From law to lit: Writer with local roots pens new novel

Tiffany Killoren. PHOTO CREDIT: Cathryn Farley Contributed

"Good Will" by Tiffany W. Killoren. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Author and Dubuque native Tiffany Killoren spent many years during her law practice as a litigator, specializing in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

As an attorney, she spent much of her time outside the courtroom writing briefs, memos, case histories, letters and legal arguments. She loved what she was doing, even if it wasn’t the most creative way to write.

While she admitted her life and career were going very well, Killoren, 46, said eventually the work took its toll.

“When you’re a litigator, it’s your job to argue day in and day out. And it’s someone else’s job to prove you wrong,” she said. “And that’s very taxing.”

Killoren now works as an internal communications manager and novelist in Kansas City, Mo. Her second novel, “Good Will,” was released in late February by St. Louis-based Amphorae Publishing Group.

A graduate of Western Dubuque High School, Killoren completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa, where she majored in journalism and Russian. Following a stint studying in St. Petersburg, Russia, she attended the University of Minnesota School of Law.

After earning her Juris Doctorate and passing the bar, Killoren settled in Kansas City, where she worked as a litigator for 15 years.

Killoren’s husband, Alan, is an android developer. They have two sons: Max, 13; and Finn, 10.

“I started writing outside of my work responsibilities when my first son was born,” she said. “And I never stopped. I got such satisfaction from putting words on paper. It fueled something in me.”

Killoren continued to balance her work as an attorney with her writing, publishing her first novel, “Six Weeks in Petrograd,” in 2013. She left the practice of law in 2015 to focus on her writing career.

In 2018, a law firm in Kansas City came calling and offered her the position of internal communications manager.

“It was a tough decision, but ultimately I took the job,” she said. “Because I work only on internal communications within the firm, there is a lot of room for me to be creative with my work. And it’s flexible enough to allow me to continue to write novels.”

“Good Will” focuses on four women, each of whom have reached a critical crossroads in their lives.

“I write flawed, relatable characters,” Killoren said. “These women have come to the realization that life is not going the way they thought it would.”

The women’s lives become intertwined when a box of thrift store donations falls into the hands of one of them. The items in the box eventually bring them together, and they help each other to move on with their lives.

“I’m a big believer in serendipity,” Killoren said. “That people come into our lives for a reason. And that’s a lot of what this book is about.”

Killoren considers Dubuque home. In fact, her novel-in-progress contains an homage to an oft-repeated and familiar Dubuque landmark.

“The Victorian homes on the bluff along the river,” she said. “I love them so much. And my next novel takes place in a river town, with a Victorian home on the bluff being a big piece of the story.”

“Good Will” is available for purchase online through Amazon at or Barnes and Noble at

Killoren will be in Dubuque for a reading and book signing from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Books a Million, 555 John F. Kennedy Road.

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