When She's Not Saving Democracy, Stacey Abrams Writes Novels

by Madison Vanderberg
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty and Amazon

Stacey Abrams low-key is a legal thriller and romance novelist too

Stacey Abrams is a once-in-a-generation political leader and is basically responsible for flipping Georgia blue thanks to her tireless efforts to combat voter suppression. Not surprisingly, she has written two non-fiction books about politics and organizing, but she also recently wrote a political thriller and low-key just signed a deal to write two more (!) novels and (and!) she has been writing romance novels under a pen name for years. Yes, Abrams is both the savior of democracy and a prolific novelist who spams genres!

Abrams recently published the legal thriller While Justice Sleeps on May 11, 2021.

Inspired by Dan Brown-esque legal thrillers that came before her, While Justice Sleeps tells the story of Avery Keene, a young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, who is forced to step in as legal guardian and power of attorney when the Justice falls into a coma. Her newfound power leads to a discovery that the judge was involved in a complex court case involving life-changing biotech and the more Avery discovers about this vast Washington conspiracy, the closer she comes to harm’s way.

Abrams says she was inspired to write the novel in 2008 while at lunch with a lawyer friend as they were chatting about judge’s lifetime appointments. “If you’re an Article III judge, you can only be removed for high crimes and misdemeanors or death,” Abrams explained to Publisher’s Weekly. “So I thought, ‘Oh my God, what if you had a judge on the Supreme Court who was in a coma? There’s literally no mechanism in federal law and the Constitution to address that issue.’ And I sat down and wrote the first scene.”

The book has done so well in its first few weeks (it has already sold more than 130,000 copies) that the publisher just ordered two more books in what will become the While Justice Sleeps trilogy.

Not only that, but While Justice Sleeps wasn’t her first fiction novel, she used to write romance novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery.


Abrams has published eight novels, the first batch being published more than 20 years ago. Thanks in part to the success of her political work and of her new legal thriller, her first romance trilogy (Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion) is being reprinted in 2022.

According to NPR, Abrams wrote the first book while she was in her final year at Yale Law School and wrote the seven other books between law school and her earliest years as a state representative in Georgia, because — again — what can’t this woman do?

“As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I’d wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting.”

These aren’t just romance novels, but romance suspense novels, as the characters work for an espionage organization in the U.S. government.

Also, each novel features a different pair of Black lead characters. When the new versions of the romance trilogy come out, they will feature both Abrams’ real name and her pen name.

I have no idea when she found the time because I thought that saving democracy was a full-time job. Either way, we remain incredibly grateful that Stacey Abrams exists. What an icon.