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Caroline Cleveland credits growing up in the rural South and its quieter way of life for her lifelong passion for books and storytelling. As an adolescent, she devoured classics like Old Yeller and The Yearling, discovered Agatha Christie and Steven King in her teenage years, and, later, was mesmerized reading thrillers by authors including John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter and Mary Kubica.

Her dedication to the written word led her to law school at the University of South Carolina, where she earned her degree in 1991. She is certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a specialist in labor and employment law and is the founding partner of Cleveland & Conley, LLC. Caroline’s practice for over thirty years has been dedicated exclusively to employment law with an emphasis on public sector, including law enforcement and local governments. Many of her clients she has represented for more than two decades. Those years together forged a trust and turned those clients into friends who shared their personal insights, opening her mind – and her writing – to different ways of looking at the world.

Caroline draws on her rich and varied life experience working in the law for her writing. She elaborates, “Law school students are warned the first day that the law is a jealous mistress, and there is a reason for that. But I have always made time to read for pleasure. Eventually, it dawned on me that I, too, have entertaining and powerful stories to tell. As a writer, I gravitate toward mystery and suspense, as I cannot resist a character who has a dark secret or is wrestling with inner demons. I have lived in the South all my life, so my stories inevitably come from a Southern perspective, featuring deceptively peaceful small towns and strong, complex characters who rely on their Southern sense of values.”

Her debut novel, When Cicadas Cry, about a high-profile murder case in a small South Carolina town rife with racial tension, will be published by Union Square Publishing on May 7, 2024.

Caroline Cleveland lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, David. If you’d like to know more about her law practice, visit the firm at


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