Interview: Andy Siegel

Today we welcome Andy Siegel, author of the Tug Wyler novels.NellyEltonJenna

Tell us a bit about yourself

When a guy’s been practicing law in New York City for thirty years and has written several novels, you don’t look at him and think, “Hey, in high school, they kept him in remedial reading through eleventh grade.” But it’s true. There I was, meeting three times a week with five other students in a room with a solid wooden door and a tiny window set up high to prevent kids from peeking. By junior year though, everybody was tall enough to look in.

From that classroom came my earliest identification with the underdog. Okay, I may have had more going on for me than the rest of the kids in there, but I’d been one of them. I knew what it felt like to be at a distinct disadvantage.

All things turn out to be connected. After I began practicing law, I quickly realized the little guys of this world—the ordinary joes unable to stand up for themselves—most needed my legal expertise and fighting spirit to take on large and powerful insurance companies.

Justice is something you shouldn’t have to compete for, … but it is.

It’s common to diss personal injury lawyers—ambulance chasers they call us. But just remember: anyone, in an instant, can become a victim. Even you.

And it’s no secret I enjoy joking around. But though my courtroom methods may appear like smart-aleck comedy to my adversary or to the individual in the robe with the gavel, my frequently unconventional approach is critical to helping me stay sane, dealing as I do on a daily basis with one set of catastrophic circumstances after another. One thing is certain: no one opposing me is ever able to anticipate all the angles I might spring in the course of a legal brawl. My courtroom clashes generally involve representing courageous survivors of traumatic brain injury on whose behalf I refuse to give up until achieving an outcome fully satisfying to my sense of justice.

What themes do you regularly visit in your writing? 

The Tug Wyler Mystery Series is everything your next book written by a lawyer is not: unapologetically profane, twisted and perverse, yet humble in its showcasing of investigation, argumentation, and litigation in the hotbed arena of medical malpractice law.

One recurrent theme in each novel can be broken down on a very basic level to a good versus evil / right versus wrong scenario. But figuring out who is good or evil, or right or wrong, is the ultimate challenge that Tug faces in each case he takes on. Most of the time his client’s represent the side of truth and justice, but not always …

A second theme that recurs in the Tug Wyler Mystery Series is the high-stakes world within which Tug works. Justice for his client’s is always at a cost—financial and/or criminal prosecution—for somebody else. So as Tug seeks to solve each case he quickly finds himself immersed in a universe, which turns out to be a highly dangerous place populated by a series of increasingly nefarious characters, each with a sinister agenda of his own.

What inspired you to write it?

A baseball mom/former book editor asked me to write thirty-five pages of content after I shared a “trial story” with her, so I did. A week later she said, “You have a unique voice. What do you call it?” My answer: a barbarian with a pen. I then began writing my debut novel, Suzy’s Case, inspired by real life events that took place in my legal career when I took over a bunch of civil injury cases from a criminal attorney. What linked all these clients was that each injured plaintiff was also a convicted felon. Not knowing what to do with my manuscript, I contacted Mystery Writers of America who suggested I send it to an editor in Woodstock, and off it went. This editor enjoyed the read and suggested I work with book agent Sterling Lord (notable clients: Jack Kerouas, On the Road and Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), where I was then offered the honor. Scriber purchased Suzy’s Case where I shared my marketing person with Stephen King. Blah, blah, blah …

I have been very fortunate in my short literary career. This good fortune has inspired me to write more and more Tug Wyler Mysteries. After requesting and receiving my rights back on Suzy’s Case and Cookie’s Case, and after my option with CBS Television expired, I created Rockwell Press to release my future novels. Where did this name come from? Trevor Rockwell is the name Tug Wyler keeps in reserve, only to be used when the moment requires he go under cover. So … now, under cover, are all the adventures of the Tug Wyler Mystery Series. Stay tuned for more on Nelly’s Case, Elton’s Case & Jenna’s Case, all to be released on May 22, 2018.

I hope sharing my literary journey inspires others to write books and share their own stories.

Tell us about your main character.

Tug Wyler a street-smart attorney and serial risk-taker willing to stop at virtually nothing to ensure justice for his clients. What makes his exploits so entertaining is that he’s an offbeat hero who welcomes surprises, determined to right the wrongs they invariably present. My alter ego Tug and I live by a few simple philosophical precepts. Here is the partial short list:

  • Know what you know and know what you don’t know.
  • Don’t dabble in matters of significant consequence.
  • If you’re a light sleeper and knowingly marry a snorer it’s your fault.
  • Own a dog.
  • Take the path of least resistance unless it really matters.
  • Know your balance and be mindful of change.
  • Accept what is.
  • If you can’t control “it,” don’t let “it” control you.
  • Trust is absolute.
  • If you lie, be truthful about it.
  • Stay away from dishonest liars.
  • Don’t be an annoying phony, there’s no other kind.
  • You have the power not to consent.
  • Negative energy comes back to its source.
  • Don’t harm others.
  • You’re not entitled to crap, so lose the attitude.
  • Own two dogs.
  • Stay in the moment.
  • We all profile, but don’t use it to pass judgment.
  • Know, acknowledge and embrace your flaws.
  • Make your faults known so you don’t disappoint others by being yourself.
  • We’re drawn to what’s familiar, so make sure whatever that is won’t keep you down.
  • Beware of empathic listeners who hug you with their words – they have motive.
  • Don’t trap yourself in ambivalent relationships.
  • Everything is fair.
  • You are how you’ve acted so own your conduct.
  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
  • Own three dogs.

*****

Andy Siegel is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in New York City. A graduate of Tulane University and Brooklyn Law, he grew up on Long Island and now lives in Westchester County. In 2008, he was elected to the board of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The first book in the Tug Wyler series, Suzy’s Case, was selected as a Poisoned Pen Bookstore Best Debut Novel, a Suspense Magazine Best Book, and was named one of People.com‘s Best Beach Reads.
 
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5 thoughts on “Interview: Andy Siegel”

  1. Thanks for visiting! I would love to see video of you in action in the courtroom; your description of your approach is intriguing. How do your stories differ from those that inspire you (other than, I hope, fewer murders in real life)? Do you see your novels as another way of standing up for the little guy/gal?

    Like

  2. Just shared this post with Facebook. My paralegal bonus-daughter, attorney granddaughter and insanely-interested-in-everything other granddaughter need to check out your books!

    Like

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