Gary Author Addresses Real Violence with Fiction
By: Hilary Powell
From a little girl in love with literature to a lawyer now tackling community issues, Tracy Coleman’s affinity for fiction is now a daily reality as a lawyer who moonlights as an author.
“I do some criminal law, I do family law, and when people need my help I do my best to help them,” Coleman says. “When I graduated from Valparaiso Law School, I knew I wanted to serve my community. And I’ve always been troubled by crime. Because growing up in Gary I just knew that crime was not normal. It’s just not something you accept.”
She spent five years as a deputy prosecuting attorney with the Lake County prosecutor’s office. In her spare time, the Gary,Indiana attorney wrote a legal thriller “Murder Capital” about a fictional crime-ridden city, Gomor, Indiana.
“The title murder capital in itself inspires conversation because when people ask me, are you talking about my community, then I have to ask them why would anyone identify their community as a murder capital?”
She says many people compare Gomor to Gary, Indiana. In 2013, Gary had the nation’s highest murder rate among small cities according to the FBI. Coleman says there’s a lesson behind the book’s label.
“It’s not about designating them or stigmatizing them with a crime, but to figure out how you solve crime problems when they’re in a concentrated area,” she says. “It’s a battle cry that we have to address it. And that’s where a fictional book that hopefully people find entertaining we can look at different issues.”
The book took her 20 years to write, but says it reflects real-life issues of her beloved city.
“To be able to live in a community that I so love very deeply, Gary, I get to walk in footsteps that were made before me,” she says.
Coleman says she has a happy ending for her readers: There will be a sequel to her book this year.