When I graduated from the citizens’ police academy in 2003 and became a volunteer with the Livermore Police Department, I went through their daunting clearance process: fingerprinting, drug testing, and even a polygraph test. Fortunately, I passed the tests or I would have been denied access to the station.
As a volunteer I have many opportunities to work with the officers and to go on ride-alongs. The many thought-provoking encounters and learning experiences I’ve enjoyed have enabled me to write with a clearer understanding of police procedures. Role playing with the SWAT guys is fun. I’ve been shot at (rubber bullets and paint), handcuffed, and tossed to the ground. What one doesn’t do in the name of research to write a book.
For the past six years my assignment has been in the traffic department. Every Monday, dressed in my navy and khaki uniform, I pick up a radio and keys and hop into a volunteer police car. I cover two beats (isn’t that kick?) and head out to tag abandoned vehicles. Some of you may be familiar with those nasty orange warning stickers on the windshields. While covering my beats, I’m the eyes and ears for the police department and have only had to radio Dispatch a few times for officer assistance. The LPD has been very supportive of my writing and generous in answering my many inquiries about police procedures.
If the opportunity presents itself in your community, I encourage you to sign up for a citizens’ police academy like the one sponsored by the Livermore Police Department. It’s an exciting and eye-opening experience.
Unlike a lot of authors, I didn’t start writing seriously until I retired. When I was young, I wanted to be outside, riding my bike, climbing the neighbor’s apple tree, not stuck behind a desk doing homework. Even when it rained, which it often did in Ohio, I played on the porch under the swing or umbrellas. As I grew up and headed off to college, which wasn’t far since my mother had a rooming house for students two blocks off campus, I still struggled to sit still. It was a challenge.
What does this have to do with my book? I love to read, and yes, I did read under those umbrellas. I love a mystery, puzzle solving. I want to be challenged and surprised when I read a book or I’ll lose interest. If an author goes on for several pages about, i.e., a clock maker, it’s okay if I learn something new about clocks. It shows the author has done the research and opened up my world to new concepts or places. I love the details as long as it moves the story along. I hope I’ve done that in “Twisted Vines.”
When my daughter moved to Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I fell in love with the Bard. I attended plays, toured behind the scenes, and sat down with someone from the festival to discuss the theaters and actors. I love the power of the human spirit that comes through on the Shakespearean stage—love, hate, fear, and the basic instincts of human existence-challenges that the multi-talented actors go through to bring this to the stage for our enjoyment.
“Twisted Vines” is a modern day mystery with two delightful Shakespearean theaters and, of course, a few murders to keep it interesting. I’ve also tossed in a few Shakespearean quotes to challenge your memory. I hope you’ll enjoy the book.