Friday, May 11, 2012

THE IDEAS FOR AUTHENTIC CRIME-ARRESTING STORIES

Posted by Ruby Johnson

Hi, my name is Kathy Bennett and I write romantic suspense books, and suspense novels with romantic elements. Prior to retiring, I was a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department for twenty-one years. 

I think most people naturally assume the conception of my books comes from experiences I had working as a cop. In part, that supposition is true – but not entirely. While I use my time with the LAPD to flavor my novels, oddly enough, that's not where I've gotten the initial impetus for my e-books. 

My first book, a romantic suspense called A Dozen Deadly Roses dealt with a female LAPD officer being stalked. That book actually originated from the fact that I myself was a victim of a stalker. My personal experience was not nearly as exciting or dangerous as what my lead character Jade Donovan experienced, but that was where the initial idea came from.

My second book, a suspense novel with romantic elements, called A Deadly Blessing was released earlier this month. The idea for this story came out of several news reports involving politicians who were behaving badly. But my story also reveals very real crime problems that, on a regular basis, affect the lives of every day people. In fact, I'm finding that one of my goals when I'm writing my stories is to not only entertain the reader, but to expose and educate (in an interesting way) just how devious the criminal element can be.

 A Deadly Blessing is the first in a series featuring LAPD Detective Maddie Divine.  Here's a brief rundown of the main characters:
 Maddie Divine: Her marriage hangs by a thread, her SWAT-officer husband has lost it, and almost as bad, she can’t trust her detective partner.
 Travis Divine: After the death of a SWAT teammate, he’s a shell of the man he used to be. He’s lost touch with his work, his wife and occasionally even reality. Can he regain the warrior mentality needed to support Maddie and do his job?
 Preston Truesdale: The California governor’s daughter has gone missing, and so has her only bone marrow donor. Is it coincidence or something more sinister?
 Pilar Luna: The mayor of Los Angeles is a media favorite, and she plays Preston like a Vegas pro would play a Midwestern farmboy…all in hopes of reaching the White House. Will she hit the jackpot?
 Tiffany Truesdale: The brainiac teenager evaded her security team to spend a night on the town with her girlfriends, but can she outwit the man who kidnapped her before time runs out?

 I hope you'll find A Deadly Blessing a lightning-paced story of suspense that keeps you on edge from beginning to end. Please note this book contains commonly used street language.
 My current work in progress is the second installment in the Maddie Divine series. The idea for this book actually came from a reality television show. I was watching TV one day and saw how crooks could manipulate the show's premise for a life of crime. Which television show was it? I'm not saying…I'm a suspense writer, remember? J

Excerpt: A Deadly Blessing

MADDIE − 1

“Maddie, do not hang up the phone.”
“Travis, I’m working. I can’t talk right now.”
“You’re always working. What’s more important, our marriage or your job?”
My partner, Darius Cutter, plucked my cell phone from my hand. “Hey, dude, she’ll call you later. The chief and the mayor are waiting for us.” He snapped my cell shut and handed it back to me. “Let’s go.”
“You shouldn’t have done that.” Immediately, the phone vibrated in my hand. The display showed a smiling photo of my husband — a photo taken when Travis was okay and normal. A pang of sorrow stabbed my chest.
“Ignore it,” Darius said, referring to the quivering phone. “Call him back when we’re out of our meeting.” He led the way out of the noisy detective squad room to the foyer where we’d catch the elevator.
I knew Darius was right. When the chief of police calls and orders you to a meeting with the mayor, you hustle your ass to get there. But my husband was on edge, to say the least. Guilt weighed heavily on me for putting work ahead of him, but I rationalized that Travis was a cop and knew that sometimes it was necessary. Meanwhile, I followed my partner while we traversed the Police Administration Building and then over to City Hall.
It’s not every day a girl gets to meet both the chief of police and the mayor of Los Angeles. I wondered why today was my day.
We stood in the lobby where we’d been told to wait for Chief Fryer and his adjutant. I twisted my wedding ring on my finger; a sure sign I was nervous. Technically, the chief is my boss, but as one of hundreds of LAPD detectives working for him, our paths had never crossed – until now.
I noticed a sheen sprouting on Darius’s forehead. That sweat on his mocha skin was the only giveaway he was stressed, too. “I don’t like this,” said Darius. “I expected the ‘hurry up and wait’ but we don’t even know why we’re here. I don’t like going into any meeting unprepared, much less one where the chief and the mayor are running the show. Why all the mystery?”
 Read more here....
~~~~
Many thanks to the Greater Fort Worth Writers for hosting me today. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to leave a comment here or visit me at http://www.KathyBennett.com
 I'm giving away a free copy of my latest e-book, A Deadly Blessing to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Please put your email address in your comment.

19 comments:

Cal said...

You look like a small lady. I'm wondering how do you carry around all that hardware(gun, handcuffs, sticks,etc.) all day long? Do cops have a lot of back problems caused by their job?

Caroline Clemmons said...

Your excerpt and premise sound intriguing. Nice to "meet" you here. Best wishes with your writing career.

Ruby Johnson said...

Kathy:
Thanks so much for visiting our blog. You know I'm a big fan of stories with detectives. And this one seems to be even better than your first book.

Jeff Turner www.ilypants.net said...

I'm not a police officer but I am in Citizen's Police Academy in Fort Worth. Plus Community Emergency Response Team. In my non-ficiton writing I have written about both of those groups and some of their activities like touring the County Jail - that was an "experience" let me tell you. Hence one learns that any life exerience is a good source for whatever you are penning at the time.

MattB said...

Honestly, a lot more intriguing than I was expecting. You have a natural gift of the pen!

SusieSheehey said...

Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy! Incredible gift!

Lacy said...

Just curious but did being a police officer help or hinder your creative side? A Deadly Blessing sounds face paced--a heart stopper. Best of luck in your career!

C. A. Szarek said...

Wow...I need to read that book! The excerpt sucked me in and I need to see more. :) Great job. I also write romantic suspense, tho it's new for me and it's been a struggle. You make it look easy!

Thorne said...

Nothing better than having a cop write a detective novel. Really lends to the authenticity. How much do you have to hold back on the actual life of a cop when you write?

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Cal!

You're right. The equipment belt can weigh about 20-25 pounds depending on what an officer has on it.

I was able to handle the belt without any problems until I had an on-duty traffic accident. That traffic collision was part of the reason I retired after 21 years. I probably would have worked until I had 25 years on the LAPD if not for the back issues.

Thank you so much for visiting with me here!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Caroline!

Thank you very much. I'm sure enjoying the experience!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Ruby!

I think my first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses was an excellent romantic suspense book. However, with A Deadly Blessing, I think I found my true writer's voice.

A Deadly Blessing is a little more 'true to life!'

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Jeff!

I commend you for doing both the Citizen's Police Academy and the CERT program. The Citizen's Police Academy, I'm sure, has shown you that being a cop isn't exactly a walk in the park.

The CERT program will be invaluable in case of an emergency where you live. Your neighbors (who aren't prepared) will love you!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Matt!

Thank you! I try to do what successful authors recommend...write what you know!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Susie!

Thank you! I'm hoping it only gets better!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Lacy!

My first attempt at writing a novel was a straight romance. I met another author who wrote romantic suspense and she said: "You are a fool if you don't use your experience to write suspense."

My mama didn't raise any fools...so now I write suspense!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi C.A.!

Thank you! Writing is never easy...but I'm happy to see my diabolical plot to keep you turning pages worked!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Thorne!

I suspect there a number of cops that I know that wish I wasn't so forthcoming. But I like to tag myself with a line that says I write 'Authentic Crime...Arresting Stories.' I tell the stories I need to tell - warts and all.

One of the compliments I get by current and former cops is that I 'get it right' and nail the political nonsense that goes on in police departments. It seems no police agency is immune!

Kathy Bennett said...

Congratulations to Jeff Turner! He won the free copy of A Deadly Blessing!

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