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It’s not unusual for lawyers to try their hand at writing fiction – just look at Scott Turow and John Grisham, who together popularized an entire legal thriller genre. But while these novelists used their legal expertise to craft gripping courtroom dramas, two Northwestern Law faculty members with novels out now are telling stories that veer far outside of their usual lesson plans. Michael Barsa’s The Garden of Blue Roses is a gothic psychological thriller, while Michelle Falkoff’s Questions I Want To Ask You is her third foray into Young Adult fiction.
The authors sat down to discuss their latest books, how they balance their legal work and writing, and the one skill that all lawyers – and all novelists – need.
Professor Barsa, you teach Environmental Law. What inspired you to write a book about something so entirely different than your area of legal expertise?
So the preservation of nature is an overlapping theme between your legal work and your fiction?
And Professor Falkoff, you teach Communication and Legal Reasoning, which is obviously quite different from Young Adult fiction. Is there an overlap in what you teach and the novels you write?
Both of you started your careers as practicing lawyers. Given the time demands on a young attorney, how did you make time for fiction writing?
It seems like there are a lot of lawyers who are interested in creative writing. What is it about a person who wants to be a lawyer that might also make them inclined to write fiction?
And what if they want to be a lawyer and a novelist, like you? What is your advice?
How does being a lawyer make someone a better novelist? And how does being a novelist make someone a better lawyer?
Professors Barsa and Falkoff will be in conversation at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park on Saturday, June 23, discussing “The Mysteries of Family Secrets.” This event is free and open to the public.
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