Interview with Author James Rosenberg June 2021

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I have been a lawyer for over 30 years and love cross examining witnesses attempting to get to the truth.  When in trial, I try to craft a story that resonates with the jury.  At the same time, the other side is trying to build a different narrative that is better for the their client.  Ultimately, the jury gets to decide which reality to believe.

I started writing as a way to relieve stress.  My first foray into writing was telling the story of a small success one of my boys had on the baseball diamond. Seeing him achieve just a little on the field was huge for me and witnessing the significance of the event triggered a flood of emotions that compelled me to write an essay about perseverance.  This story is part of my second novel, The Jersey, which focuses on the relationship between father and son who share in the son’s athletic achievements.


What inspired you to write your book?

Unclean Hands is a fictional account of a major trial I had a while ago. Without spilling too many details, it centers around a civil lawsuit brought by the widow of a man killed while shopping at a warehouse store. Although the trial is certainly important to the story, I think it’s the characters and how they navigate the emotional toll a trial takes on all participants that is the main thrust of the novel.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Not everything is as it appears.

 What drew you into this particular genre?

I have practiced law for over thirty years and love watching the effect going to trial has on all participants.  The lawyers, judge, jurors and of course the parties all play a central role in a drama that is acted out in public and will have long term effects on everyone who takes part.  Funny aside: The trial in the novel is based on a case I had a few years ago.  The witnesses are based on some of the actual participants in the trial.  Many questions in the novel are taken from the transcript of the actual trial so there is a good amount of verisimilitude to the story. One editor who helped with the story left me notes about how “real” court was different than how I portrayed in the book. She kept saying that “Lawyers don’t talk like that” and how I should “go see an actual trial.”  Well, I’ve been to hundreds of actual trials and the trial in the book is about as realistic of a trial as you will ever read in a novel.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Morgan Askew is not one of the main characters in the book but I find him fascinating.  He has a relatively dull job and a slightly weird relationship with his mom. What I would want to ask him is, “if you had the chance to do it again, would you?”

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Probably Facebook.  I understand it the best and seem to get the best response from readers on it.  I’m trying to get better at twitter and snapchat, but they are a work in progress.  Social media is so important to independent authors and we have to spend so much time each day learning it and more importantly, finding and engaging with readers.  I still have so much to learn about it.

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What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Keep on writing.  Get the first draft done because once you do, the second draft is always better than the first and the third draft is better than the second. Every day you got to put some words on paper because without the words, your stories don’t get told.  You have great stories to tell.  You just have to believe in them.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m still practicing law, but every day am closer to becoming a full time writer.  I am about to restart a novel I have put away for awhile that I think holds a lot of promise.  It involves a parent whose kid kills the president.  Can’t wait to get back to it.


About the Author

James Rosenberg is a 3rd generation trial attorney with plenty of stories to tell.
Inspired not only by the courtroom stories his father and grandfather used to tell
him when he was a child, but also by the wild adventures he’s encountered through
his own experience as a lawyer. James is fascinated by the intricate, interpersonal
dynamics of every trial he’s endured. Whether it’s the raw emotion on display in
court, the tension in the air that builds until someone wins, or the impact that a
case’s decision has on the parties involved, James is always paying attention and
keeping tabs on what’s happening.

In his debut novel, “Legal Reserves”, James flexes his creative muscle outside of the
courtroom to share his stories, with a fictional twist, through the eyes of archetypes
he knows well.

A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, James has been a trial attorney in Pittsburgh
for almost 30 years. He started writing legal thrillers as a stress reducer and finds
this creative outlet to be a fun and meaningful diversion from his day job.

When he’s not trying cases, he’s either dreaming up his next book idea, spending
time with his wife and three kids, or both.

To contact James email



Author website:


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