Paralegals Who Have Become Successful Fiction Writers

By Brian Craig

Author and publisher Teri Woods in her office in Manhattan

Teri Woods typifies the persistence and tenacity of a successful fiction writer. While working as a legal secretary and as a paralegal for a law firm in Philadelphia, Woods wrote the manuscript for her novel, True to the Game. According to her author profile on, Woods submitted the manuscript for True to the Game over a period of six years to more than twenty different publishers that rejected the book. After traditional publishers rejected her manuscript, Woods decided not to give up and self-published her first novel.  Woods slept in her car and on the couches of acquaintances while spending countless hours selling her books on the streets of New York. In three years of selling the novel True to the Game, Woods became a self-made millionaire. After the success of True to the Game, Woods self published DUTCH I, DUTCH II, Deadly Reigns I and II, Angel, B-More Careful, The Adventures of Ghetto Sam, Triangle of Sins, and Rectangle of Sins.

Woods then signed a five book deal with Grand Central Publishing in 2007. True to the Game II and True to the Game III both debuted on The New York Times Bestsellers list. Alibi was released in hardback in 2009 and the highly anticipated Alibi II: Nard’s Revenge will be released on November 1, 2012.

Woods is not the only paralegal who has found success as a fiction writer. Sue Ann Jaffarian, a paralegal for the law firm Hooper, Lundy & Bookman in Los Angeles, is the author of the best-selling Odelia Grey mysteries. The Odelia Grey Mystery Series also featuring a middle-aged, plus size, paralegal as an amateur sleuth. Like the character Odelia Grey, Sue Ann Jaffarian describes herself on her author profile as a middle-aged, plus size paralegal. Jaffarian writers mysteries and general fiction, as well as short stories. The Odelia Grey Myster Series includes Too Big to Miss, The Curse of the Holy Grail, Thugs and Kisses, Booby Trap, Corpose on the Cobb, Wice as Dead, and Hide & Snoop.

Hard-working paralegals possess many skills and attributes to become successful fiction writers, including strong writing skills, the ability to meet deadlines, a hard work ethic, and determination. While not all paralegals or those with paralegal training who venture into the competitive world of fiction writing will be successful, Woods and Jaffariandemonstrate that paralegal training can lead to success in writing fiction.

Brian Craig, the paralegal program chair with the Globe Education Network Online Division since 2008 and instructor at the Minnesota School of Business since 2005, previously worked as an attorney for Thomson-Reuters, legal editor for Wolters Kluwer, judicial law clerk for Idaho District Court Judge Carl Kerrick, and legislative aide for Senator George Runner in the California State Legislature. Besides teaching at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business, Brian has also taught at the University of Minnesota Law School. Brian received his JD from the University of Idaho and a BA in political science from Brigham Young University. He lives in Providence, Utah with his wife and two sons where he is also an adult volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

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