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John M. Wills

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Police

Meet Pat McCarthy

 

Hi Pat, I’m honored to host you on my blog today. Having been a Chicago police officer myself, I was anxious to read your book. I found it drew me in immediately with its action and authenticity. The cop jargon, in particular, is spot on and pulls no punches. Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your journey in writing your first book, Chicago Street Cop.

Thanks, John. I’m a lifelong resident of Chicago and a retired Chicago police officer. My great grandfather came from Ireland in the late 1800’s and became a Chicago cop; my father was also a Chicago cop. My son Ryan is the 4th generation Chicago police officer in my family.

Pat_M_author_picI grew up about two miles from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. From my earliest memories, I always wanted to be a cop like my dad and great grandfather. I remember watching my dad suit up to work the streets, and I’d stare out the front window and watch him drive away in his powder blue 1959 Chevy to police the mean streets of the Windy City.

I admired my father and knew some day, I too, would become a cop. The dream came true when I finally pinned on the star. I truly believed it was my destiny—my calling in life. I enjoyed every day I was a cop-even the bad and sad days I endured. The fact I was paid to live my dream was fantastic. Truth be told, I would have been a cop even if they hadn’t paid me, it meant that much.

In the back of my mind, I always knew someday I’d write about my experiences. Throughout my career, particularly when I worked undercover in the gang unit, people told me I should write a book. I’m glad I took their advice. Chicago Street Cop is about the crazy and often unique incidents I was involved in during my career. My journey involved stints as a uniform patrol officer, gang specialist, undercover in the gang unit for five years, six years on SWAT-three as a sniper, eleven years detailed to the FBI on three separate federal task forces-six years on the Asian Gang and Organized Crime Task Force, two years on the FBI’s I.C.E ( International Criminal Enterprise ) Task Force, and three years on the Violent Gangs and Hispanic Task Force.

Like many first time authors, when I began writing the words flowed easily. Then, they slowly tapered off, and at times I didn’t write for months. Having never before written a book, I found it a bigger challenge than expected. Life and my police training business also got in the way. I was traveling 30 weeks a year across the country presenting my three-day Street Crimes Seminar.

One day I had this crazy idea to travel overseas to concentrate on my writing—no chgo_street_cop_coverdistractions and no excuses. I went to Australia and Thailand twice, then to China, once to Beijing and once to Hong Kong. I went to these countries simply to write—no site seeing, no vacation. I know it probably sounds a bit bazaar, but I totally concentrated on writing my book. I’d write as much as possible on both the flights from Chicago and the return flights home. I’d hunker down in my hotel room and do nothing but write for five days straight.

Finally, when I thought the manuscript was ready, I hired an editor who referred me to content editor, Jill Welsh, to evaluate my book and offer some advice. At first, it was tough to hear, but she told me my manuscript was written like a journal rather than a book. She also said it was much too long.

Additionally, she said I needed to include dialogue. My stories, though interesting, would probably not work well without it. That turned out to be great advice and believe it or not, I read a couple of books to understand the dialogue concept. One of the books was Dialogue for Dummies, and it really did help hone my writing skills. Jill was also helpful in providing advice on what to keep and what to eliminate.

The most exciting experience of the process was when I received my first physical proof. As I leafed through it, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I realized with just a bit more work I would have my first book published and be able to proudly say, “I’m a published author.”

Presently, my book is only available in e-book form, but the hardcover version is in the printing process and will be available soon. Once the hardcover is out, I plan on scheduling signings and events.

I’m working on a second book titled, Chicago Gang Cops. I’ll take what I’ve learned from my first book and make my second one even better.

Thanks, Pat, for sharing your experience about your career and book. I’m certain readers will enjoy your honesty and marvel at your courage as they read Chicago Street Cop. I understand the book is available on Amazon and from your website, streetcrimes.com. Thank you for your service, my friend.

 

 

Meet Hard-Boiled Detective, Ben Solomon

Please introduce yourself, when you began writing, etc.

I’d first like to thank John for this swell interview. A little further on I mention encountering plenty of gracious and generous folk online, and this is a prime example.

As for me, I’m a lifetime Chicagoan. I’ve always had my hand in one art form or another—call me a renaissance hack. I can’t say I’ve done it all, but I cherish some experiences uncommon to most hog butchers to the world. For example, I’ve danced as an extra with the Bolshoi and Joffrey ballet companies, performed in David Mamet’s only children’s show, worked tech for The Steppenwolf Theatre, and sang “Happy Birthday” to Paul Newman on the set of “The Color of Money.”ben solomon author pic

I’ve been writing since grammar school, everything from stories to comic books to poetry—such as it was. In my time I’ve founded a literary journal and a critical guide to video releases, and I penned regular columns for Hollywood Online, AOL and Chicago Parent magazine. But I’ve never touched operettas—can’t say I’ve ever done that one.

Have you written any novels?

No, I haven’t. Short fiction and commercial assignments make up most of my recent output. It’s a cliché, but sweating out a 3,000–9,000 word piece gives me all kinds of respect for anyone who can craft a complete novel in any way, shape or form.

I know you have an interesting website. Give my readers an overview of what it’s all about.

“The Hard-Boiled Detective” takes it own unorthodox slant on publishing. (Or maybe I’m just an upstart.)

In a nutshell, the site offers an ongoing subscription series of hard-boiled adventures. Every month, subscribers download three works of short fiction in their format of choice: ePub, mobi or PDF. I’ve fashioned the stories in the old-school tradition, very “retro detective.”

In addition to the detective stories, the site features a hard-boiled glossary, a long-lost interview with Dashiell Hammett, and a fabricated interview with Raymond Chandler.

What else do you write?

Lately I’ve been dabbling with short works of a macabre nature, sometimes in a hard-boiled style, sometimes not, but always with a twist.

What is your most rewarding writing experience?

What comes to mind may sound like the smallest of things, but I especially dig discovering a minor moment that reveals a character and/or reveals a sense of ourselves.

For example, in one detective story, the P.I.’s in the bathroom just before a climactic confrontation (it’s a glamorous profession). He removes his jacket and shoulder holster, and plans to walk out with the gun hidden beneath a hand towel. Just before he leaves the room, he catches sight of himself in the mirror and tosses himself a quick grin. Maybe it comes off a bit silly in this context, but I felt very proud of capturing that brief moment.

Do you belong to any writing groups, or critique groups?

I’m getting to know a community of writers at local, ongoing readings in the city. I’ve also met quite a number of the most generous and gracious people on-line through social media and listserv’s. I’m very interested in pursuing professional affiliations as I become more established and generate a little more scratch.ben solomon book cover

Are you working on any new projects?

It’s a bit early to give too much away, but I am beginning a new series of sorts. The fantastic nature of the main character allows for the stories to take place in any setting of place or time, and that’s intriguing.

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

I’d like to humbly thank them for reading, period, whether they come anywhere close to my work or not. I’ve been removed from being a “regular” audience member for so long that I truly appreciate anyone who reads simply to read, whatever they read, on whatever level they read.

Please provide the readers with a link to your website.

Series info, subscription info and links to features can all be found on The Hard-Boiled Detective homepage:

http://thehardboileddetective.com/

 

Ben, thank you for visiting my blog. You are an interesting man, and based upon what we’ve just read, I can imagine your characters and stories are riveting. Much success to you in your present and future endeavors.

 

Police Week

If you have not had the chance to attend any of the ceremonies at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., you have missed out on meeting a superb group of individuals. The Candlelight Ceremony in particular is moving and profound, as tribute is paid to our fallen heroes and their families. My article this month on Officer.com relates to the Memorial and the heroes who have given all. Please take a moment to read it: “Why I Became A Cop.”National_Law_Enforcement_Officers_Memorial_Lion

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