Audio Interview With the Author
Audio Length: 15 minutes
Former Los Angeles prosecutor Marcia Clark became famous in 1994-95 when she prosecuted the racially-charged trial of football star O.J. Simpson, for the throat-slashing murder of his ex-wife Nichole Brown Simpson and bartender, Ronald Goldman. Shockingly, and despite overwhelming evidence, Marcia Clark lost.
In a later civil suit brought by the victims’ families, O.J. was found guilty, and was ordered to pay the plaintiffs $33.5 million. The recent release of the blockbuster TV series, THE PEOPLE V O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY relives the grueling details of the most publicized trial in history, with Ms. Clark superbly portrayed by actress Sarah Paulson.
Where is Marcia Clark today?
The prosecutor continues to try cases, but this time in the fictional world of legal thrillers. In addition she reviews appeals court cases, looking for flaws.
As a novelist, Marcia launches her second legal thriller series with BLOOD DEFENSE (May 1, 2016, Thomas & Mercer). The book portrays ambitious defense attorney Samantha (Sam) Brinkman who comes face-to-face with a murderous sociopath–and her own past. The new series comes after four other fictional thrillers and her New York Times bestselling nonfiction book, WITHOUT A DOUBT (with Teresa Carpenter), about the Simpson case.
As a self-professed “crime junky,” Clark writes with legal accuracy and uses real places in her native city of Los Angeles as backdrops. In this AUDIO interview, she talked with Authorlink recently about her work as a writer, and about the impact of the TV series on her personally.
For Clark, writing novels is “very different” than preparing for a legal case. “In a legal case the facts are all there, but in a novel, I get to decide the outcome,” she said. In fiction she isn’t “constrained by ethics.”
The hardest part about novel-writing is in coming up with an intriguing plot that also reveals something about the characters, she said. The solution to the plot must be seeded throughout the story without giving away the ending. “You can’t have the killer be someone we’ve never met who just pops up in the last chapter,” she laughed.
Despite setbacks in her career, Clark maintains a sharp sense of humor and a surprisingly easy style, both of which come through in BLOOD DEFENSE.
In the novel, BLOOD DEFENSE, Sam is struggling to keep her fledgling private practice afloat. When she lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star—and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective – she’s certain this is the case to launch her career. Although Sam has some internal doubts about her new client’s innocence, she and her two associates (her closest childhood friend and a brilliant ex-con) throw themselves into their own investigation of the murders in hopes of uncovering evidence that will provide them with reasonable doubt. Determined to find the truth even if it means breaking a few rules, Sam discovers a long-buried secret about her own family, leading her to question everything about her life in terms of right vs. wrong, and innocent vs. guilty.
The wildly popular FX series American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, with Sarah Paulson’s critically acclaimed portrayal of Clark, is now back in the news and front of mind. Marcia recently re-released her 1997 New York Times bestselling book on the Simpson case, Without a Doubt, as an e-book. The re-release has a new Foreword, in which she addresses what’s changed and what hasn’t since the trial, how the events of the past two decades have broadened her understanding of the verdict, of race relations, of gender relations and the country’s views and attitudes about domestic violence, and how celebrity and media attention continues to impact criminal cases. She also comments on Trayvon Martin (about which she did a great deal of commentary for cable news networks), Casey Anthony, Ray Rice, and all the police shootings/brutality cases and the verdicts and indictments (or lack thereof) in those cases.
Interestingly, the producers of The People v O.J.Simpson, did not consult with Marcia Clark for the series, nor did they interview anyone else involved in the case, according to Clark, presumably relying on court documentation and their own research for the extraordinarily gripping re-inactment.
Authorlink asked Marcia what it was like to see herself and the trial portrayed on television. While praising Sarah Paulson for her portrayal of Marcia, she said watching the series was like “ripping the scab off” of a deep wound. “It will never be entertainment for me,” she told Authorlink.
Praise for the New Series
“[Clark] has the start of another successful series in this page-turner featuring a ballsy protagonist with a secret past.”
“Former L.A. prosecutor Clark (The Competition) kicks off a promising new series with this top-notch whodunit leavened with gallows humor. Clark sprinkles jaw-dropping surprises through and impressively pulls off a shocker that lesser writers can only envy.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Marcia Clark’s books have hit bestseller lists, received wide critical acclaim, and earned her legions of devoted readers across the country and the globe. Her four legal thrillers featuring prosecutor Rachel Knight—The Competition, Killer Ambition, Guilt by Degrees, and Guilt by Association—have been called “refreshing and suspenseful” (Los Angeles Times), “a superlative series” (Booklist), “gritty and intriguing” (People), and “great fun”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune.
About Marcia Clark
Clark’s extensive courtroom knowledge shines in her fiction, since for ten years, as prosecutor in the LA District Attorney’s Office, she handled many high profile cases and rose to world-wide prominence as the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case. Since the Simpson trial, she has lectured publicly across the country on a variety of women’s issues, including domestic violence.
Marcia Clark is the author of the bestselling legal thrillers, The Competition, Killer Ambition, Guilt by Degrees, and Guilt by Association. A practicing criminal lawyer since 1979, she joined the L.A. District Attorney’s office in 1981, where she served as prosecutor for the trials of Robert Bardo, convicted of killing actress Rebecca Schaeffer, and most notably, O.J. Simpson.
From February 1998 to 2000 she was under contract as a legal analyst and expert commentator for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. She appeared weekly as the substitute host of Geraldo Rivera’s “Rivera Live,” and also hosted “Equal Time” for CNBC and “Judge and Jury” for MSNBC. She has also appeared on the “Oprah,” “Larry King Live,” “Today,” “The Early Show,” and “Good Morning America,” among others, and provided legal commentary on a wide variety of cable shows such as “Anderson Cooper 360” and “Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell.”
For more information, visit www.marciaclarkbooks.com.
BLOOD DEFENSE by Marcia Clark