carried it back and forth to school most days. Although I don't have it anymore, I think about how proud I was to own a book!

My education: I attended public schools for grade and high school, and a state University for my undergraduate and graduate work. I went to law school in downtown Chicago. You would not believe how many schools we have in the area.

What career did you plan during your education days? 
Until I was ten years old, I wanted to be a vet and dreamed of writing books. The practice of law has been a challenge. It affords me the opportunity to meet many people I would not otherwise meet.

What languages you can speak and write? 
Although I studied languages, disuse has eroded my skill. I can, however, still swear in several languages.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 
Life has been very good to me. I am blessed with tenacity, a love of books and love of daydreaming. The sun, music and books inspire me. Sometimes I re-read parts of The Secret, or Einstein's Day Dreams to get centered when I feel off track.

Which of your work has been published so far? 
I have four mysteries published. Each contains a lesson about our legal system. Some stories are about the issues faced by seniors.

If writing a book is taken as a project, what are the essentials?
First, write the complete draft. Second, set it aside for a week. Three, start your editing. Sometimes at this stage, you have to allow your characters to go in the direction they dictate. When you're happy with the manuscript, find kind people to be beta readers. They often zero in on a scene you drafted twenty-three times and fix it for you with one question. Reviews, of course, help you understand how well your message carried to your readers.

Your best quote? 
"Carol's life was sad in an Eleanor Rigby kind of way," from Not Safe for the Bank(er).

The last line of your autobiography would be…
She was a great parallel parker although she never parked an elephant; she sewed sequins on her hats and wore sprigs of mint on lapel pins.

The title of your autobiography would be…
Yes, this is my natural hair color.

Following is chapter 1 from Dorothy Daisy:
Chapter One

Did she fall asleep every night fear pounding in her ears, or did she fall asleep washed with relief that her secret was safe one more day?
Those questions were never answered.
About a year ago, I met Dorothy Daisy and her story lingers in my mind.
From the start, she was a different sort of client. Most clients call me, but Dorothy’s neighbors called me and seemed intent on telling me what she wanted. Trying to avoid the neighbors, I looked for her.
Turning down the 2700 block of Asbury, I saw rows of small, frame houses. Getting closer, an enormous three story Victorian house loomed well above the rest. What made me assume she would have a small house?
The name Daisy was printed on the bell. I rang and waited. The house seemed aloof and then I thought it whispered RUN.
“Who are you and what do you want?”
Startled, I saw a small woman who had materialized along the sidewalk next to the porch and was glaring up at me.
“Hi, I’m looking for Dorothy …Dorothy Daisy.” This eloquence came out with my heart pounding louder than the Clydesdale’s hooves on a cobble stoned street.
Silence. The woman continued to beam her annoyance at me. She looked every day of ninety, if not more. Her thick hair was white, and appeared natural. She wore glasses with enormous lens, contributing to an odd duck image. Her sweater seemed too heavy for the weather and her pedal pushers seemed too light.
Her aura carried menace and she carried a rusty garden spade clumped with mud.
“Are you Mrs. Daisy?” I tried to sound friendly to prevent attack.
“No, it’s Miss Daisy, Miss. I never married. And who are you? Are you from the city?”
“Fiona Gavelle. Your neighbors called and said you wanted to speak to a lawyer.”
“A lady lawyer?” She asked sweetly.
That netted me an invitation to return in two days. With that edict she disappeared as quickly and soundlessly as she appeared.

Links:  My Cat Paul, a video flash fiction, 

Books:  US  

Website:   email

You can also find me on Linkedin, Twitter, Goodreads, Book Dailey, BookLikes, Leafmarks, Google+  

If you love all things legal, stop by our group on Goodreads. 

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