Pinckney attorney fulfills dream to finish his novel

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By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Ever since he was in high school 20 years ago, Josh Fields has known he had a book inside him that was trying to get out.

It wasn't until he was a busy lawyer with a wife and two stepchildren that he actually made it happen.

"So many people have started books and never finish," said Fields, 36, a 2005 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law who is now an employee rights attorney at Fett & Fields, P.C. in Pinckney. "I knew I had to finish it this time."

Fields' novel, "A Dog Among Thorns," is about a post-apocalypse city ruled by a woman married to a "vice-loving yet God-fearing" man tempted by a "foul-mouthed demon" dispatched to the city.

Fields' wife Barb wasn't thrilled with some of the language.

"But most people have told me they can't put it down, because it's one surprise after another," he said.

Fields was a first year student at law school when his father, Lawrence Fields, was in his third year there. Lawrence Fields, who became interested in the law as a client of Jim Fett, joined the firm in 2003, and is now a partner.

Josh Fields works for both of them, with no father-son stress.

"It's great," said Fields, who lives in Linden. "My mother asks if we talk much at work, but he has his cases, and I have mine. We occasionally collaborate, and manage to go to lunch together once in a while."

Since high school, Fields had started working on several novels. This time, he was determined to actually take one to the finish line.

Fields started the novel in December of 2010 and completed it 14 months later. Then he learned first-hand how difficult it is to get a book published these days when about 85 agents rejected his manuscript.

So he decided to do it himself using Lulu.com, a print-on-demand book manufacturer. The book is also available in electronic format on Amazon.com.

"Self-publishing is revolutionizing the industry," he said. "For those of us who like to hold an actual book in our hands, print is great. But a print book can't go viral like a digital copy can."

He handles Internet marketing at the law firm, and now he's handling the marketing of his book, which includes Facebook, and a recent appearance on a local TV station. And he's dropped a few books off at the Open Book bookstore in Fenton.

Fields said the hardest part of writing his 414-page novel was sticking with it when his creativity waned.

"That was hard - especially as an attorney with a lot going on," said Fields, who is now 125 pages into the sequel. "Sometimes I can't do anything for two weeks because I get busy with work and life. Sometimes my brain's just dry and there's no creative energy. And other times it's really flowing and I can crank out 20 pages in a weekend."

What does he enjoy about the process?

"Ernest Hemingway said, `There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,'" he said. "It's in me. I like weaving the story together."

Fields plans to adapt a screenplay he wrote in law school into a book, and wouldn't mind seeing "A Dog Among Thorns" made into a movie as well.

Would he quit law if he found success as an author?

"In a minute!" he said. "I like what I do, but if I had the opportunity to just write, I'd just write."

Published: Thu, Jan 31, 2013

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