Interview with James Polkinghorn

I am honored to host Jim on the blog today. James Polkinghorn prefers to go by Jim. His debut novel Liquid Shades of Blue is out on 16 May 2023. I read Liquid Shades of Blue a couple of days ago and I have nothing but praises for this fantabulous masterpiece.

About James Polkinghorn

James Polkinghorn is a lawyer and partner in a national law firm specializing in labor and employment law. He has extensive trial and litigation experience in multiple jurisdictions throughout the country. A Pittsburgh native, Polkinghorn moved with his family to Florida in high school, where he has since stayed. He has a degree in political science and a law degree from the University of Florida. He now lives in Key West with his wife, Becki, and their dog, Major Tom. Liquid Shades of Blue is his first novel.

Interview with James Polkinghorn

Hello Jim and welcome to my blog, The Book Decoder. Please tell me and my readers about yourself.

I am a mostly-retired lawyer living in Key West with my wife, Becki, and our dog, Major Tom. I spent many years as a trial lawyer and litigator based in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, although I handled cases throughout the United States. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Florida with my family when I was in 10th grade. I graduated from Plantation High School and went on to the University of Florida, where I received my undergraduate and law degrees.

Your debut novel, Liquid Shades of Blue is releasing mid-May. Please tell us more.

The basic story was in my mind for many years but I never found the time to put it on paper during my days as a busy lawyer. I finally came to the point where I concluded that if I didn’t get it done I never would. That was a regret I didn’t want.

What’s the inspiration behind Liquid Shades of Blue?

Over the years I became interested in the effects of trauma on the people who experience it but also on the others in their lives. Putting this in a family setting felt natural.

What sets this book apart from others in the mystery genre?

I like to think that the character development is as significant in the book as the actual mystery the main character is trying to solve.

Can you tell us more about the main character – Jack Girard?

Jack has experienced significant personal trauma and is unsure about how he stacked up to the challenges he faced. He is even unsure of his own recollections of the events themselves. His father has been such an over-arching figure in his life that he is, despite ample personal accomplishments and a life of privilege, insecure about his own strength of character. Resolving this insecurity drives Jack forward.

Can you tell us about the setting in Miami and why you chose this as the backdrop for your story?

Having spent many years living in Miami, I recognize it as one of the most scenic and beautiful places in the world. It was natural for me to place the story there, particularly to have so much of it occur on the water.

What kind of research did you do before writing Liquid Shades of Blue. Tell us about the research involved in depicting the various legal and police procedures in the book.

The legal aspects all draw from my own experiences and required no research. I spent some hours on the internet developing a sense for the police procedures depicted. I also had to research the military background of Jack’s father to create a plausible backstory that fit on the timeline for the family’s growth.

Are there any real-life events or people that inspired this story?

There are a couple, but I’m uncomfortable revealing who they are. Jack’s father is a composite of people I’ve known with substantial creative gloss thrown in.

What’s next for James Polkinghorn? Are you currently working on a writing project?

I’m presently writing a follow-up novel, THE SOMBER BLUE SEA. It picks up Jack’s life a few years later.

What does an ideal day in your life look like?

In Key West, I like to start the day reading the New York Times in the old-fashioned way. A bike ride to the gym and a workout would be followed by writing for a few hours and then a trip up the Keys to paddleboard in one of several isolated areas we enjoy. A quiet dinner at one of the restaurants we frequent would close out the day. Going to bed tired but happy is a privilege.

Many thanks to Fauzia Burke of FSB Associates for giving me an opportunity to interview Jim.

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