Redditch barrister puts pen to paper with new novel - The Redditch Standard

Redditch barrister puts pen to paper with new novel

Redditch Editorial 11th Mar, 2024   0

A HIGH FLYING barrister from Redditch has turned courtroom drama into a page turning thriller.

Laura Shepherd is currently helping to represent the people of Wales at the Covid Inquiry in the heart of London, but during lockdown, with remote working, her thoughts also turned to writing.

The result is ‘The Trials of Lila Dalton’ which quickly not only landed her a publishing deal but also rave reviews from both the national press and her thriller writer peers.

“Back then the country was still pretty much locked down,” said the former St Augustine’s High School and Walkwood Middle School pupil.

“Most of my work was done remotely, I wasn’t doing any travelling and so found myself with some extra time.”

The novel was quickly picked up by Pushkin Press who offered her a two book contract, and her second novel is now underway.

“I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm and knew I wanted to write, but I was also interested in doing law,” said Laura, who studied English at Oxford University before doing her law conversion course in Birmingham.

“I first wrote two historical novels, neither of which were picked up, and felt I needed to write about something I really knew.”

At the time she was working as a criminal barrister doing jury trials and it was from there that the spark of the idea The Trials of Lila Dalton was born.

“I remembered the first time I stood up to address a jury,” she said.

“You have these 12 people turn their heads and look at you expectantly, and I remember I went to open my mouth and for a split second my mind went completely blank, before I got going.

“Looking back at that moment I thought to myself, there, you have the start of a thriller.”

After a successful spell in criminal law she’s now working as a health and social care barrister in chambers in Cardiff.

Now however, shuttling back and forwards to London to represent the people of Wales at the Covid Inquiry, she finds little time for leisure activities.

“I’m lucky I don’t have children,” she said.

“I wrote the first book quickly due to lockdown but the second one has taken two years to get the first draught done and still needs fine tuning.

“Weekends just disappear.”

Laura still has strong connections to her home town though. She was brought up in Webheath and her parents and relatives still live here. She also learnt to sail at Redditch Sailing Club.

‘The Trials of Lila Dalton’ is published by Pushkin Press and costs £16.99 from Waterstones and WH Smiths in Redditch.

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