Wednesday 16 January 2019
10-33 Assist PC by Desmond P Ryan Blog Tour
Today is my stop and closing the tour for Bakers Blog Tours and Promotions, I have a Q&A with author Desmond P Ryan of book 10-33 Assist PC. Please check out the other stops on the blog tour!
What sparked the idea for the book?
10-33 Assist PC was originally written as a prequel to Death Before Coffee (which is now the second novel in the series, available on February 8). When my wife was reading and editing Death Before Coffee, she suggested that there was a huge backstory that had to be told. She thought a short novella would suffice, but, once I got started, the characters just kind of ran off on me.
Do the characters come from real life people or completely made up?
All of the characters in 10-33 Assist PC are composites of the women and men that I have come across over my twenty-eight years in policing. One of the great things about writing from experience is that there are no shortages of characters to draw from!
The seed eating partner, the shells getting everywhere, was this drawn from personal experience as it rang very true?
THAT is absolutely and one hundred percent true! Back in the day, everyone, it seemed, chewed those damned sunflower seeds. And spit them EVERYWHERE! I’ve had readers tell me about guys they play hockey with now who spit the seeds all over the changerooms, so it’s not just a cop thing. And it still happens, apparently.
Scout car floormats covered with sunflower seed shells and old hubcaps used as ashtrays in the Criminal Investigation Bureau offices overflowing with cigarette butts are visions that are burned in my brain.
There is A LOT of swearing in the book, particularly from one character, do you think it would have worked with less. What makes that character more sweary than the others?
The swearing. Yes. I know. My mother commented about that, too. But there was a reason for it. Swearing is the language of the streets and anyone working on the streets picks it up pretty quickly. As a result, it is very much, in my experience, part of the police culture. I think to have censored the language would have taken away from the authenticity of the dialogue (sorry, Mom).
With regards to that one particular character—he’s pretty immature and struggles to express himself and/or assert his masculinity. As a result, he falls back on foul language to try to prove himself. The other characters express themselves (and their struggles) differently. Julia Vendramini, for example, is known for not swearing (although I suspect she drops a few loaded phrases under her breath in Italian).
There is a part of the book that is very brutal and graphic, without spoilers, if able, what made you decide to put such a scene in the book?
That scene was very difficult to write, both in terms of describing what was happening, and delivering the emotional impact it had on the characters. I found it very emotionally challenging to write because of my own experiences. Having so said, I felt it was important to include the scene and write it as such to give the reader as realistic an experience as possible. I don’t think it was gratuitous in terms of the graphic nature of it. I wanted the reader to experience what actually happens in those situations. I think we are so desensitized to violence in general because it has been glossed over and/or glorified and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted the reader to feel, smell, taste what violence is by writing it the way it actually looks and feels. Many readers responded strongly to that scene and, as a result, I ended up writing a novella, The Funeral, that was very difficult to write, but has been exceptionally well-received.
The book has a few layers to it, between the cops relationships, working aspect, criminals, PTSD – was this your aim from the start or did some of it surprise you?
One of the great things about crime fiction is that it provides an easy platform to discuss social issues. When I began 10-33 Assist PC, I had a fairly clear idea of the topics I wanted to tackle and how those would have to be layered. For example, I wanted to discuss the challenges women in policing have, which is why I specifically wrote D/C Amanda Black the way I did (NOT-SO-SPOILER ALERT: Amanda Black becomes a very significant character as the series continues). PTSD is another big issue that I had to discuss. It is pretty much a side-note in 10-33 Assist PC but, just as in real life, gets bigger as the characters progress through their careers. I also wanted to give the characters depth. They are (not really) more than just words on a page. They are multi-dimensional, and, like us, have a lot to them. And, as you’ve suggested, some of the layers did kind of surprise me as the characters began developing on their own. Mary-Margaret O’Shea, Mike’s mother, for example, became much more than I had intended. In fact, in The Funeral, she begins to steal some thunder. In Death Before Coffee, she steals quite a bit of thunder and, by the time we see her again in Man At The Door (available October 2019), she is practically running away with the novel. As a result, I’ve had to give her her own cozy series that will be available in 2020 just to keep on track with the Mike O’Shea series. THAT was a surprise!
This is a good foundation book, do you envision this as a long series?
Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed 10-33 Assist PC. And yes, this is the foundation for the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series. I am anticipating it to be a six-book series, although I’ve mucked that up already by writing The Funeral (although I’m cutting myself some slack on that one by saying it’s just a novella!).
I’ve got the next two books set to go, with the fourth in draft and the fifth and sixth in a stack of cue-cards in my drawer. I don’t know that I‘d want to stretch the series out beyond that. I think readers might get bored with it. Or I might. And that’s not a good way to end anything.
Instead, I’ve got two spin-offs with a possible third series in the works.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m madly doing final edits for Death Before Coffee (which will be available in a couple of weeks) and Man At The Door (available in October). From there, I’m going to jump right into the fourth book (title pending) and get the first two Mary Margaret Cozy Series books off to my editor.
If 10-33 was made into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?
You know, I find that question so difficult because I don’t want to take away from the reader experience of how they see the characters by giving my vision of what those characters may look like. Actually, if you don’t mind, I’m going to pass on answering this one.
What is next for Desmond?
Well, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a few more books in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series in the works, as well as the Mary-Margaret Cozy Series, the latter of which I’m quite looking forward to watching develop.
I’m also interested in turning the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series into audiobooks. I don’t know about you, but I love audiobooks. Commuting takes up so much time here in Toronto that the only way to make it doable (in my opinion) is by listening to a book while you sit in traffic. I’m very curious to see how to make that happen in the next few months for 10-33 Assist PC.
I’ve also got an idea for a noir series based on Detective Sergeant Robby Williams. In Death Before Coffee, the next book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series, we see Robby again. Given that Death Before Coffee takes place more than a decade after 10-33 Assist PC, Robby has had a lot of time to unravel, and a very dark series devoted to that experience might be kind of fun. I’ve got the first draft of the first book done for it, so it’s just a matter of going from there.
My editor also suggested that I might like to do a series based on Amanda Black, but we shall see. In the meantime, I’ve got a dozen or so appearances on author panels and at crime conferences scheduled for the first half of 2019 and am really looking forward to seeing what other opportunities present themselves as the year unfolds.
The book is out to buy just now, ebook and treebook format, CLICK HERE to go to Amazon.
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