Legal eagle’s murder mystery

Cayman’s Assistant Solicitor
General, Douglas S. Schofield, whose day job is all about sticking to the facts
and adhering to codified procedure, has turned his analytical skills to writing
a compelling and creative narrative in his debut novel Flight Risks.

The thriller — set in Canada,
Switzerland, the US and the Cayman Islands — takes readers on an unnerving
journey through the turbo-charged world of terrorist money laundering and the
moral wasteland of international fraud. At the periphery of the post 9/11
maelstrom is the author’s protagonist, a legal secretary whose untidy personal
life is about to get a lot messier as she unwittingly turns up evidence that embroils
her in three separate murder charges and a conspiracy of global proportions.

Written mainly at weekends and
eventually on weekday nights too, Flight Risks has whetted the Canadian’s
appetite to pen another novel, which will be launched in 2011.

 

Q: What inspired you to write
Flight Risks?

A: I have practised law for over 30
years in three different jurisdictions – Canada, Bermuda, and the Cayman
Islands. Over the years, I made a few attempts at writing a legally themed
thriller, but never completed those projects. I have read a lot of novels in
this genre, and naturally the main character is always a lawyer. Anyone who has
worked in a law office knows that legal secretaries and paralegals are the
backbone of any successful law firm, but in fiction they are invariably
relegated to a subordinate role. Several months after I came to the Cayman
Islands to work, I conceived a plot in which a legal secretary is the protagonist. 

 

Q: How long did it take to write
Flight Risks and find a publisher?

I sat down and wrote a 75-page
outline over a few weekends in 2000. Flight Risks, the story that resulted from
that outline, begins in Victoria, British Columbia, and moves to Louisiana,
Florida, and the Cayman Islands, and finally back to B.C. I started the first
version of the full manuscript in 2001, then, after 9/11, I decided to revise
the story and incorporate those events. 
The second version of the novel was completed a year later. After a few
attempts to attract a publisher in 2002-2003, I decided to try the story as a
screenplay. I gave the screen version to my friend Louis Massicotte, a film and
TV producer who lives on Grand Cayman. He was impressed enough to put me in
touch with a manager in Hollywood, who now represents me there. Last year, another
friend suggested I revive my novel and give it another try. He suggested Hirst
Publishing in the UK might be interested. I sent them a 12-page synopsis and
was given final acceptance after submission of the manuscript. I did another
rewrite this past spring. 

 

Q: What is the significance of the
title?

A: It is not related to the concept
“flight risk” that is commonly used by prosecutors objecting to an accused
person being released on bail.  Rather,
it is related to the protagonist’s decision to go on the run – and the grave
risks associated with that decision.

 

Q: Your book is set in several
different locations, how hard was it to weave the plot around the different
locations and yet still have a unified story?

A: It wasn’t difficult at all. I
have visited all the scenes in the novel – I have lived in or near some of them
– and I have absorbed a lot of information from close friendships with lawyers
in Canada, Florida, and Cayman.

 

Q: Will you be doing any
promotional tours overseas?

A; I was supposed to be doing a
book-signing at Waterstones or Foyles in London last month, but time was too
short for the publisher to organise the event, so it will likely take place
either early next year, or after my second novel, Succession, is released next
spring.

 

Join local author Douglas Schofield
at Books & Books on Friday, 15 October at 7pm for the launch of Flight
Risks. The author will give a presentation before taking questions from the
audience and signing copies of his book. The event is free and open to the
public.

CAYLFEDouglasSchofieldSTORY

First-time author and senior lawyer Douglas Schofield.