Twenty years after graduating from the Creighton University School of Law, Jayson Ford switched gears from a career in law to publish his own horror-fiction novel, “A Cure for Nightmares.”
When asked what inspired him to take up writing after working for 28 years primarily in the field of medical malpractice defense, he cited the reasons of “burnout,” “lots of missed holidays” and “to try to enjoy life a little bit better.”
Ford said his book “A Cure for Nightmares” is the first of a trilogy revolving around young children trying to get themselves out of a bad situation. The book takes place in 1976 and focuses on a boy named Jeremy who is haunted by a shadow figure in his dreams.
Ford was inspired by Lemony Snicket, the author of “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and describes his own story as, “a darker version of Lemony Snicket.”
Ford graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 1985 and then attended law school at Creighton until 1988.
He admitted that he always had a love for writing, originally wanting to become a journalist. Once he got to college, he made a change as he had “done debate and that sort of thing, and that kind of just led into law school.”
As an attorney however, Ford said he would write notes to himself from time to time amidst his 60-hour work week schedule. When he retired, he went through the box of notes and tried to make sense of them.
Ford’s wife, Debra J. Ford, who is the Interim Associate Vice Provost at the Teaching and Learning Center and an associate professor within the Interdisciplinary Leadership Doctoral Program at Creighton, served as a beta reader on his novel.
“My favorite part of his writing style is his ability to write dialogue,” she said. “Major parts of his stories emerge through dialogue, rather than the author’s voice telling the reader what is going on.”
Jayson Ford is one among many Creighton graduates who have gone on to publish their own novels. Trey Moody, an assistant professor in the Department of English gave the examples of Ron Hansen, Theodore Wheeler, Andrew Hilleman and Kassandra Montag, who recently sold the TV rights for her forthcoming novel, “After the Flood.”
“Seeing successes such as these, along with those of the many other successful poets and prose writers who have studied in our programs, makes our faculty feel proud to have been able to work so closely with such talented writers, to have been able to watch them grow both as writers and as human beings,” Moody said.
Moore said reading and writing were the key skills he gained from attending law school at Creighton.
“The two things you do most in law school is reading and writing,” Ford said. “The writing is very specialized and some people get it and some people don’t, but any type of writing is going to make you a better writer. Whatever the forum, whatever the reason, take every opportunity to write.”