By day, he is Georgia's inspector general, the guy who investigates allegations of fraud, waste and abuse in state government. Murky and turbulent waters, to be sure.
By night, he retreats to his basement office in Warm Springs, Ga., into the mysterious world of the Letterford family. "Will Colophon Letterford discover the link between her family's literary legacy and Shakespeare's tomb before it's too late?"
Only time, and Deron R. Hicks, will tell.
That question about Colophon's quest is on the book jacket of Hicks' first work of fiction, Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave, to be published later this year.
On Labor Day weekend Hicks will speak and sign books at the AJC Decatur Book Festival, which runs August 31-September 2.
Will the state inspector general reveal the secrets of how an attorney becomes an author of mysteries for teenagers? Again, time and the author will tell. But we do know this:
Hicks graduated from the University of Georgia in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, then attended Mercer Law School and earned his law degree in 1993. He was a law clerk to Wilbur D. Owens Jr., U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, for two years. In 1995 he entered private practice in Columbus, Ga., and became a partner in the law firm of Page, Scrantom, Sprouse, Tucker & Ford.
In 2007 he took a job as general counsel for the Home Builders Association of Georgia. He returned to private practice in 2010 at the Page Scrantom law firm.
In January 2011, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal appointed Hicks to be the state's third inspector general.
Hicks spoke to the Daily Report about his role in government and, more importantly, his mysterious side.
When Governor Deal announced your appointment you were quoted as saying it was not a job you had sought. How did it come about, and how has the first year and a half gone?
In the fall of 2010, I had just returned to private practice in Columbus, after spending three years as general counsel for the Home Builders Association of Georgia. I had no plans on changing jobs, and I was ready to settle back into private practice. However, when the opportunity came available to interview for a position in Governor Deal's administration, I couldn't pass it up.
My first year and a half as inspector general has been an exciting and educational experience. I have a great staff, so it has been a relatively easy transition into government service.
There are 300 authors at this year's Decatur Book Festival. How did you get into writing?
Up until 2008, all of my efforts at writing had been confined to legal issues. I co-authored a book with Charles Adams III for Harrison Publishing Co. back in 1995, and authored or co-authored Mercer Law Review's torts survey article for 12 years. I never really thought about writing fiction.