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Practice makes perfect for two local authors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico novelists Joseph Badal and Jonathan Miller may not be famous. After all, they’ve never had books on the New York Times best-seller list.

Joseph Badal

But they can dream. Both maintain a busy writing schedule because it’s their passion.

Badal, a retired commercial and mortgage banker who lives in the East Mountains, writes full time.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Badal said. “With my 14th book coming out, I’ve reached a point where I have a body of work I can be proud of.”

His new book is “Natural Causes – Lassiter-Martinez Case Files No. 3.” It’s the third in a series featuring Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez, detective-sergeants with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. In “No. 3” they’re investigating a case of suspected murder by nicotine poisoning.

“I wanted to come up with a different way of killing somebody,” Badal said.

Jonathan Miller

Most of his fiction fall in three series – the Lassiter-Martinez Case Files, the CurtisChronicles and the six-volume Danforth Saga. The latter two series are thrillers. Badal has also written three stand-alone thrillers and short stories.

How does he manage to juggle writing books in different series with different characters?

“For me, it’s regenerative,” he said in an interview. “I (would) get bored with one series. If I get bored, I’d be afraid the reader gets bored. That’s why I jump into other series.”

Badal said he’s never considered writing as a hobby. He recalled that it wasn’t until he had spent about 10,000 hours into the process of writing that his books started selling, and as a result writing became a business for him. He has a literary agent and a publisher who are integral to his business.

“I make a good living out of my writing. That should continue if I maintain momentum. If you lose momentum, that’s where you get into trouble,” he said.

More success may await Badal. He said he’s sold a movie option to the Lassiter-Martinez Case Files series.

“There’s something in the works,” Badal said.

Badal signs and discusses “Natural Causes” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Treasure House Books & Gifts, 2012 S. Plaza NW, Old Town, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

Meanwhile, Miller, a longtime Albuquerque resident, said someone has recently reached out to him, which could prove fruitful. He said he’s in negotiations to option all 11 books of his Rattlesnake Lawyer series.

Miller’s newest novel is “Rattlesnake & Son.” Dan Shepard is the name of the long-running character, aka the Rattlesnake Lawyer. In this novel, Shepard’s 14-year-old son, Marley, suddenly shows up in Las Cruces, where he’s in a boarding school.

“I based Marley on myself at age 14. I wanted to make it a fish out of water. His psychic powers are a metaphor for my writing, for my creative energy when I was 14,” Miller said. “Marley has adventures I would have loved at 14.”

A full-time attorney himself, Miller represents indigent clients in criminal cases around the state. He’s under contract with the Law Offices of the State Public Defender.

For Miller, writing comes in his spare time, mostly working on his novels by night in motel rooms when he’s on the road. By day, he’s defending clients in different judicial districts.

Miller signs copies of “Rattlesnake & Son” from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at Barnes & Noble, Coronado mall.