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Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Zachary Blake, the protagonist of my legal thriller series. For our meeting, I’ve arranged a lunch reservation around the corner from Mr. Blake’s law office in Birmingham.

MB: Hi, Zack. Good to see you.

ZB: Likewise, Mark.

MB: I know you are busy, so let’s get started. What do you think readers should know about you that they can’t get simply from reading The Zachary Blake Betrayal Series?

ZB: Hmm, probably that I never thought of myself becoming a family man. That is, until I met Jennifer and the boys.

MB: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?

ZB: Tough question, Mark. People say I am hard-headed and arrogant. Maybe I am somewhat, but I think that is really due to my dedication to my clients and my perseverance. After past struggles in my personal and professional life, I think I am now more confident and determined, and that strength can be misconstrued. But as my family can tell you, I really can be a softie.

MB: Speaking of impressions, tell me about your impressions of and relationship with Micah Love.

ZB: I like Micah. He is a hard worker and the best investigator I have ever known. Professionally, I think he can be a lot like me in his … er … perseverance, so clients get two strong personalities, but that determination and tenacity is why I hire him. On a more personal level, I couldn’t say. While we have gone out for an occasional drink or meal during a case, I prefer to keep my personal and professional life separate.

MB: If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

ZB: Definitely take in a Tigers game. After that, I would probably just go home and relax by the pool. My schedule is usually so busy that having a day where I can do next to nothing is a blessing.

MB: If you could spend the day with someone you admire - living or dead or imaginary, who would you pick?

ZB: I’d have to say Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I try to not only imitate Atticus as a lawyer but as a parent as well. He always stood up for his beliefs no matter what others thought, and he taught his children to fight with their heads, not their fists. And as a lawyer, he went out of his way to defend someone who needed him – fighting for justice in the face of adversity. He was dealt a typical David versus Goliath case. I’ve tried a number of those myself and would love to compare notes, though I must say, I’ve faced bigger Goliaths in recent years.

MB: I can imagine how that would make you feel. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

ZB: Finding a cure for cancer. I lost my nephew after a 5-year battle with brain cancer.

MB: As an attorney, what are you most afraid of?

ZB: I would definitely have to say, letting a client down. Worst of all would be if that client was wrongfully serving a life sentence or on death row because I had failed them. I don’t know how I’d live with that. I think it’s that fear, in addition to seeking justice, that helps drive me as a lawyer. A bit of fear can be healthy, you know.

MB: What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

ZB: The righteous say little and do much. It is a Jewish proverb that I hope I abide. When I am in court, I have to do a lot of talking, but I hope that I am remembered more for being there – standing up and seeking justice for my clients – than for what I actually said.

MB: So, before we go, what are you working on now?

ZB: It’s a controversial case—I can't say much due to client confidentiality issues and the chance that speaking about the case may put my client in danger. What I can tell you is that I'm quite concerned about the increase of improper political influence on the law and on those who enforce and administer justice. People in power or those with powerful friends increasingly abuse their power and positions. In this case, I will represent my client first and foremost, but I will also seek to prevent harm to all citizens of this country. I’ve taken on and defeated corrupt government officials in the past and I can do it again . . . Perhaps I’ve said too much.

MB: Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to meet with me, Zack.

ZB: Chuckling. We all have to eat, don’t we?

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