Author Interview of Chris Swinney

Please introduce yourself, when you began writing, your background, where you live, etc. cover

Hey folks, my name is Chris Swinney, and I use the pen name of C. L. Swinney. I’m married with two kids and I work in law enforcement in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to volunteer time at my wife’s school, local charities, and anything involving Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

I began writing seriously in college. I wrote poetry and began writing magazine articles for fly fishing. I’ve been in Fly Fisherman Magazine, California Game & Fish magazine,, and the Alaskan Clarion Newspaper.

Currently I’m assigned to a task force covering a wide variety of responsibilities, from tracking down suspects to processing clandestine labs. It’s rewarding work, but sometimes I get ten hours or less of sleep in a week.

Do you write every day, and are novels the only things you write?

I try to write or edit every day. I’m working on editing the second book in my Bill Dix series and I just began writing the third book a few months ago.  I’m sticking to novels, but my friend and poet (author and professor as well), John Brantingham, has inspired me to write poetry again.

I know you have a new novel just released. Please tell my readers about it.

Yes! My first novel, Gray Ghost, came out in July and it has been so much fun hearing feedback about my characters and story.

The elevator pitch is this: Two off-duty narcotic detectives go fly fishing in the Bahamas. They quickly learn their guides were murdered before their arrival.  The locals share with the detectives that they think the guides were drug mules and were murdered by a man known simply as “The Caller.”  Against their better judgment, the detectives get involved and work with the locals to spring a trap for the Caller. Unfortunately, he’s well ahead of their plans. In the end, the main character, Bill Dix, and the Caller, have no idea what happened after an attempt to capture the Caller.

What other writing interests you?

I’m interested in poetry. Recently I learned there are so many forms of poetry and that I was butchering several of them. I grabbed a few books from John Brantingham and have done several exercises to write better poems. It’s coming around. I think I’ll stick with it.

What is your most rewarding writing experience?

I really enjoy hearing from the readers of my stories. My work seems to hit people differently. I write for an audience interested in law enforcement, police work, narcotics, fly fishing, and the outdoors. Gray Ghost captured all of these things, which is why I think it’s been so warmly accepted. The most rewarding experience for me is hearing people ask for more of my writing.

Do you belong to any writing groups, or critique groups?CLSwinneyProfile (2)

I belong to the Public Safety Writer’s Association (PSWA) and I’ve applied for Mystery Writers of America. I am not yet part of a critique group, and I can’t tell you why that is. Most of the great writers I know are in these groups. I’ve been too busy to find one right for me, but I’m looking.

Are you working on a new project?

I’m actually working on two projects right now. I’m currently editing the second book in the Bill Dix series, called The Collectors. This is very time-consuming and I’m dumping thousands of words at a time… My other project is the third (unsure if it’s the final) in the Bill Dix series. I work all day, help at the house, then write from around 10pm to 1 or 2 in the morning. Needless to say, it’s a slow process for me.

Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?

I’d like your readers to know that I spend a huge amount of time making my fiction as believable as possible. I take real life experiences and apply them to my novels, but I won’t share industry secrets or the names of people I’ve investigated. I won’t cross the line to sell a book; it’s not worth it to all my brothers and sisters in blue.

Please provide the readers with a link to your website, and a link to your book.

You can check out more about me at my website located at

And you can pick up a copy of Gray Ghost on here





Published by John M. Wills

Award-winning author and freelance writer. Published ten books in addition to more thant 200 articles, short stories, and poetry. Writing professionally since retiring from the FBI in 2004.

8 thoughts on “Author Interview of Chris Swinney

  1. I have the book and haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m really looking forward to it. I have a feeling it’s going to be killer (little, very little, pun).
    Terrific interview.

  2. Hi Chris,
    Trying this again. Loved your interview. I especially liked where you told us you liked to write poetry. Most men I know, rarely read and never read poetry. I think that’s awesome! I use to write a lot of poetry when I was a teenager, but none since. I will have to check out John Brantingham books and see if anything sparks.

    I also wanted to mention if you are looking for a good critique group, you can’t go wrong with Sisters In Crime. They have a critique group called Lethal Ladies. It’s free to Sisters In Crime and KOD members. Don’t let the name fool you. We have men in the group too, not a lot, but a few.

    Your book sounds interesting. Again, loved the interview.

  3. Sound like you’re trying to hold down 3 job – police, family with young kids ,and writing. Looks to me like you’re making great progress on your writing.
    JL Greger
    author of Murder: A New Way to Lose weight

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: