Meg Gardiner Talks Unsub Series

By Maggie Denena

Monday afternoon, Students headed to Murder By The Book in Houston for a discussion and book signing by author Meg Gardiner. True to MBTB style, the book signing was for Gardiner’s newest release, The Dark Corners of the Night, the third book in a murder mystery/detective crime series.  A former attorney and Stanford graduate, Gardiner is also a three-time Jeopardy winner.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

Gardiner is the author of 15 books, the last three of which have featured Caitlin Hendrix, an FBI Behavior Analyst.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

Each of these books is based on a real-life serial killer, and her latest features a “Night-Stalker” like killer.

Joining Ms. Gardiner “on stage” was fellow author S. C. Perkins, who asked insightful questions.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

Sample questions:

  • Are you a plotter or “seat of your pantser”?  This question refers to authors’ different styles of writing.  Some plot out each of their books, almost to the point of where writing is anti-climactic.  Others fly by the seat of their pants, letting each day’s writing take them in a new direction.  Gardiner leans toward plotting.
  •  How much of your time is spend on research?  Gardiner spends extensive time on research, to the point that she compiles mounds of paperwork as background knowledge, while knowing only about 10 percent of it will actually go into the final book.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

The audience was invited to ask questions as well.  When asked, for example, if she thought of her main character, Caitlin, on an everyday basis, Gardiner said, “yes,” adding that “she is always thinking of what Caitlin would be doing and how she would spend her free time.”

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

As it turns out, we can all spend a little more time with Caitlin, now that Amazon has purchased the rights to the character and series.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

Ms. Gardiner was a sharp presenter, offering crisp and entertaining responses to questions, and she was super accommodating following the discussion.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Murder by the Book, Meg Gardiner, Unsub

As readers of our blog know, we typically tie our event theme into the restaurant we find for dinner , but Gardiner’s discussion did not have a strong regional tie (serial murder is a universal phenomenon).  Therefore, we went for an easy option: since “Dark Corners of the Mind” was set in California, we followed up the signing with dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  The pizza kitchen served some good sized pizza portions that most of us had to take home in to-go containers (nothing is better than left over pizza for breakfast). Our table had an arrangement of pizza, pasta, and soup!​

 

 

Pre-Law Society: Getting into Law School

By Heather Barodi

Our second meeting of the semester was another success. With a total of 70 members (a spring record), the organization continues to grow and meet the needs of one of the University’s most diverse organizations.

The meeting began with us updating our finances, approving minutes, and discussing upcoming opportunities, including: Mock LSAT, Mock Law class, the 10th Court of Appeals, and many others.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Pre-Law Society, PLS, Legal Kats, Kattorneys, South Texas College of Law, Dean Alicia Cramer

With this preliminary work out of the way, we introduced our guest speaker, Dean Alicia Cramer, who oversees admissions for South Texas College of Law (STCL).

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Pre-Law Society, PLS, Legal Kats, Kattorneys, South Texas College of Law, Dean Alicia Cramer

Dean Cramer wasted no time with tips to get into, not just STCL, but also other law schools in which students might be interested.

Her first point that she stressed was that doing well in our undergrad years matters a lot.  Your grades, LSAT, major, grade trends, organizational leadership, and experience can all influence whether you are accepted to law school.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Pre-Law Society, PLS, Legal Kats, Kattorneys, South Texas College of Law, Dean Alicia Cramer

Dean Cramer stressed that being prepared for your LSAT and taking it once was a key strategy: poor scores, even if they are replaced by higher scores, stay on your record.  She did recommend prep courses, highlighting the free Khan Academy, which she has seen benefit many students.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Pre-Law Society, PLS, Legal Kats, Kattorneys, South Texas College of Law, Dean Alicia Cramer

Dean Cramer also told us that the personal statements should stay to a 2 ½ page maximum, unless otherwise stated. She said think about it like an interview on paper, so say what is important, but do not repeat your resumes, since the schools will have it. Be concise with your statement and do not lose sight of what your topic is.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Pre-Law Society, PLS, Legal Kats, Kattorneys, South Texas College of Law, Dean Alicia Cramer

With all the new found knowledge and tips we obtained from Dean Cramer, we ended with a Q&A session just in case students had some questions on topics we had missed.  More than most sessions, the students engaged and asked good questions, a sign, perhaps, of our students becoming closer and more engaged.,

Our next meeting will be March 18.  We will meet in CHSS 252, where we will follow-up Dean Cramer’s presentation with a workshop on law-sch0ol selections–with us serving as the selection committees and reviewing actual resumes and letters of recommendations.