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UNC alumnus uses law experience to write second trial novel, 'You Have Your Way'


DTH Photo Illustration. UNC alumnus E. Vernon F. Glenn is publishing his second novel, "You Have Your Way".

As a child, E. Vernon F. Glenn’s father would give him books to read that were far above his age's typical reading level. 

Glenn’s love for reading continued through boarding school and well into his time at UNC. When friends would ask him to go out for beer, Glenn's typical response was ‘No, I’m reading’.”

Glenn graduated from UNC in 1972 with a degree in political science and has worked as a trial lawyer for over 45 years. Now, he is publishing his second novel, titled “You Have Your Way,” which is now available for purchase. The book is a successor to his previous work, “Friday Calls: A Southern Novel."

Glenn was inspired to write his first novel after he shared stories from trials with his friends.

“One night I was standing in a restaurant with a bunch of friends and had just told a story,” Glenn said. “Somebody said, ‘You ought to write a book,’ and I said, 'Ah, that's a nice idea.' A good friend of mine pulled me aside and said, 'Write the damn book.'”

Laurie Hutchins, a former district court judge in Winston-Salem, met Glenn at Wake Forest School of Law and wrote the blurb for “You Have Your Way”.

“He's always had the gift of gab and been able to spin a tale,” Hutchins said. 

Hutchins graduated from UNC in 1978 and said she knows no bigger Tar Heel than Glenn. While UNC hasn't been mentioned much in his previous writing, she predicts Chapel Hill will play a prominent role in his future works. 

Hutchins and Glenn were also partners at a law firm during the 1980s. Hutchins said she wasn't surprised when Glenn told her he was going to start writing. 

“He was a great trial attorney and trial attorneys are storytellers,” Hutchins said. “He was a plaintiff's attorney and that really means you're a storyteller.”

Hutchins loves Glenn's books because she knows many people and cases that are involved in them. While the novel is mostly fiction, the heart of the story is the real lawsuits Glenn worked on. Hutchins enjoyed finding out about popular cases she never knew Glenn was involved in.

After "Friday Calls," was published, lawyer Eddie Terrell, a fictional character in the novel, became popular among Glenn’s readers. Many enthusiasts requested that Glenn expand more on his life, so Glenn started writing "You Have Your Way" in summer 2019.

“Eddie comes out with a bang and keeps coming out with a bang throughout 'You Have Your Way,'” Glenn said. “It’s more adventures, it’s trial work, it’s scheming. Eddie really takes some risks in this one.”

Glenn's novel is representative of typical trial work, and the initial manuscript was reviewed by lawyers and judges who found it accurate.

Hannah Larrew, Glenn’s publicist, said it’s easy to connect with Glenn's characters, especially Eddie. She particularly enjoys how the book explores his troubled side. Although Eddie is a trial lawyer, he gets into mischief through drug-related issues.

“Eddie starts his career out totally abiding by the law, but it does explore those darker desires and the darker side of the community,” Larrew said. “It takes you on a pretty wild ride."

However, comedy also guides Glenn's courtroom thrillers.

“Vernon has a lot of humor in his writing,” Larrew said. “I think he’s done a really good job at putting that into the dialogue of the book.”

Larrew said it's interesting how Glenn has turned his career into something else entirely since he considers writing his "second act."

“I think it speaks to folks interested in a law career as well as those interested in writing, and how you can tie those two together,” Larrew said.


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