Wait, did I just write a novel?

I wrote most of my first novel on a work-issued laptop, lying on the floor outside my son’s bedroom while attempting to sleep train him. He was a stubborn kid and it took several weeks to break him. At least I was productive with my time.

The idea for the book came years earlier though, during a visit with an old high school friend. He and I were on breaks from law school and med school respectively, and we were watching TV at his place when a commercial for a now-defunct, for-profit technical institute came on, urging us enroll in one of their “state of the art” programs (apparently COMPUTER-AIDED DRAFTING was in high demand at the time). Among the list of degrees offered was PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LICENSE, which caught our attention. My buddy remarked that we should both get PI licenses, as a fall back in case we got drummed out of our respective fields, and I jokingly agreed. He always imagined I’d end up being the kind of doctor who hands out syringes of Propofol to insomniac celebrities, and I liked to tell him that he’d end up defending drug dealers and prostitutes while taking payment in trade. It was that kind of friendship.

Not to disappoint, but neither of us wound up committing any transgressions serious enough to derail our intended careers. But that commercial gave me a story idea that I never forgot – a disbarred lawyer and a doctor who’d lost his license, teaming up to solve crimes. Forced by circumstance to work in the margins of society while trying to shake their dark pasts. Pretty good hook for a novel, right? Well, I thought so. And if my son hadn’t been such a pain in the butt, I might never have found the time to write it.

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