A loyal fan recently asked, "How did you decide to become a true crime writer? Was it easy to write true crime the first time?"
Thanks for the question. My first true crime book, MAN OVERBOARD, came
about because my friend Ann Rule was too "booked up" to write it, and
she reccommended me as an author who could do it well.
it turned out, both MAN OVERBOARD and Ann’s DEAD BY SUNSET were
nominated for Best True Crime Book of the Year by the World Mystery
Convention. Ann won the award, and that’s fine with me — she is a
I had complete creative freedom on MAN OVERBOARD, and it does fly in the face of the "true crime checklist."
after that, I got a telephone call from my agent (since retired)
Charlotte Dial Breeze. She asked me if I would be interested in writing
a true crime book about a case in Alaska for the Pinnacle True Crime
series from Kensignton Publishing Group. Naturally I said, "yes" and
soon was under contract to Kensington. My first for them was MURDER IN
THE FAMILY, a real shocker of a story. Next we did HEAD SHOT. BODY
COUNT, and BROKEN DOLL. I am about to begin another true crime book for
Kensington — MOM SAID KILL.
I was never a big reader of true crime
books, although I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction. The nice
thing about the readers of true crime books is that once they get to
know an author’s work, they tend to be loyal fans..and of course, the
more they know about what it takes to write a true crime book, the more
they appreciate the books themselves.
I admitedly approach true
crime from a slightly different perspective or intention than others —
of course, all the true crime authors have their individual style and
their own motivation for working in the genre — I tend to put great
emphasis on the burdon of proof being on the prosecution, not the
defense. In America, everyone is presummed innocent unless proven
guilty in a court of law. No one is ever presummed guilty. Even in a
true crime book, where there is no suspense over the verdict because
you know ahead of time the culprit will be convicted, I still give the
defense argument as much force as I can – we must never forget that
innocent people are in prison too, and everyone is entitled to the best
I hope this answers your question. I love hearing from folks who read and enjoy my books.