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Wake Forest Law Student Writes Novel While in Class

Posted Mar 27, 2009 2:45 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Some go to law classes to focus on what the professor says. But Rachel Keener was fortunate to have a husband who was also a student at Wake Forest University School of Law.

So while he took notes she worked on what would eventually become a published novel, The Killing Tree, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.

"The funny thing is we would rely on my notes," says Kip Keener. "But she would always do better than me because she's a better writer."

Although Rachel Keener, who is now 30, worked briefly for Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice after graduating from law school in 2002, she never returned to practice after going on maternity leave in 2003. In-between being a stay-at-home mom for the couple's two boys, Abram, 3, and Kiplan, 6, she finished The Killing Tree, got the book published through an agent that her husband helped her to find and began working on a second novel, The Memory Thief, which is to be published next year.

Published this month by Center Street, her first novel tells the story of a a young woman who aches to escape her isolated home town in the coal country of the south, the newspaper recounts.

Leaving the law would have been harder, Keener says, if she had felt she had a real calling to the profession. "But I didn't feel that and at this point, I had the bones of The Killing Tree and I had already felt what it feels like to do something I loved," she says.

And when she thinks, sometimes, about the student loans she racked up to get her Wake Forest juris doctor degree, her husband reminds her that The Killing Tree might never have been written if she hadn't gone to law school.

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