I like most author’s heads have heads filled with idea, image, places, characters, plots, themes, weather, personal interaction and much, much more. We just have to tap into our minds. Right!
My son is a cop! We have been friends with law enforcement officers all our lives. As a child, where I grew up in Sacramento, California my next door neighbor was Heman G. Stark. He rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department and ultimately ended up appointed as the Director the California State Youth Authority. My great-grandfather, William Chalmers Hendricks was the first Director of the Board of Prisons for the State of California. A close friend of my parents was Sacramento County Sheriff. Through my son’s interest in law enforcement from an early age, I have become friends with quite a number of Police Officers and Detectives with the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Needless to say, I am surrounded by people who are involved in one way or another with law enforcement. Add that to interests in History, Social Anthropology, the English Language and solving puzzles and mysteries; it doesn’t take much to understand how my mind works. I have also always had this need to understand why man is so damned cruel to their fellow man. It is beyond my comprehension to intentionally hurt another human being, unless it was for self defense. As I read through the daily papers, listen to the daily news, I wonder what causes someone to do all sort of unspeakable acts against an other human. Then I like the chase. My TV watching is usually around programs like Criminal Minds, The First 48 Hours, The Following, CSI shows, etc. I realize that they are condensed for poetic license and time constraints.
As you can imagine, the stories I write center around a common and ordinary citizen doing the unthinkable and what it takes to get that person identified and removed from the streets. In most cases, my suspects use items that can be purchased at any discount store to commit their evil acts. In other situations, the criminal may be known, it is the locating and the personal interaction with that character that becomes the story.
Like all other writers, I need a catalyst to bring that story out of the file cabinet of my mind. Remember, it is still a mystery as to whom was really responsible for the greatest murder in all of history. Was it Pontius Pilate? Was it Herod Antipater (Antipas)? Was it the Pharisees? Was it the Centurion known as Longinus Gais? Two thousand years later it remains unsolved, except in the individual mind contemplating that cruel murder. Boy, do I like a good mystery! Sometimes, I am prodded by my muse, sometimes it is something I see or hear, and then it may be a good writing prompt. I then write a prologue. If that prologue causes me to write chapter one and two, then I have a story.