FAST COMPANY: What prompted you to leave law and take a chance on something as crazy as writing books for teens?
DAYNA LORENTZ: After finishing law school at Fordham, I started working at Debevoise & Plimpton, a great international law firm doing criminal defense and product-liability litigation mostly. I did that for a couple of years and then got a clerkship in federal court. One of my co-clerks was this incredibly smart, talented guy who would get to work in the morning and read all the circuit court opinions that had just been released, the SCOTUS blogs about all the clerks working for the Supreme Court justices, and stuff like that. He had this intense passion for being a lawyer. He was in his element--you could just see that. And I remember talking about this with a friend of mine from college who was also a law clerk. She said, “You don’t need to be like that to be a lawyer.”
But I felt that if was going to be a lawyer, that’s the kind of lawyer I wanted to be. I want to be a person who’s getting up in the morning and is psyched. The law is a fantastic place for people who want to be doing that, but I realized that what I wanted to be doing was telling stories. I had been doing some writing on the side, but like many people, I had convinced myself that this wasn’t something I could do as a real job. But now I started pursuing it more seriously--going to workshops, taking classes, trying to understand what was going on in the industry.