Reading is a series of human emotions. Writing is the gift of sharing these emotions.
1. When did you first realize you want to be a writer?
Being in law enforcement for over 26 years, writing reports is a large percentage of the job in itself. I prided myself on being detailed and concise when I wrote the basic reports, because it transferred to the major reports. When I was promoted up the ranks, that meant attending more meetings. I heard the candid conversations and topics discussed, and had a lightbulb moment. There weren’t any police books or novels that included the nuts and bolts of police work, only the fast-paced aspects. That’s when I knew I wanted to write books that delved into these behind-the-scenes instances while incorporating the calls and instances we’ve grown accustomed to. It made for a more well-rounded storyline that ties in everything.
2. What do you think makes a good story?
A good storyline plot that doesn’t read like the same old run of the mill books with the predictable ending. A writer has to give the reader the twists and turns, shock value, raw emotions, the whole gamut. As for me, I want to stoke the fires of emotions that range from laughter to sadness to suspense. I want the reader to feel like their time wasn’t wasted reading my books, and walked away more enlightened for the journey.
3. How long does it take for you to write a book?
Because the Hands Across the Sea series of three books has been long and detailed, I spend the extra time to make sure I cover EVERYTHING imaginable so it reads realistically. I research, talk with people, pick up on subtle clues I want to insert. Again, I want the reader to be satisfied and better for reading one of my books, because that’s how I would want to feel.
4. What inspires you to keep writing?
The drive to get better with each page, each chapter is what I aspire to be. I leave a piece of myself in every book, and feel cleansed when I type that last page.
7. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can multi task between watching TV and writing. My wife gets on me all the time, wondering, how I can do that. It’s just something I picked up, and it works for me.
6. What is your favorite book by another author and why?
Anything by Stephen King. He’s my gold standard. I want to achieve his style and incorporate it in my books, so the reader can visualize themselves in the pages. It’s a partnership I want to establish like he creates with his books, but to be specific, The Shining. I could envision myself in that book as I read it.
5. Which of your books is the closest to your heart and why?
Hands Across the Sea for sure. It was my first child. I love all my children, but that one more than the others, because that one sent me on my path to want to be better as a writer. The Thin Blue Li(n)e shaped me to be what I want to become — detailed, descriptive, and creative.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Going to the gym to work out and play basketball. Watching a good limited series or movie with my wife. Also, when it’s football season, fantasy football reigns supreme.
9. Have you experienced writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
I must say I’ve NEVER had one. But I also keep copious notes, phrases, and word stored so when I need a kickstart, I refer to them, and next thing I know, I’m off and writing.
10. Do you have any suggestions to help new writers become better at what they do?
The best advice is what I read about Ernest Hemingway: write what you know. People can sniff out pretentiousness and just writing for the sake of writing.
11. At what point do you think someone should call him/herself a writer?
When they put in the work to crank out a book. That is an achievement and an accomplishment.
12. What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
The first writing. The editing surprisingly is my favorite. I used to draw and sketch, so laying down the bones to create the project is arduous, but adding, enhancing, and fleshing it out is exciting.
13. What advice would you give to a writer working on his/her first book?
Don’t go into thinking you’re writing the next great American novel. Write for you, and only you. If you write to please others and not be true to yourself, you’re wasting your time and effort. Do you!
14. When did you first call yourself a writer?
When I sat down and wrote the first chapter. That was an achievement I was most proud of.
15. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
MARKETING! Trying to put trust into companies that sell snake oil, and abscond with the monies and your book is abandoned. It’s been trial and error. I get so many inquiries to come aboard and independent agents who promise the moon and under deliver. I now have an agent who gives me weekly updates and keeps me on tasks. That I appreciate because there’s a buy in process on his end.
16. What is your latest book? Please tell us something about it.
Cogs In the Machine. Everything I detailed in the two previous books, comes to a climactic end with this book. The storylines all tie in, questions get answered, and how it started will be how it ends … maybe. There may be a prequel or a follow-up book in the future, but I want to explore other avenues to write about. This series has been truly a labor of love.
17. Which of your characters can you most relate with and why?
Lieutenant Declan Fitzpatrick. I fashioned him in my eyes. Certain aspects of him are true to life even in a fictional story.
18. How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
Anyone who wants to read another side of law enforcement that doesn’t always get discussed. Subject matter readers will and have enjoyed it based on their reviews. The curious to the avid to first responders will find something they can connect with in my storylines.
19. If you could spend a day with another author, who would it be and why?
Alex Haley, though he’s deceased, I pick his brain for his process and research of how Roots and Malcolm X came to be in an era that wasn’t popular reading about these accounts.
20. How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
I take a sigh, and revel in the accomplishment, but the work isn’t over. There’s the editing, the publishing, and the marketing that lies ahead. The work never stops, just because the last word is typed.
21. What risks have you taken with your writing that have paid off?
The biggest is putting myself out there to publish it and attend book fairs. It’s an experience unlike any other as a writer.
22. To readers who haven’t read any of your books, which book would you first recommend and why?
I recommend them to read them in the chronological order intended: Hands Across the Sea; The Thin Blue Li(n)e; Cogs in the Machine. That way they’ll be up to date and with the flow of the storylines. Don’t cheat the process.
23. What message would you like to say to your readers?
When I put my name on a project, expect to be entertained and have your emotions stoked. It’s an escape that they’ll enjoy and will not regret, period. I’m not being cocky, I’m just being truthful. I value people’s time and wouldn’t want to waste it by putting out a poor representation of myself.
© 2022 Shey Saints