STAMFORD, Conn. — When Wendy Walker was a student at Brown University, she snagged a coveted two-year internship at Goldman, Sachs & Co., then headed off to earn her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center.
So it might surprise her classmates to know she’s now… a best-selling novelist.
“I took one creative writing course at Brown and I took it pass/fail,” the Stamford resident said with a laugh. “As a lawyer you write a lot, but it was not a passion.
“But once I started doing it, I realized I had a lot to say.”
This year, Walker is celebrating the release of “Emma In The Night,” her second thriller after 2016’s “All Is Not Forgotten,” an international bestseller with the film rights attached to Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon.
So how did she go from financial analyst and corporate litigator to spinner of taut and twisty yarns?
About 19 years ago, the first of her three sons was born and Walker left the law practice to stay at home with him.
She loved spending time with her son, but she craved an outlet for her creative energies.
“I thought what can I do so I don’t lose my mind as a stay-at-home mom in suburbia?” she said.
So she began writing, eventually producing a novel that was never published and two women’s fiction books that were published, but didn’t sell well.
It was not long after that that Walker and her husband divorced. Fourteen years out of the mainstream workforce, she had to get serious about a career, she said.
“I walked into Legal Services and said, ‘Can you use me?’” the Fairfield County native said.
This time around Walker trained and volunteered in family law, eventually taking a job with a law firm. There, she became intrigued by the psychological elements and personality disorders that feed family dynamics.
As luck would have it, the reading public was gobbling up psychological thrillers, such as “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train” at the same time.
Walker decided to give writing another stab, weaving memory science and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder into the gripping story that would become “All Is Not Forgotten.”
The book took off and her agent was able to get a manuscript to Witherspoon and her Emmy-winning production company, Pacific Standard. The company is looking for a major film company to partner on the project.
“It’s still in play, but you never know with these things,” Walker said.
Her latest novel is winning high praise as a smart psychological thriller.
“Twisty…a thriller that keeps readers guessing,” wrote a New York Times critic.
There’s even talk of turning the book into a television series. That could turn Walker into an overnight sensation — 19 years in the making.
“It still always feels like I’m fooling everyone,” she said. “I’ve actually become a writer!”
Walker will tell her story at the next gathering of Après Divorce from 3 to 5 p.m., Nov. 19 at Noble Salon in Stamford. Kristen Jensen, a photographer and image stylist, will also speak. For tickets, visit the website.
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