Angie Hockman flipped the switch on her life seven years ago and never looked back. After attending Case Western Reserve University College of Law in 2006 and graduating from the program, she turned in her briefcase and picked up a pen a few years later, knowing that it was time to follow her passion.
After working at a small law firm in Columbus and moving to Virginia to teach English, she returned to her adopted hometown from college – not too far from her childhood home in Canton – in 2015 with her three-month-old son and husband to be near to his side of the family and start her career as an author.
“I thought ‘gosh I’ve always been a big reader, I have ideas, why not try to put some of them to paper?’” she says as she reflects on her time teaching kids about writing. “Some kind of switch in me went off, and I thought ‘I don’t want to dabble in writing anymore because dabbling is never going to finish a book.’”
Hockman splashed into the romance novel scene in 2021 with her debut novel Shipped, a summertime, enemies to lovers story that takes place on a luxurious cruise ship. Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any lovelier, Dream On released on July 5. It follows Cass Walker, an up-and-coming lawyer in Cleveland, through a major life upheaval and to a man she could only ever dream of meeting.
Placing the story in The Land is a decision that was easy for Hockman, and her heart and soul is evident in every setting.
“I wanted to show some Cleveland love,” Hockman says with a joyful smile. “I felt like it was a really good match for my character and her journey. Cass is somebody who has been through a lot, but you can’t keep her down. She is so determined to move on with her life and achieve her career dreams and I feel like that’s Cleveland.”
Readers will love the familiar callbacks in the book, from Cass’s childhood in Euclid to her school years in Chagrin Falls. Her home in Ohio City and her evenings on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The book is quintessentially Cleveland, all because Hockman fell in love with the city and came back home.
“Not a lot of people know much about Cleveland, especially outside of Ohio,” Hockman says. “They might think ‘oh that’s where LeBron played,’ but they otherwise think that it’s a flyover state, and you couldn’t be more wrong.”
With so much to offer, Cleveland has not only become a home for Hockman, but also a place full of exploration. When she is not behind her desk, she can often be found hiking the emerald necklace with her son, trying new downtown restaurants with her husband and enjoying days on the lake.
Not only have Cleveland’s various neighborhoods and features inspired her novels, but so too have aspects of her life and those close to her. Cass attended Case Western Reserve University just as Hockman did, and the lead character Henley in Shipped is inspired by her husband’s personality.
“I like to joke with my friends and family, ‘be careful being my friend, you never know what I might cherry pick and put in my book,’” Hockman says with a laugh.
Juggling mom life, a part-time day job—manager of Conservation Education Programs at Lindblad Expeditions—and keeping up around the house is a lot for anyone, but for a writer on deadline, it can be especially tricky. She gets through with support from her husband and their combined families who also live local.
“My husband is incredible,” Hockman muses. “Having that support system and also family who live close by (her in-laws live right across the road, her mom in the same part of town), they’re able to help out a lot and pick up my son from school sometimes. Sometimes they’ll make an extra big dinner and invite us over, so I feel very fortunate.”
As for her next project, it’s under wraps. But, fans of Hockman can look forward to another stand-alone rom com from the hometown author who plans on staying right here in the CLE.
“Our families are here,” Hockman says with no intention of leaving the city. “My son is in school here, he’s got his friends, so our roots are pretty deep at this point.”