Thursday March 1, 2018

Law School A "Novel" Idea

By Carole Judge

How Addie J. King '01 balances writing briefs and books and why her law school experience is still part of the plot.

“I was a lawyer, but I was looking for more to do,” said no one ever.  Then Addie J. King (JD ’01) came along. 

Accustomed to being busy since childhood, King explained, “I was in a million different activities, so once I was no longer in school and had only one job, I needed something else.”

So, King took her law school experience, her vivid imagination and her love for fiction and wrote a novel.  Actually, she went on to write several, including a series that features a protagonist with new friends, difficult professors and disconcerting challenges – a law student, of course. 

King’s character, Janie Grimm, a descendent of the famous Brothers Grimm, thinks she’s losing her mind as she’s drawn into an alternative world she didn’t know existed.  It might sound familiar if you’ve been to law school, but it’s unlikely your story also involves magical powers (unless that’s how you passed Contracts). 

King herself enjoyed the challenges of law school and formed great friendships, especially through her involvement with Moot Court and Mock Trial.  She also has strong memories of Professor Thomas Hagel’s class where he told stories about his experience as a sitting judge and how often attorneys would get the rules of evidence wrong.

“I never wanted to make that mistake,” she jokes, imagining standing before him in court and him asking, “Who taught you Evidence?” and her having to answer, “You.”

Interestingly, as strong as she was as a writer, she was surprised she still had a lot to learn.

“I struggled with legal writing, because I’d done so much creative writing and student journalism over the years,” she confesses, adding, “It’s such a very different writing style than good, persuasive, legal writing.”

King worked hard and admits learning to write legal briefs and motions also made her better at writing fiction.

“To be fair, the best writing has a structure to it, no matter what kind of writing it is,” says the mom of a toddler and stepmother to a teen.  Professionally, she juggles everything from fairytale demons to the sometimes grim realities of child support enforcement, the area of law in which she now works.

With a major in criminal justice and a minor in psychology, King came to Dayton Law directly from undergraduate school planning to become a criminal prosecutor, something she accomplished early in her career.   

She recommends all students consider public service because, “It gives you experience right out of the gate.  It gets you in the courtroom faster with your own caseloads and gives you valuable, hands-on experience. 

“Even if you don’t stay in it, it’s a great place to get your feet wet and in front of a judge,” says King who adds, “It’s the best way to get familiar with the courts and other attorneys in your area.”

King wouldn’t trade her time in public service and advises students get an intern license while still in law school.  She also suggests mentorship programs through the Supreme Court, something she’s volunteered for as a mentor herself.  

“I got a job right out of law school with the City of Dayton Prosecutor’s Office, and then moved to the Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office,” says King, who lives with her family there, but who can hardly be called settled down. 

“It keeps me hopping.  I also go to a number of writer’s conferences and conventions and events for the books,” she adds.

Ironically, King’s first book “Shades of Gray” was written before her Grimm Legacy collection, but a book by a somewhat similar name was published first.

Police cars, along with right and wrong, might be synonymous with “black and white,” but King recognizes that situations in life are not so easily defined, thus the title.  Determined not to change the title, she held off publishing that book, then eventually self-published.  She has since signed a contract with Hydra Publications to take over publishing duties for the series, which will include two sequels.

“I just couldn’t change it because it was the perfect title,” said King about the book she wrote while working in the courts.  That’s where she interviewed members of the Dayton Police Department for her research about a rookie officer. Unlike her character, none of them were bitten by a werewolf while trying to learn the job. 

King strongly believes, “People aren’t just good or bad,” and not only in the context of a contemporary fantasy or paranormal mystery.  Her attitude serves her well as she supports families in need by day and creates characters by night.

She also acknowledges, “The only reason I can pull all this off is because my husband is awesome and completely supportive.”

Information about Addie King books can be found on her Amazon author page or through her blog Weathering the Storm.

She also has an author page on Facebook and can be found on Twitter at @addiejking.

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