A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra Law School. The daughter of acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke, she is a graduate of Stanford Law School and currently serves as a legal and trial commentator for radio and television programs, including for Court TV. She lives in New York City with her husband, Sean.
This biography was last updated on 08/16/2010.
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Would you say you're following in the footsteps of
your father, James Lee Burke?
Actually, when it comes to mysteries, you could say my father followed in my footsteps. Many people don't know that he published several works before turning to crime fiction with The Neon Rain, so no one thought of my father as a mystery writer during my formative years. I, however, was a huge fan of the genre. I plowed through the entire Encyclopedia Brown series and used to steal time with my dad's manual Royal typewriter to hammer out page turners like "Murder at the Roller Disco." So, for the record, I beat my dad to the mystery punch.
Clearly, though, he's been a huge influence on me. What I really think I inherited from my family more than any particular writing style (or talent for that matter) is a narrative tradition. The Burkes are people who tell stories, and I grew up watching my father work a full-time job and then come home and write every single day ...
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