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Q. What 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



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