|Joya Fields, author|
Over the years, Joya has taught arts and crafts, worked in public relations, owned a daycare center, helped her children raise prize-winning 4-H livestock, competed in three marathons, and even spent a year as a Baltimore Colts cheerleader. Joya loves spending time with her high school sweetheart/husband of over twenty years, two very supportive children, and a pug who follows her everywhere. www.joyafields.com
Thank you so much to the Greater Fort Worth Writers for having me with you today to chat about law enforcement for non-law enforcement writers.
What about the rest of us? I started out to write contemporary romance. A nice, sweet story with some conflict and a happy ending. My characters had a different plan. On the very first page of my very first manuscript, someone was hiding in the shadows, watching my heroine.
Me: “How can someone who doesn’t have experience with police work write a suspense and make it realistic?”
Lucky for me, he went on to explain some resources, web sites and books. After class, a guy tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his card. “Call me anytime,” he said. Then he walked away.
My debut romantic suspense novel, BENEATH THE SURFACE, includes a lot of scenes with police and sheriff officials. Thanks to the Florida police departments I spoke with, I even found out what color uniforms these officers wear. I’ve written several romantic suspense novels now, and have learned a lot about how to get the law enforcement part right. Here are some things that have helped me:
1. First and foremost, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask a police department for help. Don’t dial 9-1-1, though. Call public affairs and they’ll likely direct you to someone who can help.
2. If your county allows, sign up for a police ride-along. In my county, anyone over eighteen without a criminal record can go along with an officer for a full shift. Absolutely nothing compares to seeing law enforcement in person. A cool perk is that you also get to run red lights and drive really fast.
3. Take on-line workshops geared to teach writers about law enforcement. These are given by former police personnel, retired FBI agents, and others. Savvyauthors.com offers a wide variety of these courses.
4. Link: crimescenewriter is a terrific yahoo group that features law enforcement professionals and other writers who will answer your questions.
5. Books also make great sources.
Here’s a list of my favorite ones:
Murder and Mayhem: D.P. Lyle, M.D.
Forensics for Dummies: D.P. Lyle, M.D.
Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand: Dana Kollman
The Crime Writer’s Reference Guide: Martin Roth
Mind Hunter: John Douglas
Thanks for stopping by today. I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with law enforcement (good or bad). Don't forget to come back on Friday for a short excerpt of Beneath The Surface.
Find Joya on the web: http://www.joyafields.com/