School Closings And Delays

‘The Devil’s Song’ – Local Author Draws on Life Experience for New Novel

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- A woman from Luzerne County has just written her first novel. It's had some initial success already, selling out more than once at an area Barnes and Noble store.

"The Devil's Song" is a mystery, and it's fiction, but the writer admits she was influenced by real-life events that played out very close to home.

Hundreds of people showed up at the River Grille in Plains Township over the weekend for an autograph. Lauren Stahl, 36, was signing copies of her mystery novel, just released a few weeks ago, called "The Devil's Song."

If you've walked into Barnes and Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township lately, you've probably seen it on display at the store, and in several locations on the shelves.

We spoke with her about the book at her home in Mountain Top last week.

"I think I've been writing my entire life," Stahl said.

The main character in "The Devil's Song" is a young assistant district attorney whose father happens to be the president judge in that same county.

Stahl writes from experience on this one.

"At the time everything happened with my dad, I was in the D.A.'s office, as an assistant D.A. My dad happened to be the president judge in Luzerne County.

Lauren's father is former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, who has been in the headlines as recently as two weeks ago. That's when an appeals court ruled to put on hold some of his convictions from 2011, including racketeering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, but nine other convictions against him will stand.

He's currently serving a 28-year prison term.

Instead of reading mysteries, like she did when she was a kid, Lauren says it was around the time her father got in trouble when she started seriously writing, taking what she knew about the legal profession and what was happening around her, and turning it into fiction.

"I'm very much not that prosecutor in the book. My dad is very much not that president judge, but certainly, you take aspects of what you know and you write about it. I think that's what every writer essentially does."

That includes thinking of, for instance, the Luzerne County Courthouse even as the story takes place in fictional Mission County.

She makes it clear the plot of "The Devil's Song" has nothing to do with her father's scandal; it's a different storyline with different characters.

But she admits her family's experiences certainly shaped her, and now, her writing.

"I would not be here talking with you, having written a book, having it published, without the scandal, without my father being in prison for 28 years. (It) would never have happened."

Stahl is now at work on a second book, a sequel.

In the meantime, Barnes and Noble is having a book signing event for "The Devil's Song" at their Wilkes-Barre Township location next month.