Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
When a straight-laced L.A. lawyer finds herself trapped in a web of domestic violence, a bad boy disguised as a good guy comes to her rescue . . . with shocking consequences. Pamela Samuels Young's newest legal thriller is a scandalous tale of blackmail, murder and betrayal, evoking John Grisham with a sister’s twist!
Disbarred attorney Waverly Sloan is unwittingly drawn into a financial scheme targeting the terminally ill. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, federal prosecutor Angela Evans is determined to bring him down. Before she can, it’s Angela’s life that begins to unravel. Enter Dre, an unassuming guy with a dark, dangerous side who comes to Angela’s rescue. The lives of all three characters—Waverly, Angela and Dre—intersect, and soon, they’re on the run . . . forced to rely on each other if they’re going to survive.
“Young's latest release, Buying Time, lived up to her stellar reputation. I literally could not put this book down.”
--Idrissa Uqdah, African American Literature Book Club
`Buying Time' by Pamela Samuels Young is definitely one you can picture being played out on the big screen. Shoot-outs, murder for hire and accusations keep this story moving forward with everyone pointing the finger trying to lay blame. Great read!
--OOSA Online Book Club, Book of the Month
Excerpt: Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Lawyers get a bad rap. Strip away the arrogance, the greed and the half-truths, and you’ll find a decent human being underneath. That’s exactly how Waverly Sloan saw himself. A decent guy who’d screwed up.
Waverly pulled his battered BMW into the parking stall outside his Culver City town house and turned off the engine. He dreaded going inside. All the way home, he imagined his wife’s face contorting in horror in reaction to the news he was about to deliver.
He closed his eyes and rehearsed the spiel in his head. In forty-eight hours, I’m going to be disbarred, he would tell her. So, you’ll have to stop teaching Pilates three days a week and get a real job.
Waverly exited the car and climbed the short flight of stairs to their unit. He was a large, solidly built man with skin the color of honey. Borderline handsome, his lopsided smile was the primary source of his appeal. It compelled people to like him.
“You’re home early,” Deidra called out the second he opened the front door.
Waverly found her in the kitchen, poised over a cutting board chopping carrots and bell peppers. He dumped his keys on the counter, walked up behind her and swallowed her up in a bear hug. “I’m home early because I couldn’t stand being away from you for another second.”
Deidra reared back to peck him on the lips, then returned to her chopping.
Resting against the center island, Waverly folded his arms and stared at his wife. At thirty-seven—five years his junior—Deidra had the tight, voluptuous body of a highly compensated stripper. She had creamy brown skin and long, auburn hair that fell past her shoulders. After two years of marriage, Waverly still had no idea what her real hair looked like underneath the five-hundred dollar weave.
“Is everything okay?” Deidra glanced back at him over her shoulder.
His wife had good instincts, at least about him. Waverly eyed the knife in her hand. He had a mental image of Deidra accidentally chopping off a finger when she heard what he had to say.
“I love you,” Waverly said, not in an effort to sidestep her question, but because it was what he truly felt.
“Ditto.” She smiled, then waited.
Waverly had wanted Deidra from the moment he spotted her walking out of a store on Rodeo Drive loaded with shopping bags. Instinct told him there was little chance that a woman like her would give a guy like him a second glance. He was only in Beverly Hills for a meeting with an opposing counsel. Risk-taker that he was, Waverly turned on his charm and it worked. Too bad that same skill couldn’t get him out of his current fix.
He took a bottle of Chardonnay from the refrigerator and poured a glass for each of them. “What if I decided not to practice law anymore?” he began.
The pace of Deidra’s chopping slowed. “I thought you liked practicing law.” She placed the knife on the counter and turned to face him. “What would you do instead?”
He shrugged and cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking about insurance investments.”
Deidra put a hand on her hip. “Insurance? Can you make any real money from that?”
Waverly shrugged again. “I hope to find out.”
According to a guy he’d met at a legal conference, he could make a bundle in the viatical business. Waverly had no idea what a viatical was, only that it had something to do with insurance. He had an appointment to talk with the guy after his appearance before the State Bar.
He could tell that his wife wasn’t happy about his possible change of professions. The men in Deidra’s life before him had given her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it. Now, Waverly worked hard to do the same, often placating her with promises of better things to come. Deidra enjoyed the prestige of being a lawyer’s wife and was banking on Waverly eventually landing a case that propelled them to the big leagues.
“This doesn’t mean we’ll have to put off moving, does it?” Deidra asked.
Waverly had promised that she could start house shopping as soon as his next case settled. But even if he saved every dime he made for the next forty years, he still wouldn’t be able to afford the gated communities where Deidra wanted to relocate.
“Maybe,” he said.
She was about to complain, but apparently noticed the angst on his face and retreated.
Waverly took a sip of wine and debated delaying his planned conversation with Deidra until he was absolutely certain about his situation. There was a slim chance that he might be hit with a suspension rather than disbarment. He’d hired Kitty Mancuso, a sixty-plus powerhouse mouthpiece whose client base consisted exclusively of rich, white-collar criminals and lawyers who’d screwed up. If anybody could save the day, it was Kitty.
“I’m going to put on my sweats,” Waverly said, wimping out. “How long before dinner’s ready?”
“Not sweats,” Deidra replied. “Find some nice slacks. They’ll be here at six.”
Deidra looked away, sheepishly. “Mom, Dad and Rachel. Didn’t I tell you?”
No, she had not. If she had, he would have faked a migraine. “Uh, I just remembered a motion I forgot to file.”
Deidra narrowed her eyes and playfully pointed the knife inches from his nose. “Don’t even think about it.”
* * *
By the time their dinner guests arrived, Waverly was seated in the den, insufficiently buzzed and ready for the show. Watching his wife’s dysfunctional family was better than reality TV.
Leon Barrett, Deidra’s pint-size father, strutted in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He waited about three beats, then started boasting about his new sixty-inch flat screen. Rachel, Deidra’s older sister, showed off a diamond bracelet a new boyfriend supposedly gave her. Waverly suspected she’d bought it herself.
Leon spotted Waverly sitting in the den and made a beeline in his direction.
“How’s the law business these days, counselor?” Leon’s thumbs hung from his belt loops like a cowboy and he rocked back and forth from heel to toe.
Waverly didn’t bother to stand. “I’m making it.”
Leon walked over to the sliding glass door and surveyed their small patio. Waverly wondered what he would criticize first.
“So, when are you two going to give up this place for a real home?” Leon joked.
Instead of answering, Waverly reached for his wineglass and took another sip. The thought of Leon Barrett finding out that he’d been disbarred made him want to puke.
“They’re building some new homes in The Estates,” Leon continued. He always referred to Palos Verdes Estates as The Estates. Waverly figured he’d moved there just so people would think he lived on an estate.
“If you’d bought over there when I told you to, you’d have nothing but money in the bank.” Leon owned a small construction firm that had done well, in part, because he was a major tightwad.
The wine was doing nothing to reduce Waverly’s irritation level. Too bad his own father was dead and gone. Henry Sloan wouldn’t have just thought about telling Leon Barrett to kiss his ass, he would have done it.
The evening plodded painfully along as it always did. Deidra’s father and sister talked about themselves nonstop while Deidra’s mother, Myrtle, smiled and nodded like a big bobble head.
“I have to go to Paris at the end of the week to interview a bunch of obnoxious designers,” Rachel said, feigning annoyance. She was a fashion editor for Vogue. Like her sister, Rachel was a good-looking woman, but didn’t possess Deidra’s talent for capitalizing on her beauty.
“I hate you,” Deidra exclaimed. “I’ve been dying to go back to Paris.”
“Why don’t you come with me?” Rachel prodded. “I’ll be there three weeks. It’ll be fun.”
Deidra gave Waverly a hopeful look.
Having Deidra out of town for a few weeks would give him time to get a game plan in place. But the funds for a ticket to Paris didn’t exist. His face must’ve conveyed that.
“If you can’t afford it,” Leon said, facetiously. “I’d be glad to pick up the tab.”
Waverly smiled across the table at his father-in-law. “That’s a very generous offer.” He paused to take a sip of wine. “And we’d love to take you up on it.”
A razor-sharp silence whipped around the table. No one was more dazed than his blowhard father-in-law. Leon Barrett frequently offered to share his money, but never actually parted with any. Waverly thought the man might swallow his toothpick. Deidra shot him a look hot enough to scorch his eyeballs, but he pretended not to notice.
Pleased with what he had just pulled off, Waverly got up and retrieved another bottle of wine from the wine rack.
* * *
The minute her family walked out of the door, Deidra went off.
“What in the hell was that about?” she shouted. “How dare you let Daddy pay for my trip?”
Waverly headed back to the den with Deidra on his heels. “He offered.”
“He’s offered to pay for a lot of things, and you’ve always refused. Are we having money problems? Because if we are, I need to know.”
“Cases have been a little slow coming in, that’s all.”
“So slow that you can’t come up with four or five grand for a trip to Paris?”
Four or five grand? He wanted to laugh. “Look, I’m working everything out. Just give me some time.”
“Well, you better figure something out fast because this is not what I signed up for. We were only supposed to be living here for a few months and it’s been two years. I’ve never lived in a place this small before, but I did it for you.”
Small? Their town house was more than two thousand square feet.
“And now you’re telling me that we’re basically bankrupt.”
“We’re not bankrupt.” Not yet.
“If we can’t blow a few grand on a vacation, that’s bankruptcy as far as I’m concerned,” Deidra barked. “And please don’t embarrass me in front of my family like that ever again. If we’re having money problems, I should know about it before they do.” Deidra stalked out of the kitchen.
Waverly opened the cabinet over the bar, grabbed a fifth of brandy and took a swig straight from the bottle. His wife’s little tantrum was really uncalled for. But what the hell? He had never expected to keep a woman like Deidra happy forever.
Too bad he hadn’t listened to his father. After divorcing his third wife, Henry Sloan swore off pretty women. Way too much work, he’d told his son. Find yourself a basic broad and she’ll ride with you until the wheels fall off.
Waverly chuckled to himself. Right now, he could use a woman who could hang, because the ride was about to get rocky.
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Intimate Conversation with
Pamela Samuels Young
Lawyer and author Pamela Samuels Young continues to receive accolades for her page turning legal thrillers that present the legal detail and mouthwatering suspense of John Grisham, combined with the understanding of urban love, explosive language and humor of Terry McMillan. Young's latest offering, the gripping and suspenseful legal thriller, "Buying Time" has been honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) as the winner of its 2010 Fiction Award. The BCALA Literary Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-Americans.
The Awards Committee described "Buying Time" as a "captivating, suspenseful thriller." Young will receive the award at the American Library Association's Conference in Washington, D.C. in June. "Buying Time" is Pamela Samuels Young's fourth novel and is available everywhere books are sold.
BPM: Pamela tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
I definitely have a passion for writing. Nothing else could explain my willingness to sit in front of my computer for ten hours a day or my eagerness to rise at four in the morning to write before going to work. I enjoy creating characters and putting them in precarious situations. I want readers to get wrapped up in the mysteries I create, to love, hate and root for my characters, and to close each book and feel as if they got their money’s worth.
BPM: How did you feel when you saw your first book in bookstores?
I still have a very vivid memory of seeing Every Reasonable Doubt on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble near my home in February 2006. I went to the store on the book's scheduled release date, not really expecting to find it. My stepson and I searched the shelves but couldn't find it. I was about to leave, but decided to, ask for it at the reception desk. To my delight, the clerk found it and led us to the book. I just stood there staring at it. So much blood, sweat and tears led me to this point. My stepson took out his cell phone and snapped a picture of me holding the book. And just as I started to started to tear up, he promptly warned me not to embarrass him by crying in the store.
BPM: Take us inside your latest legal thriller, Buying Time.
My newest legal thriller is a scandalous tale of blackmail, murder and betrayal, evoking John Grisham with a sister’s twist! Recently disbarred attorney Waverly Sloan is unwittingly drawn into a financial scheme targeting people who are terminally ill. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, federal prosecutor Angela Evans is determined to bring him down. Before she can, it’s Angela’s life that begins to unravel. Enter Dre, an unassuming guy with a dark, dangerous side who comes to Angela’s rescue.
The lives of all three characters—Waverly, Angela and Dre—intersect, and soon, they’re on the run . . . forced to rely on each other if they’re going to survive.
BPM: What inspired you to begin writing mysteries after careers in journalism and law?
I've always loved reading mysteries, particularly those that involve fascinating legal cases. It bothered me, however, that the legal thrillers I read never depicted women and African-American attorneys. So . . . I decided to fill the void.
I knew pretty early that I wanted to be a writer, having worked on school newspapers in junior high, high school and college. When I decided to major in journalism at the University of Southern California, I didn't give much thought to creative writing. At the age of 18, I didn't have the guts to even consider a career as a novelist. The writers I enjoyed reading – James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion – were incredibly talented literary writers. I knew I didn't have that kind of poetic writing talent. So I pursued a career in journalism and later, earned a law degree. Flash forward several years and I somehow gathered the courage to give creative writing a try.
BPM: What is your process for creating a novel? Do you plot out the story or do the characters speak to you?
I will spend any where from a few weeks to as long as three months outlining a book before I sit down to write. I also mull over my story a lot. I'm thinking about it in the shower, while I'm standing in line at the grocery story, during my 45-minute commute to work. I can almost see each chapter as if it were a scene in a movie. Only after I have a completed outline do I start writing. And when I write, I go from page one to the last page without doing much editing. For me, it's psychologically motivating to complete that first draft, even if it's so bad I'd never dare show it to anyone. Once I have a finished first draft, then the real writing starts. I revise, and revise and revise some more. That process can last six months or more.
BPM: What are your sources of creativity?
Imagining thousands of readers enjoying my books inspires me. I'm a morning person. My creative juices really flow around five a.m.
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
I want to help destroy the publishing industry’s belief that only African American readers will read stories with African American characters. People who love mysteries want a compelling story. My primary goal is to write entertaining thrillers with diverse characters and a storyline that keeps readers turning the page.
BPM: Do you have any difficulty balancing your writing career with your day job and your personal life?
Yes! I'm fortunate to be working part-time as an in-house attorney. But it's still a struggle balancing my legal career, promoting my current books, and writing my next novel, on top of being a wife and step-mother. I'm just thankful that I have a supportive job and family. Staying afloat requires organization and a lot of physical stamina.
BPM: Your life is extremely busy! What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers that are also juggling full-time careers ?
Learn to say "no" and don't feel guilty about it. Right now, I'm practicing law, promoting my books nearly every weekend, working on my next novel, and teaching a business law course at the University of Redlands School of Business. I'm also on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and I write a column for Global Woman magazine. I love teaching, but I recently decided that I just don't have the time or energy to teach another course this year. I also turned down a request to join the board of directors of a local non-profit group. I wish I could do it all, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day. For now, my primary focus is on finishing my next book and making sure I spend some quality time with my husband, who rarely sees me because I'm gone so much promoting my books.
BPM: How do you spend your free time?
Free time? What's that? Writing is how I spend my free time and I love every minute of it. I still work part-time as a lawyer and when I'm not at work, I'm usually someplace writing – be it at home, the library or the nearest Starbucks. Sometimes I write early in the morning before work, other times I'm up until one or two in the morning typing away on my laptop. My most productive writing time is when I can get away from home and lock myself in my timeshare in Palm Desert for a weekend. When I'm in that environment, the writing is non-stop. When I'm writing, I'm happy.
BPM: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry?
You need to have faith in your talent to survive in this business. Even the mega-successful writers—e.g., J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and John Grisham, just to name a few—were rejected by multiple publishers. The writers who survive are those who ignore the rejection and just keep writing.
I learned that it's a very tough business. As a result, you have to have faith in your talent and keep going despite the rejection. I've worked in both television news and law and I never faced any where near the rejection and difficulties in those careers that I faced trying to become a novelist. In fact, both law school and the California Bar exam were way easier. I also learned that you have to think like a businessperson, not a writer. My books are products. I have to be inventive and unrelenting about getting my product to readers.
In addition to bookstore signings, I've done email blasts, online advertising, giveaways, speaking engagements, and of course book club meetings. I believe that one of the primary reasons both In Firm Pursuit and Every Reasonable Doubt have made the Essence Best-Seller's list is my heavy focus on book clubs. During a recent trip to the D.C. area, I did three book clubs in one day, along with a reception at a friend's home and a panel discussion at a bookstore. It was a long day, but I reached a lot of people.
Book clubs are social networks and they are great sources for word-of-mouth promotion. If the book club members enjoyed reading one of my books, it's likely that they're going to mention it to their friends, family and co-workers, and go back to the store to pick up my next book.
BPM: Have you gotten any sound advice from fellow authors?
Christian fiction author Victoria Christopher Murray told me that the writers who survive in this business are the persistent ones. She said that producing a book a year has been one of the keys to her success. Her fan base has followed her with each book and continues to grow. It's definitely my plan to produce a new book every year.
BPM: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Find the writing process that works best for you. When I wrote my first book, I struggled a lot with the writing. I didn't prepare an outline or even have the storyline worked out in my head. I had an idea for the characters and the setting and I just sat down and started writing. I would spend weeks on a single chapter, rewriting what I had written during the previous session. Later, I ended up tossing out several chapters that I spent weeks working on.
Now, I have a completed outline before I begin writing a single word. It can take me a couple of months to complete an outline. Then, I sit down and write my story from beginning to end without doing any major revising. My goal at the start of a new novel is to produce a decent first draft with a solid, engaging plot. Once I'm satisfied with the plot, then I go back and spend as much time as it takes to polish the writing—anywhere from three to six months. This process helped me cut my writing time tremendously. It took me three years to write In Firm Pursuit (written, first but sold second) and only one year to finish Every Reasonable Doubt.
BPM: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
Book clubs, book clubs, book clubs! I've met with close to 50. Book club members are avid readers. If a book club member loves you, she will recommend your book to others. I've gained speaking events, other book club meetings, great friends and, of course, lots of fans from my book club appearances.
BPM: What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
That readers view authors as celebrities. Also, publishers do very little to help promote your book.
BPM: What is your proudest moment as a professional writer?
Getting unsolicited praise for my novels. More than a few friends have met others who raved to them about my books, not knowing that they knew me. For example, a friend was talking to someone she'd just met at a bar and the subject of good books came up. My friend was about to tell the woman about my book, but the woman beat her to it.
BPM: What's the best advice you were given about writing?
During my pre-published days, a writing instructor told me to outline a novel like mine and study the story structure. That significantly improved my writing. I outlined John Grisham's novel, The Firm. I immediately understood how the story came together and could see the work that my novel needed in terms of story structure.
BPM: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
I spent way too much money on printed promotional materials for my first book. All you really need are a great website, some nice bookmarks and, if you can afford it, some posters for bookstores. I would love to do more travel to meet with more book clubs and readers. But unfortunately, I only have so many frequent flyer miles.
To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.
BPM: What are some of your favorite authors (past, present, or future)?
The book that had the greatest impact on me as a kid was Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land. I can still remember stumbling across a copy of the book at my aunt's house when I was about twelve. It was the first book I remember reading that had African-American characters and I was thrilled to be reading about people who looked like me. It was also a very gritty and graphic coming of age story. I promptly "borrowed" the book without asking for permission for fear that my aunt would think I was too young to be reading such a sexually graphic book. After that, I developed an insatiable appetite for African-American fiction.
These days, I read more mysteries than anything else. Some of my favorite authors include Walter Mosley, Sandra Brown, Tami Hoag, Joseph Finder, James Patterson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, John Grisham and Greg Iles. I love a good plot and I think all of these writers write very entertaining novels. I also enjoy contemporary fiction and I'll buy anything Terry McMillan decides to write. I spend a lot of time studying the story structure of novels that I've enjoyed reading, which has helped me tremendously with pacing.
BPM: What do you want the world to know most about you?
That I grew up in Compton, California, which I'm very proud of. When I mention my hometown, people automatically assume that I dodged bullets on the way to school every day. But it was nothing like that. I had two strong, hard-working parents, who still live in Compton today. The foundation they laid – faith in God, hard work and education – is responsible for who I am and everything I have achieved.
Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Angela Evans should be on top of the world. She’s a smart, attractive prosecutor who’s about to marry a successful judge. But the closer Angela gets to saying “I do,” the more she wants out. Then she meets Dre, a street-smart brother who’s nothing like her stuffy fiancé Cornell. Angela eventually calls off the wedding, but Cornell can’t accept the rejection. He turns violent in a way Angela never could have imagined. Dre comes to her rescue, but Angela soon learns that he’s hiding a shady past, and her world falls apart all over again.
On Sale Now! Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
ISBN-10: 098156271X | ISBN-13: 978-0981562711Pick up a Copy Today at Amazon
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Bookclubs, select one of Pamela’s novels for your book club meeting and she will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. Read more book excerpts here.
Media room: Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
To learn more about this author visit http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/pamelasyoung.htm