Wednesday, December 7, 2011

David Anderson flashes his lights for Holiday Sirens

What influenced you in writing about law enforcement?
First, I would like to make it clear that I am not a police officer. I am a retired elementary school teacher. Not that there aren’t similarities but I’m not in law enforcement. What influenced me? Some great mystery writers like Peter Robinson, Louise Penny, Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, TV police procedural shows and movies.

David Anderson

Have you ever been arrested or detained?
No, I have not. So I have to rely on what I’ve read and seen, to write convincingly about that part. I have also talked to local police officers here in Ontario.

When you were writing your book, what audience did you have in mind?
That is an excellent question, and it is one to which I gave a lot of thought. My opinion is that most mystery readers are women, and that what they want is a well-written and engaging story. I tried to write an intriguing “whodunit” that women would find compelling, and judging by the reviews for An Indecent Death, I was able to achieve that.

Did you experience any of the scenes you wrote about in An Indecent Death or are they completely from your imagination?
The scenes in my book that are set in a school, I experienced, yes. Write what you know, they say, so I write about secretaries, classrooms, teachers, janitors and so forth. There is a scene where a janitor is found asleep with his feet in a sink; that really happened. The victim, on the other hand, is a seventh grade teacher and a sexy flirt, and I never knew anyone like that.

If you had your career to do over again would you have become a writer first?
No. I would have missed too much. Being a teacher was a rewarding (and often frustrating!) experience.

What does your family think of your book?
They really like it, and they have been very supportive. I couldn’t have done it, wouldn’t have done it, without them.

What was the most bizarre thing you learned while writing your book?
Learning about GHB, the date rape drug, how it acts upon a person and how it’s detected.

How do you deal with writers block?
I am lucky enough not to have experienced it! Occasionally, my writing doesn’t go well, so I just go and do some gardening or some other activity. When I get back to the story, I can usually get going again.

When writing your book, did it stir up any desire to become an officer?
Nope, too old for that! Enforcing classroom rules and school policy was enough for me.

What is your opinion of television shows that portray police work? Which in your opinion is most accurate?
Well, they’re pretty uneven, aren’t they? And the longer a TV show lasts, the sillier the plots get. I thought Law and Order seemed pretty authentic, and The Closer also. Shows like Castle, Bones and The Mentalist are fun to watch but basically ridiculous. Criminal Minds is creepy and gripping, but do you really think anyone could find information as fast as Garcia does? The forensics on CSI are great but they have gone away from believable plots. All in all, a mixed bag, I would say.

What agencies of the police force would you want to be a part of?
Oh, definitely homicide or working in the forensics lab. Those are the glamour jobs, the thrill of the chase and all that.

What authors influenced your writing voice?
Peter Robinson, a Canadian like me, who puts his characters in an imaginary Yorkshire setting. And Louise Penny, another Canadian mystery writer, whose works are set in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Will there be a sequel to your book? When will it be released?
Not a sequel, but A Striking Death uses the same detective, Detective Sergeant Nicholas Drumm, his faithful Sheltie, Will, and some of the other characters. Detective Sergeant Drumm has a lot of cases still to solve yet! A Striking Death is due out in December.

What are you most looking forward to as an author?
I like hearing from readers who enjoy my books. That’s all I need. Then I know I have done my job.

Holiday Sirens Event