This interview happened early this summer and was recently pub'd. Updated 10/4/23
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
In 1977 I became the third generation in my family to sign on as a lawman. Serving as a patrol officer, evidence technician (long before CSI was a thing), and vice/intelligence detective it was my posting as an undercover narcotics agent that fit me best. I relished the life of hand to hand undercover drug “buys”, clandestine lab investigations and the requisite counterfeit persona. I still revel in the adventures and friendships that come with being part of that police fraternity.
After retiring due to injury, I had a successful second career in corporate America and... it bored me to death. The high point of that life was traveling the world; Malaysia, Dubai, Beijing, Moscow, Rio, Hong Kong and much more. Still, that world was never a fit, not for an ex-Night Policeman.
My wife Janet and I now call southwest Florida home. I keep up with my passions: baseball, fishing, and all things cooking and BBQ, not necessarily in that order.
My co-author, Paul James Smith and I are deep into our third book. Our first, THE NIGHT POLICE, was published in 2020. The manuscript for THE BLEEDING is complete and currently under consideration for publication. We're happy to say, the unfinished manuscript was awarded awarded The Claymore Award in the Best Investigative category at the 2022 Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference and it's been named a Finalist for the 2023 Page Turner Award. The first draft of our third book, TWILIGHT AT WOLFIE’S is complete and it feels like a winner!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Our third book, TWILIGHT AT WOLFIE’S is in development as we speak. Both Paul and I being retired detectives, gravitate towards true cases and TWILIGHT AT WOLFIE’S is no exception.
Some context may help. Miami in the early 60’s was spawned by a swashbuckling odyssey of extraordinary events, including the audacious rise of the city’s hoteliers, the sharp elbowed tactics of mobsters and government agencies, and the corrupt politicians and police officers who did their bidding. We’ve opted to reimagine a factual incident that originated from that era.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Collaborating with another author isn’t, in and of itself, all that unusual, but in our case the geography presents challenges. Paul lives in the Pacific Northwest and I live just off the Everglades. 3,300 miles and three time zones make it a bit of a challenge.
I get my best work done after midnight and not surprisingly, Paul’s up an at em at about 4AM. Needless to say, we’ve had to learn to adapt.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Anything written by Joseph Wambaugh; Bill Browder’s RED NOTICE; A.F. Hotchner’s PAPPA HEMINGWAY; Elmore Leonard’s GET SHORTY; Peter Matthiessen’s SHADOW COUNTRY; Amor Towles A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW and Gregory David Robert’s SHANTARAM have all influenced me in one way or another.
What are you working on now?
Our third book, TWILIGHT AT WOLFIE’S is in development and the first edit is underway. We are also debating concepts about book four... long way to go.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
We’ve gained a lot of traction at writer’s conferences and doing radio interviews and podcasts. We’ve also spent a lot on social media with results that seem hard to quantify.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Listen to all the stereotypical advice that says, “Just keep at it,” “Write everyday,” “Learn the craft,” “There are no shortcuts,” and read, read, read. You can’t get there without sacrifice to the craft-Gods.
Know going in, for every piece of advice you find on the internet, you’ll find a counter argument. Pick what makes sense and move forward. You’re going to make mistakes and it’s just part of learning the craft.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Bite your tongue ’til the blood runs down your chin.” It works in most every application.
What are you reading now?
EVERYBODY BEHAVES BADLY by Leslie M.M. Blume, CHARACTERS AND VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card and MIAMI BABYLON by Gerald Posner.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Continuing to learn the craft. That’s just an accepted part of life any more. Killer Nashville’s Writer’s Conference is coming up and Paul and I will be doing two presentations and participating in a couple of panels. And of course there will be cocktails with good friends.
The ever-present discussion about the “the next book” is always on the table.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Wambaugh’s THE CHOIR BOYS; KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL by Anthony Bourdain; THE RIVER’S RAN EAST by Leonard Clare; FRIDAYS WITH RED by Bob Edwards and THE BIBLE.
About THE NIGHT POLICE:
FAST-PACED TRUE CRIME FICTION FROM FORMER REAL-LIFE NIGHT POLICEMEN
If you can't get enough of true crime podcasts, documentaries, and police procedurals, join former law enforcement officers Chris Berg and Paul James Smith and take a look behind the curtain into the gritty world of policing.
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