Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Mark M. Bello, author of Supreme Betrayal (A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 6).
FQ: As a retired attorney, and now the creator of these award-winning thrillers, can you tell readers what “headline” this particular book was inspired by?
BELLO: The novel was inspired by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, but I want to issue a strong caveat: Brett Kavanaugh was ACCUSED of misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford. He was not found guilty of any crime; no witnesses testified in support of Mrs. Ford. Because of these two factors, Kavanaugh secured the nomination. While Supreme Betrayal was inspired by the Kavanaugh saga, it is fiction. The reader is introduced to a vicious, narcissistic, predatory antagonist who will stop at nothing, perhaps even murder, to secure the appointment of his dreams. We may have certain opinions, but we cannot say these things about Brett Kavanaugh.
FQ: Could you explain a bit more to readers about your work as a social justice advocate? Along those same lines, could you perhaps speak about the differences you’ve seen when it comes to the majority of cases/problems today vs. the past; is society improving at all when it comes to caring for one another?
BELLO: Sadly, I think America is getting worse. We have become more polarized, more divided in our politics and social justice views than we were back in the 70's when I first began practicing law. My career has been spent championing the rights of people who have been wronged by big business, big government, big insurance, and the like. It has truly been a David vs. Goliath type experience. Companies lobby politicians who ignore the 7th Amendment and pass restrictions on our rights to litigate. We are currently in the middle of a nationally televised trial—A police officer callously kneeled on the neck of a human being for over nine minutes, literally suppressing his last breath. How can we possibly say things are better?
FQ: If you had the chance to be a lawyer on one “headlining” case that occurred in this country, what would that case be and why would you want to be a part of it?
BELLO: I have been a champion of the rights of clergy abuse victims. My first novel, Betrayal of Faith, is a fictional account of one such case. While there isn't anyone case out there, the public is still being duped by the church. Recently, in my home state of Michigan, the attorney general has commenced an investigation of the many early cases that went unreported. Perhaps the perpetrators will finally be brought to justice. Victims have reached out to me and I have forwarded them to the AG's office, while the church continues to enable the perpetrators. Why? I have no idea!
FQ: Could you explain a bit to readers about writing for the Legal Examiner; how that came to be, and how you feel social media has (and can continue to) help the American public?
BELLO: The Legal Examiner is the product of the Injury Board, a group (which includes me) of social justice and safety lawyers. The Board's founders created the magazine as a justice and safety education tool. Social media is an important part of that—the news is now reported in real-time, by ordinary citizens recording events on their cell phones. Would George Floyd be a household name without the video of the event recorded by a teenager? Educating citizens about justice and safety issues on social media will help prevent injustice and tragedy. It is as simple as that.
FQ: If there was one personal message you would like to get across to people out there in regard to the state of the world – politically and/or focusing on the justice system – what would that message be?
BELLO: Your constitutional and civil rights are being trampled upon. Business interests have successfully lobbied our government to take away your rights. These efforts continue as I write this. Hospitals, doctors, manufacturers, insurance companies, large businesses, white-collar criminals, and the like are being issued free or limited liability passes at your expense, in violation of your 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Amendment rights. For the most part, we citizens have stood aside and let this happen. We cannot continue to let them get away with it—become an informed citizen and let your voice for justice and safety be heard. It was hard to do that with a small, local, law practice. My social justice novels give me a much larger and louder voice to denounce the forces of evil.
FQ: Would you speak about the next Zachary Blake thriller and what, perhaps, we can expect to see from him in the future?
BELLO: Zachary's next adventure will take place on two continents and will focus on the crisis at our borders. It is an interesting and entertaining look at our immigration system. Most of us are the children or grandchildren of immigrants who were welcomed into this country. When did America become a closed and selfish society? Betrayal at the Border takes a look at these issues.
FQ: If you had to choose, what do you feel gives you the most freedom and happiness: being a lawyer or an author?
BELLO: I have definitely enjoyed more freedom and happiness being an author. The problem is that I made a nice living as an attorney—not so true as an author, which has, so far, been a labor of love. Buy my books...please?
FQ: Not wanting to get locked into a debate (LOL), but can you give your thoughts in regard to the political system of the U.S.? Has it improved in your eyes; and what do you feel the American public should get to see with this new presidency, and down the line?
BELLO: Our political divide is larger than ever. The Covid-19 relief package passed without a single vote from the opposition party, despite the fact that a majority of our citizens supported the legislation. When 50% of our government officials stubbornly adhere to failed political ideology instead of the will and desires of their own constituents, we are in trouble. When the minority party has to resort to pre-1960 type voter suppression to rig future elections, we are in trouble. I wish I could say I am optimistic, because I have always been an optimist, but the 2016 election, the conspiracy theories that have been proffered since, and the actions of the opposition party, have shaken my optimism to its core. Minorities are still being denied justice in this country. Did you ever think you would witness a white supremacist insurrection in our lifetime? Well, neither did I.
I note your "LOL" and understand the reference, but our political and legal realities are actually not all that funny. On the plus side, an experienced politician is now POTUS. He has stabilized our government and improved our response to the pandemic. I trust that we are finally on the right path to ending this serious public health crisis. President Biden recently introduced a massive infrastructure plan that will create jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve the physical well-being of our country, something that is long overdue. A majority of our citizens seem to trust and respect his leadership. Hopefully, we can pull some reluctant and resistant politicians along for a rocky ride into the 21st Century. There you go! There's that old Bello optimism again!