Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve spent most of my life living in Florida and am a graduate of Florida State University. Go Noles! I am a retired police sergeant having served my community for twenty six years. When I was hired, women were still relatively new to the law enforcement profession and I was one of only five at my department. It certainly led to some challenging times but I’m better for it! I spent ten years as the detective sergeant supervising the department’s Homicide Unit. If you can imagine it, I’ve probably seen it! My career was an incredible journey!
My first book was published last year. I’m working on Volume 2 of it and have an idea for a third book.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My first book was published last year, “Behind and Beyond the Badge”, and I’m currently working on volume 2. Honestly, I got tired of seeing police officers portrayed in a primarily negative light in the media. I’ll be the first to admit that not all cops are good but that’s no different than any profession. I think if everyone thought for just a few minutes they could probably think of at least one person that they’ve encountered in their work life that they thought probably shouldn’t be in that particular profession. Overwhelmingly, the majority of cops are good cops but more importantly they are good people! They live and work in the same communities as everyone else and face all that life has to offer, the good and the bad. Most people see only a badge, behind and beyond the badge is what people need to know, the person! My first book and volume two are stories about individuals who actually did the job. It’s their story; I’m merely the vessel to tell it. I could never have done my job without other first responders too so I’ve included not just police officers but fire fighters, paramedics/EMT’s, dispatchers, crime scene technicians and victim advocates. It’s not just cops but all of these other people who often see the horrific things that we as humans can do to one another. I call these folks my Village of First Responders. I really had no intention of writing a second book but the feedback that I have gotten has been so positive and people truly don’t understand but want to know more. So, volume two is in the works and hoping to have it published this November. The book has also afforded me some amazing opportunities for speaking engagements. I’ve spoken at universities, police academies, civic groups, and book clubs and have done book signings wherever I can. I’m passionate about the books message. My mantra is this, “My book doesn’t have the power to change minds but by offering a different perspective perhaps I can open them!”
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so but one thing I’ve learned is that I can’t force my writing. If the words aren’t there on a particular day I don’t get frustrated or angry, I just take a break and enjoy the day. Some days I write better in the morning and others in the afternoon and most often I have some music playing in the background.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I don’t believe any one particular author or book has really influenced me. I love to read. Like everyone, I have a group of favorites but I also like to read works of new or fairly unknown authors. I read fiction and nonfiction, my “to read” stack is high.
What are you working on now?
Volume 2 of Behind and Beyond the Badge. The stories in this book are much deeper and I’m really excited about the direction it is going. We’re targeting November of 2018 as the publish date.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Hands down it’s Facebook, even with the recent issues they’ve faced. Instagram is next. I am on Twitter and still learning to navigate that world and to grow my following.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
As a new author the entire process can be overwhelming. I am a member of several author groups on different platforms and while many offer good advice it too can be overwhelming. My best advice is to find that one person who you trust and is willing to be a mentor and answer your plethora of questions, because you will have them! If you are limited in your funds, which many new authors are, the one thing I wouldn’t skimp on is your editing and book cover. If your book doesn’t look professional or has a multitude of mistakes it turns people off. And one thing I’ve learned is how important book reviews are. If I read a book I leave a review of it on as many websites as I can. No one has to ask, I do it. I’d suggest that you do the same. And if you’re writing nonfiction, there can be some different challenges. Most people read fiction!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When I was writing my first book there was so much to learn and I’m still learning. Everyone told me to read everything that you can on author forums. It can be overwhelming but they are good places to learn or to take notes and to ask questions about. The best advice I ever got was to have my book professionally edited and I did.
What are you reading now?
“Parade of Horribles” by Rhett DeVane. She’s a fellow author from my area in north Florida and has written several books. I always like to read books by different authors and to support fellow authors.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on volume 2 of my book, the target date for publishing it is November 2018. I have a speaking engagement coming up later this month and am tossing around an idea for a third book, something different but an issue that I am equally passionate about. We’ll see!
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?
There are so many great books out there, I think they would have to be somewhat inspirational or motivational. I really don’t think I can choose!