drew you to the Police Procedural genre?
A. It has everything that interests me as a
writer and as an observer. In the John Bowers’ series, the reader is actually
the most informed witness to the crime or crimes and the motivations of the
main characters. I’ve always been a mystery buff, and who doesn’t love to help
solve a riddle, especially one with criminal, sexy elements?
Q. Did your background experience with the
law enforcement community influence your take on Detective Bowers?
A. Definitely. I suppose John Bowers is a
composite of all the homicide detectives I’ve known over the years. The
majority of these people are intensely dedicated to their jobs and often very
personally connected to their victims.
Q. Are the grisly scenes in your books
based on true cases?
A. They are drawn on real life but are not
true-crime. Murder is the heart of a procedural.
Q. Why do the Bowers books delve so deeply
into the personal lives of the detectives?
A. The dynamic of their personal lives is
what adds spice to the mix and what motivates them. Bowers sees these victims
as “There but for the grace of God . . .”. His motive in solving cases is
always more about avenging those people who cannot speak or defend themselves
against the bad guys than a strict job description in the manual. Homicide
detectives are still the good guys in the white hats. And that appeals to me –
telling their personal story. So many crime dramas and novels gloss over the
personal side, and the characters are one dimensional. That’s not real life,
and I think readers want more than the standard formula in a procedural. At
least I do.
Q. Did you write the Bowers series as a
continuing drama of the characters’ lives for a purpose?
A. Well, that’s real life again. Reality is
much more interesting than contrived gun battles, the ubiquitous serial-killer
who has some ridiculously complicated formula for killing his victims – I think
most people welcome some reality even in their fiction. The Bowers books give
the reader the best of both – personal drama along with the grit, terror and
drudgery of police work.
Q. Some critics believe the real focus of
your plots is in the personal relationships and struggles between Bowers and
the women in his life. Is this a fair assessment?
A. Oh, sure. Crime happens – people keep
killing one another, but life goes on for everyone around them. John Bowers is
interesting as a person outside of his badge, a flawed person who just can’t
seem to figure out women. But who can?
Q. Tell us something about the Portland
scene. Is the city itself important to the series?
A. Definitely. I never considered placing
John Bowers anywhere else. Portland is unique in America for having typical big
city problems while at the same time having a small town atmosphere. That’s
what makes it so livable and lovable for Oregonians and others who come here.
Bowers would not fit into the bureaucratic maze of LA or even Seattle. He has
North Coast village roots and it’s those values that cause him conflict and
give him moral courage.
May, 2007 S. Bedrow – Rose City Review