She is the author of a new series of books called the Jack & Shea LAPD Homicide Series. Her first book in the series, Hold Fast, was released in June of 2016, and the second book, Bell Lap, was released in August.
1. What inspired to you write and publish mysteries?
The inspiration to write is easy; it has been a compulsion since as far back as I can remember (I have the proof stuffed in a trunk in the garage). The decision to publish was far more difficult, and I went about it in every wrong way possible. After ten years of writer's conferences, two literary agents, an expensive editor, and a drawer of rejects, I actually stopped writing for three years. It seemed like folly to me at that point. Then after reconnecting with my training officer from 30 years ago (he encouraged me not to give up, and one should always listen to their training officer) and another self-published author saying "I am an author no matter how small the audience," I decided to do it. I poured a glass of wine and began uploading (ergo beginning the cautionary tale of how not to navigate self-publishing.
2. How has your work experience influenced you as a writer?
My work, my experiences, and my observations are in nearly every sentence of every book.
3. Have you always been writing fiction, or is it something you took up more recently?
I've been writing and drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.
4. Would you tell us a little bit about your two main characters? Also, what made you decide to write from each of their perspectives in different volumes in your series of books?
The first book is from Shea Reed's point of view. I wanted the reader to see the LAPD, murder, partnership, through the eyes of a woman. Also, she is single and makes endless questionable choices with men. Her partner, Jack Rainier, is married with two little girls. I am a big fan of series-fiction, and I love following characters through multiple books, but I want to give my readers a back and forth between two characters as opposed to being saddled with just one for the ride. And the archetype of a male cop in fiction is an alcoholic, divorced, and hanging around with rough women. Well, how did he get that way? Why do books and movies always start there? I wanted to show the true strain working homicide has on a very good man. I also wanted to take the reader into the very intimate nature of a police partnership; it's a bond that is beyond friendship.
5. As someone with extensive experience in law enforcement, where do you find the balance between your factual knowledge and your need to fictionalize events for a novel?
The hardest question! When I first began submitting my scenes to my writer's group, they hammered me about being too clinical, too procedural. It was clear I was more concerned with being rigidly authentic (for who? Other cops? Probably) than I was about creating a dramatic story. The books still lean more towards procedural, because I like the "regularness" of police work: it's not all chasing bad guys.
I also had to be careful how I created characters since many of the scenes in Hold Fast are pulled from life, so I had to make sure I didn't harm anyone I knew. There is one character that I didn't change much; he is Shea and Jack's boss. He's based on my homicide boss, who is a very wise and caring man, and such a great character in real life that he translated right on to the page.
The series is fiction, and the cases they have are fiction, but the inspiration is from my experiences and some verbatim experiences. For example, there is a scene in the bar at a golf course the detectives drink at where there is a confrontation with the newly acquitted OJ Simpson. He invites Shea to have her picture taken with him and well....you, gotta read the book. :)