After practicing law for seven years, Oregon School of Law alumna and Eugene native Mary Thompson has taken the writing skills she developed at law school and in the courtroom to New York, where she now dedicates herself to full-time writing and copy-editing.
In 2012, Clarion Books published Thompson's first novel, “Wuftoom,” a young adult horror-fantasy novel about a sickly teenager visited by a worm-like creature that tells him he is becoming one of them.
Publisher’s Weekly praised the book, calling it “dark and unsettling,” and “a break from the ‘same old, same old’ by creating something utterly new and weird.”
Her latest, “Escape from the Pipe Men!”, is a young adult science-fiction novel that was recently released. It tells the story of Ryan Hawthorn, an adolescent on display as a human exhibit in an intergalactic zoo, who must search the universe for an antidote when his father is poisoned.
Thompson returned to her hometown of Eugene after receiving her undergraduate degree from Boston University. She was drawn to the intellectual side of law school.
While in law school, Thompson began writing novels. She had previously focused on poetry, but her classes pushed her to create longer, more coherent works.
"Law school teaches you how to analyze information and create art out of it," said Thompson.
In her second year at the law school, Thompson joined the Navy. She graduated in 2002 and became a "lawyer in uniform," working for the military.
After five years working as a military attorney, Thompson moved to San Diego and began practicing civil litigation at a small consumer firm.
The job gave her time to work on her "after hours" writing, but after two years she knew she wanted to pursue writing full-time. She moved to New York and enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts writing program at the New School.
In 2012, she received her MFA, with a focus on writing for children.
“When you want to write, all of a sudden you desperately need to do it,” said Thompson. “The more I wrote, the more important it became to me.”
Thompson approaches her novels by starting with a broad idea, then thinking ahead by a couple of chapters as she writes. She says she values the way law school and legal work have shaped her thought processes and writing, and advises students interested in pursuing a writing career to find the time to write, even if they feel too busy.
"It seems hard, but if you really want to – you can," she said.
Both of Thompson’s books are available on Amazon, McNally Jackson, Mysterious Galaxy, IndieBound, Barnes and Noble and Powell's Books.
- from the UO School of Law