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Character Interview: Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s legal thriller, ‘Maximilian’s Treasure’



character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s new legal thriller, Maximilian’s Treasure.  Karen is a 26-year-old paralegal living in Jackson, Mississippi.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Karen.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Karen:  Judge Bell is not going to read this, is he?  I don’t want him to think that I believe he fell short in his description of me.  He really did about as good a job as a man can do describing what I was thinking and feeling.  But any woman can tell you a man has no idea what we are really thinking!

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Maximilian’s Treasure is such an emotional rollercoaster, so many highs and lows.  Just imagine what you would be thinking when you know deep in your heart that you have found the perfect man, and you hear him fawning over another woman.

Excuse me.  I still get emotional just thinking about it.

I know John and I were never an item, but I thought it was just a matter of time before he would discover the truth that he couldn’t live without me.  After all we are not just a good team; we are the best.  He didn’t win all those cases by himself you know.  I just couldn’t believe he would be so foolish as to fall for some blond bombshell reporter. How could he be so shallow?  I decided to leave before I said something I would regret.  I moved to another city, hoping he would never find me.  I can’t wait to tell you what happened next. …

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Karen:  I’m a strong, smart, fiercely loyal woman with a passionate desire to help others.  That’s why I became a paralegal.  I really feel for the people who seek our help.  They bring us their biggest problems and they count on us to find solutions.  Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I know we’ve truly helped someone.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Karen:  I’m loyal to a fault and I’ve learned to trust my instincts.  For instance, that new guy in the office, Peter; I felt there was something odd about him.  I didn’t trust him.  When you read the book, let me know if you think I was right about him.

Worse trait?

Karen:  Like I said, I’m loyal to a fault.  That, along with my passion to help people, gets me in trouble.  My heart is in everything I do.  That helps me do my best, but it exposes my heart to being broken, do you know what I mean?  Oh, and I do have a temper.  My dad always blamed it on my red hair.  I blame it on John!  He is too blind to see true love!

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Karen:  I’m thinking Rachel Bilson, or Emma Stone, or maybe Rachel Brosnahan.  It’s got to be someone smart with a strong personality, and she must be drop-dead beautiful, of course.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Karen:  Well, I don’t want to say too much, but let me tell you about B.H. Sutton!  That’s a real man.  He is smart, loyal, good-looking, strong, and he knows a good thing when he sees it.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Karen:  You probably would think I would say when we were run off the road, or when the deputy arrested us, or when John’s houseboat blew up.  But the time I was most nervous was at the wedding.  B.H. and I were holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes when John burst into the room.  That took the cake.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Karen:  I can tell you it wouldn’t be Sandy.  I thought we were friends, but not after the way she went after John.  I would trade places with Natalia.  She is smart, brave, dangerously beautiful and lives a life of adventure, traveling around the world with a mysterious secret agenda.   She casts a spell over men with her exotic looks.  When the need arises, she is ready to step up and be a leader.  I could do that!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Karen:  I haven’t caught my breath yet.  So much happens so fast.  Everything is so interconnected.  It’s proof that we don’t live in some protected little bubble surrounding our own little world.  What happens far away matters here and what happened long ago matters now.  Everything you do has impact, for good or for bad, further and longer than you can imagine.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Karen:  Each of Judge Bell’s stories has a purpose, a moral to the story.  I hope he continues to write with purpose.  And he should emphasis me in his next book!

Thank you for this interview, Karen.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Karen:  Of course!  Everyone knows that the paralegal is the essential character in any law novel or law office.  Frankly, if Judge Bell doesn’t give me a leading role in his next book, I may write my own.  By the way, here’s some inside information.  Be on the lookout for the next novel, Whom Shall I Send?  It’s a romantic adventure.  I bet you can’t guess who he’s sending.


James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at

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