My guest today is Jay Padar. Jay, a Chicago police officer, and his dad, James, retired CPD, have written an anthology of interesting and compelling stories about their time on the job.
Please introduce yourself and tell the readers about your background, where you live, and when you began writing.
My name is Jay Padar and I’m a married father of four-year-old boy/girl twins. I am also a sergeant with the Chicago Police Department where I’ve worked for the last fifteen years. I’ve written short stories ever since I can remember. My most serious writing came when I was a brand new rookie cop just starting my career. You see, I had lived in Chicago my whole life but I consider my youth and young adulthood to have been somewhat sheltered. I went to private grade school, private high school in the suburbs, and went to college in a small Midwestern town. The next thing I knew I was chasing dope dealers into high-rise public housing projects. The things I experienced as a rookie cop were new and exciting. I didn’t really have an outlet at the time so I started writing emails to my father after my tour of duty detailing my night’s activities. I knew he’d understand. He was contemplating retirement after having served nearly thirty years as a Chicago police officer. “Keep writing, son,” he emailed back. “For every story you write, I’ll write one.”
It’s evident that your law enforcement background has influenced your writing. Do you think you will ever move toward the fiction genre, and will your writing continue to be police related?
At this point I’m still writing police related non-fiction. I enjoy my career and still see something new every day. I’m a believer in the saying, “The truth is stranger than fiction.” So many times I’ve ended my stories with, “You can’t make this stuff up!” I would never eliminate the possibility of writing fiction, but I’m excited to share what a big-city cop experiences day by day.
What/who inspired you to begin writing? Do you write every day?
No one person inspired me to begin writing but I have to say my parents always encouraged me to continue writing. My dad still tells me to “put it down on paper.” Even if I don’t have a complete story I still jot down notes that I can go back to and transform into a story. Unfortunately I never find enough time to write. Between working 50+ hours a week and spending time with my family there never seems to be enough hours in the day.
I know you have a book that’s just been released. Please tell my readers about it.
I’m very excited to have co-authored “On Being A Cop” with my father, Jim Padar. This book contains 53 short stories written by father and son detailing over forty-five years of combined police experience. These are all true stories of laughing, crying and clinging to family, before and after moments of humor, loss and profound tragedy. Our goal was to try to change the negative perception some people have of police. We wanted the public to know that police officers suffer tragedy in their own lives, have good days and bad days and that police officers aren’t emotional robots. What we see day in and day out affects us and changes who we are.
Tell us about your publishing experience. Was it difficult finding a publisher?
My father and I were completely new to this world of book writing. We had more questions than answers when we started. Both of us consider ourselves very lucky to have found a wonderful publishing coach, Patrick Snow, who guided us through the ins and outs of this industry. Our coach helped us create a book that he felt would stand out and get the attention of publishers. Shortly after completing our work we signed with Aviva Publishing.
What is your most rewarding writing experience?
“On Being A cop “definitely tops the list. I am truly honored to have been able to share this experience with my father and create something that I can show my kids years down the road. How great will it be to sit down with my twins years from now and show them the book that daddy and grandpa wrote together?
Do you belong to any writing groups, or critique groups?
I am a recent member of the Public Safety Writers Association. It’s a wonderful organization that I highly recommend. Their members have been extremely helpful and encouraging.
Are you working on any new projects?
Right now I’m focusing on joining my father as a writer on his blog “On Being A Cop.” New police stories are being added on a regular basis. It’s a wonderful way to keep me focused on my writing and develop more material for a possible upcoming book.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
Any one in law enforcement knows that this career is filled with danger. Two organizations that provide tremendous help to Chicago police officers are the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (CPMF) and the Police Chaplains Ministry (PCM). The CPMF provides financial support to officers who have been catastrophically injured and to the families of officers who have given their lives on this job. The PCM provides constant emotional and spiritual support to officers struggling in their personal lives. My father and I are proud to be sharing a portion of the profits from this book with these two organizations. We are also proud to have donated copies of our book to be included in holiday care packages for all active-duty Chicago police military personnel.
Please provide the readers with a link to your website, and a link to your book.
Our book and blog can be found at www.OnBeingACop.com