The Next Chapter

How a Central Graduate Followed Her Passion

By Abby Boyer

The pandemic upended our daily lives in a variety of ways. For University of Central Oklahoma alumna Vickie Adams, working from home gave her back a significant amount of time devoted to her daily commute. Instead of baking bread or bingeing TV, she decided it was time to finally put pen to paper and began piecing together what would become her first, award-winning novel.

After graduating from high school, the Wilburton, Oklahoma, native packed her bags and made the 173-mile journey to Edmond to attend UCO and pursue one of her many passions – photography. Four short years later, in 2009, Adams graduated from Central with her bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

But, at the age of 22, Adams realized she wasn’t ready to be a freelance photographer. So, on a whim, she decided to take the LSAT and ended up attending law school. In 2012, Adams graduated with her law degree and passed the bar exam.

Adams worked a few years in Oklahoma City before moving to the Dallas area with her husband and kids – where they currently reside.

After coming to the decision that practicing law wasn’t for her, Adams found herself working for the Center for American and International Law (CAIL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of justice through the education of lawyers and law enforcement. She currently serves as both director of special events and deputy director for the Institute of Energy Law for CAIL.

Through her work at the center, Adams began to learn more about wrongful convictions, which ultimately influenced her writing.

“Many people think that wrongful convictions either don’t happen, or are exceedingly rare,” Adams said. “I wanted to use fiction to illustrate how easy a wrongful conviction can occur.”

Inspiration struck when Adams heard the story of Michael Morton, who was convicted for the murder of his wife, and after serving 25 years in prison was exonerated. Adams was captivated at how this could happen to an innocent person.

Morton’s story lit a fire in Adams, a fire that led her to self-publish her first novel, “The Source of Smoke,” a story about a possible wrongful conviction and an ordinary woman asking unordinary questions.

“I’ve been obsessed with books and reading for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I had several ideas for stories, and I started to feel the pull toward writing. I had started a few books before this one, but whether the timing or the idea was right, I didn’t finish,” Adams said.

The book received positive feedback, not only from book lovers alike, but the community she has surrounded herself with. “The amount of support I’ve received is overwhelming, I am so appreciative of the amazing community who helped me realize this dream,” Adams said.

In the few, short months that her book has been published, it has received award-winning status. “The Source of Smoke” received second place in the Firebird Book Awards and has been named a finalist for the 2022 American Fiction Awards, as well as the Independent Author Network’s Book of the Year Awards.

Adams plans on continuing to share her stories with the world – she has already started her next novel. She is excited for the next chapter, both of her books and life.

“Life is too short for self-limiting beliefs. If you want to do something, do it,” Adams said. Write the book. Get the degree. Take the trip. Don’t spend time worrying about not having all the answers or not knowing what you want to do with your life – most people don’t. And it’s okay to change your mind.”