Today’s author interview spotlights James A. Greer!
WCP: What was your inspiration for Out of Ideas?
My friend John and I attended an airshow in Wisconsin in July 2005. Unfortunately, there was an airplane crash that killed the pilot. I thought the atmosphere of the airshow, with all the power and elegance of the aircraft, would be the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery. I combined my love of aviation, a novelist’s tendency to twist reality into plot lines and my desire to write a female police officer as a main character into Out of Ideas.
WCP: Do you have any other genre you’d like to try your hand at?
I’m in the late stages of a political romance…. Seeing that on the screen screams “oxymoron.” Of course, a woman police officer is in the middle of it.
WCP: Does Karen or Adam share any of your characteristics?
Karen is a combination of several strong women I know, among them my wife and both of our girls. I wrote Adam as a sort of “adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it” guy. He is the multi-interest man I would love to be, and the insecure introvert I most assuredly am.
WCP: Do you have any favorite authors in Romantic Suspense/Mystery? Or ones that have influenced you more than others?
I’m a huge fan of both Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. I loved the way Brown evolved her characters in Play Dirty. The ending brought me to tears. Roberts’ Birthright deftly handled a really touchy subject – I totally fell for her main character. Of course, I‘ve read a lot of Joseph Wambaugh, who revolutionized police novels. It helped me to see how hard writing cops can really be.
WCP: Do you have anything else in the works?
The political romance A More Perfect Union is about to enter the query stage. Wild Child has the sequel to Ideas titled The Heart of the Matter. I’m a cover away from publishing, through Tattered Cover Press my first manuscript. That one’s about a police sergeant being stalked through the MDT in her police car.
WCP: What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise?
How easy it is to write, and how hard it is to be a writer. I could sit all day and write scenes if someone would pay me. I love to write. Creating something fit for other people’s eyes is difficult and emotional. I had no idea how hard I’d have to work to do justice to the characters I love so much. Fortunately, between WCP and Terri Valentine (my writing coach) I’ve had a ton of help.
Now for some fun questions:
WCP: What one modern technology do you think you could live without? (Not that you’d like it, but you could if you had to.)An electric ice cream maker. At my age, every calorie counts.
WCP: If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you eat?
This reminds me of a scene from the movie My Fellow Americans. Jack Lemmon and James Garner are former presidents – Lemmon asks Garner who he was most excited meeting in the White House. “Nelson Mandela.” “I’m not a reporter,” Lemmon fires back. “Ella Fitzgerald,” Garner admits. “Mandela was a great man, but he couldn’t sing worth a shit.”
I’d love to have one more dinner with my late father, a World War Two Marine who fought, at nineteen, on Iwo Jima. We would eat whatever went with a Rusty Nail (him) and a margarita (me). Perhaps he would finally tell me how men summon in themselves such bravery and selflessness. I have spent an entire police career trying to find that answer inside of me. I’m not sure I’ve found it.
WCP: Chocolate, bacon, chocolate with bacon, or none of the above?
Bacon, with scrambled eggs and hot sauce.
WCP: Is there one talent you wished you had (besides writing)?
Languages. I’d love to have a knack for learning other languages. Maybe that’s why I gave that talent to Karen.
WCP: Any last words? Um, for the interview, that is. (grin)
I’m a writer and lawyer, in addition to being an academic and police supervisor. There are never last words, only pauses.
Seriously – thank you for the opportunity to chat about writing. You, Marci and the Wild Child family do me an immense honor. The opportunity to express my admiration for Karen, and the real women she represents, defies explanation.
Even for a writer.
I suppose the only question I wish you’d asked was why I write women police officers as main characters rather than men. In addition to being done to death, dudes tend to be more alike than different. Ask ten guys a question about law enforcement and you’ll likely get a narrow range of answers. Ask ten women the same question and it’s not unusual to get eight or nine…or ten distinct answers. This is especially true when exploring the toll our profession takes on people, their spouses and outside lives. Writing about women cops has given me a chance to reveal how courageous they are, how adept they are at their profession and the unique aspects of their experience as cops.