Today I’m hosting Ben Celano, author of BEAT COP, CHICAGO BLUE, Reflections of a “Street Grunt,” books one and two. As a former Chicago police officer, I enjoy reading books written by my former colleagues. Please join me as we learn a little bit about Officer Celano and his books.
Ben, please give my readers a thumbnail sketch of yourself.
Thanks, John. I’m a 22 year veteran of the Chicago PD. Prior to becoming a cop I had a series of marketing jobs for major corporations. After serving in the Army from 1963 -1966, I set my sights on becoming a Chicago police officer, something that had been a life-long aspiration of mine.
I served the city of Chicago as an officer from 1982 – 2004 in one of the busiest districts in the city, working both a beat car and squadrol (prisoner transport). My entire tenure in the department was spent on the street. Along the way, I met many interesting people, some of whom I had to arrest. My stories, and the stories of the officers I worked with, are the brutal truthful reality of those experiences.
When did you begin writing and why?
My first attempts at writing occurred when I was 16-years-old. I attended a YMCA English class in night school. Our teacher asked us to write a short story, which I did, and that’s when I got the bug. After that, I dipped in and out of writing for personal enjoyment. While a police officer, I wrote articles for a local newspaper, “The Austin Weekly.”
When I retired, I wrote in fits and starts until this past year when I wrote my two books. Because I am an avid reader, I admire James A. Michener, Leon Uris, Ian Fleming, Rod Serling, Ed McBain, and Joseph Wambaugh, to name a few.
Briefly describe your books.
My books illustrate what beat cops do every day. We see a side of society that most will never know. It is the truth of the “street” where mistakes can be deadly. The stories in both books are not sugar coated politically correct versions of the truth. Like it or not, the truth of a police officer’s job is the stark ugly reality of aberrant human behavior. These books rip off the bandage of sanitized news, and give the reader a glimpse of the festering wounds of society’s downtrodden and the police interactions with them.
Besides these books, have you published anything else?
Only the articles I wrote in “The Austin Weekly.”
Do you write anything besides non-fiction?
Yes, I’m working on a fictional police procedural.
Family, where you live, and any hobbies or passions?
I’ve been happily married for 32 years and live in the western suburbs of Chicago. My hobby, or obsession as you might say, is writing.
Any new books on the horizon?
I may possibly write a Book 3 in my Beat Cop series since some of my old comrades want me to tell their stories as well. Right now, that idea is in its embryonic stage, but who knows?
Thanks, Ben, it’s been an interesting interview, and I’m sure those who enjoy true police stories will find your books fascinating. Please let us know when your next book will be published.
Ben’s books are available on Amazon at this link: http://tiny.cc/7neqny