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INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What initially got you interested in writing?
I’ve always wanted to pursue professions in both writing and law enforcement since I was very young. Growing up, I regularly pursued activities and educational opportunities geared toward both passions. When I joined the LAPD in 1977, Joseph Wambaugh was my writing idol. He was, and continues to be, the gold standard against which all other police writers are judged. His early novels, including The New Centurions, The Onion Field, and The Blue Knight—all written while he was still a working detective with the LAPD— influenced both my writing and my police career. Five years after joining the LAPD, I began to get published professionally. For the next thirty years, I juggled both professions—although, sometimes I felt like a kitten juggling court jester who’d just been thrown a chain saw.
What genre do you write in?
I’m most often drawn to writing tales with a strong police procedural element, so mysteries have been my mainstay. However, I’ve written across a wide spectrum, including westerns, sports novels, and non-fiction.
What drew you to writing this specific genre?
Throughout my thirty-five year career as a detective with the LAPD, especially in the twenty-five plus years I worked in Sex Crimes, I developed a unique set of skills and experiences. With my latest series, Lie Catchers, I was looking for a new twist on the established police procedural/detective genre.
One evening, while pulling my hair out watching an interrogation conducted by real world detectives on an episode of 48 Hours, I realized I’d never come across a novel, movie, or TV show portraying the successful interrogation techniques I’d developed while dealing with uncountable suspects. I now teach interrogation to numerous law enforcement agencies—not just the techniques, but the psychological and physical sciences behind the techniques—and I’ve been surprised to discover most cops don’t understand how interrogation are successfully conducted.
I finally took the hint my subconscious had been using to batter me and understood I was in a unique position to write an interrogation based novel and make it as realistic as fiction would allow. Lie Catchers is the result.
How did you break into the field?
When I was in elementary school, instead of just using each of my homework vocabulary words in a separate, unconnected sentence, I would put all of them into a complete story—much to the delight of my teachers, and the ridicule of my less creative peers.
Then, somewhere in my late teens, I remember reading a novel and thinking I could write something better. I sat down, rolled a sheet of paper into my typewriter and then sat staring at the blank page. I quickly realized writing might not be as easy as I’d thought. However, I stuck with it and started writing all kinds of derivative crap as I slowly learned my craft.
I became a pro in my mid-twenties when I actually started getting paid for writing freelance magazine articles. I then sold a couple of short stories to one of the last of the pulps (Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine), and an a year later my first novel.
For the full story surrounding the publication of my first novel you can CLICK HERE
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
My job as a writer is to entertain. My goal as a writer is to make the reader think about concepts or see things from a different prospective. I want to open up the world I know and help to make it understandable.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I enjoy having written. Writing is an immense pleasure on the rare days it flows straight onto the page. The rest of the time, writing is hard slog. Typing The End is cathartic. Sometimes, I do it all day long, over and over.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
In this new world of indie e-publishing, marketing is a huge stress. Trying to balance the commercial side of marketing your published books with the creative side of writing new material is a tightrope walk.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Remember first drafts are crap. They are supposed to be crap. As a result, there is no such thing as writing, only rewriting. It’s an old saw, but no less true because of it. Also, the writing will never get done if you wait to feel inspired. You have to show up every day, put your butt in the chair, your fingers on the keyboard, and start sweating. Some days, inspiration shows up and the words flow. But inspiration is lazy. Most days, when you are at the keyboard, inspiration is still home in bed, or on the beach with a Corona and a board. Your novel gets written on the days inspiration doesn’t show up.
If you are not compelled to write, if you can breathe without writing, if your brain won’t explode if you don’t get the characters and stories inside it out and onto the page—then don’t write…
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I’m very eclectic in my reading, but I do not have a fondness for most titles on the bestseller lists. I have my modern favorites in the mystery field (Robert B. Parker, Dick Francis, Donna Leon, Anne Perry, etc.), and a clutch of mystery writers from times past (John Wainwright, Gerald Hammond, and the hardboiled trinity of Chandler / Hammett / McDonald, etc.). I often reread novels from the masters of high adventure (Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley, Hammond Innes). I read a lot of young adult novels (Tamara Pierce, Jenifer Lynn Barnes, Ali Carter, etc.) as well as assorted science fiction (Pierce Brown, Jack Campbell, B.V. Larson, etc.) and anything else that tweaks my fancy.
As for writers who have had the biggest influence on me…Hemingway for his sentence structure…Henry James for being so very human…Jane Austen for her perfection…Nevil Shute for being so very British…W. Somerset Maugham for understanding who I am.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
A couple of years back, I was the lead interrogator on a reality show called Take The Money And Run from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The show ran for one season on ABC and I had an absolute blast flying around the country and getting to use my interrogation skills in a whole new way. A number of the episodes are available to stream via Amazon…
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
My website, www.paulbishopbooks.com, contains all the information on my books, my blog, and contact instructions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A thirty-five year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, Paul Bishop’s career has included a three year tour with his department’s Anti-Terrorist Division and over twenty-five years’ experience in the investigation of sex crimes. His Special Assault Units regularly produced the highest number of detective initiated arrests and highest crime clearance rates in the city. Twice honored as LAPD’s Detective of the Year, Paul has also received the Quality and Productivity Commission Award from the City of Los Angeles.
As a nationally recognized interrogator, Paul starred as the lead interrogator and driving force behind the ABC TV reality show Take the Money and Run from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Based on his expertise in deception detection, he currently conducts interrogation seminars for law enforcement, military, and human resource organizations across the country.
Paul has had fifteen novels published, including five in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series. He has also written numerous scripts for episodic television and feature films. He is the co-creator and editor of the popular Fight Card series of hardboiled boxing novels and the bestselling Pulse Fiction anthologies.
His latest novel, Lie Catchers, is the first in a new series featuring top LAPD interrogators Ray Pagan and Calamity Jane Randall.