When it comes to writing, I’m usually fairly honest. I’ve got more memory than imagination. Every book or story I write comes with a standard disclaimer about any similarities to persons living or dead or actual events are purely coincidental.
But I really do base my stories on the real cases I worked, supervised, or knew a lot about. Of course, to keep myself out of trouble, I fictionalize everything, embellish the storyline, and change the names to protect the guilty. Those are the people who could take me to civil court. The TV series Law & Order aired episodes based on the hot news of the day for almost twenty years, why can’t I?
I also know every character you, the reader, meet in all the Sam Jenkins mysteries. Like the stories, which may be one or more incidents melded together, these people can be composites of two or more individuals I knew. They may not be the fictional characters you’re currently reading about, but they are former acquaintances cast into the roles of the story for logistical purposes. All that helps when I write dialogue. If I can “see” how a person acts and “hear” how they speak from memory, I can give these “imaginary friends” a unique voice. This is especially helpful when writing the dialogue for female characters.
Then there’s Sam Jenkins. It would be foolish to say I didn’t put a bit of myself into him. In doing so, I’m only making things easy for myself again. Sam and I share many common experiences. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he trudged along with me during my days in the Army and he sat across the aisle from me in the police academy. When we both retired and moved from New York to Tennessee, he took the job of chief at Prospect PD and I decided to chronicle his adventures—like Holmes and Watson.
I like presenting the reader with authentic police procedural having lots of “insider” details. I also like telling my stories in the fewest number of words. To do that efficiently, I use lots of dialogue. Sam does all the narrating in these 1st person stories, so it only makes sense that in the personal or professional situations, he speaks as I would speak. Similarly, he acts as I would act in his investigations and police procedures. So, our relationship is symbiotic and our similarities, so far, translates well into fiction.
We’re both sarcastic at times, humorous when we can get away with it, and when it comes to our law enforcement abilities, we’re not shy about telling everyone we were or are pretty good. But Sam is much less modest than I ever was. His ego is just slightly smaller than North Dakota.
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Continue reading for the giveaway
I have been allowed to host a giveaway for 1 eBook copy of A New Prospect. This giveaway is open worldwide and ends on December 21st. Entry for this giveaway is simple, all you need to do is leave your name (you can use a pseudonym if you like) and email address in the Rafflecopter form.
Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style. The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend. Jenkins’ abilities are attacked when Lovejoy’s influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators. Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture. In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. A New Prospect takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.