LEO turned author shines positive light on COs, police
C.L. Swinney has worn many hats in law enforcement, but perhaps his most important yet is that of an author shining light on the difficult work of those who walk the thin blue line
C.L. Swinney is an author with a story to tell. In his fifteen years in the law enforcement field, he has experienced a whole lot and is gracious to share with his readers. C.L. Swinney is a fiction and non-fiction best-selling author and has a very recent new gig of publisher to add to his list.
Earlier this week, in honor of Police Week, C.L. Swinney took part in a project that he is very proud of. It’s a collection of short stories, both non-fiction and fiction, written by men and women in law enforcement providing a behind-the-scenes look into our profession. His intent was to bring a strong and positive vibe back to law enforcement.
The book has already landed on best seller lists on Amazon and all proceeds are going to the families of fallen officer and military folks. The anthology is called Justice Shall Be Served; check it out here.
I am honored to have two pieces written in this anthology and am proud of C.L. Swinney for taking on such a project. I would like to introduce C.L. Swinney as a passionate crime fighting machine who stands for what is right and lives for protecting and serving his community.
Harriet Fox: When did you decide to become a writer?
C.L. Swinney: While learning to fly fish in college, I developed a passion for the outdoors. I suppose writing followed soon after. I wanted to share the amazing things I would see or do with the world. I landed my first steelhead and feature piece in Fly Fisherman Magazine in 1997.
HF: What genre are your books?
CS: I’m a hybrid-author, meaning, I write several different genres. I have a true crime novel, a crime fiction series, poetry in various magazines, and recently launched an anthology of short stories (non-fiction and fiction) that I published and co-wrote with eleven other authors.
HF: You’ve written a trilogy detective series. Can you tell us more about them?
CS: The Bill Dix Detective Series was never intended to be a series, but after the first book, Gray Ghost, did so well and made several Amazon best-seller lists, I felt I could do more. I wrote the second in the series, The Cartel Enforcers, which also made best seller lists, which was followed by Sin City Assassin (which also landed on Amazon best seller lists). The main characters, Bill Dix and his sidekick Steve Petersen, try to get away from their jobs as narcotic officers in Miami and go on vacation. Each time they get where they are going, something happens that forces them to get involved with cases.
HF: Where do you get your ideas for writing?
CS: I write based on what I have done the last 13 years in law enforcement, of which the last six were in a narcotics/homicide task force situation. I try to write the most realistic fiction I can. Plenty of ideas come from reading authors like [James] Patterson, [Anne] Hillerman, [Sue] Grafton, [John] Updike, and others.
HF: You wrote the first book in a true crime multi-volume series which was recently published. Care to tell us a little more?
CS: The book is a considered a novella based on it being roughly 15,000 words. The title is Robert Pickton: The Pig Farmer Killer. Essentially, I was given an opportunity to write about Pickton after reading everything there was on the man and researching his life for about three months. The series is called the Crime Canada and is published by Vronsky Parker Publication, an imprint of RJ Parker Publishing. Without giving too much away, Robert would seduce prostitutes with drugs, have sex with them, kill them, and then feed them to his pigs. You’ll have to read the novella to get all the twisted details and what happened after he fed the victims to his pigs.
HF: You also just published your first book as a publisher. Congratulations! Can you tell us more?
CS: This project was a milestone for me for several reasons. One, I wanted to show people publishing was not as difficult as they thought. Two, I was frustrated with seeing so much negativity in the U.S. concerning law enforcement, corrections and our military. The thought was to collect short stories from men and women working or retired from one of these fields and print an anthology.
The project is called Justice Shall Be Served, and it’s made two Amazon best-seller lists within days of being published. The Kindle version and the paperback are available for purchase. I’m proud of this project, both because of the amazing stories people wrote, but also because it sheds a positive light on these professions.
HF: What’s your message to readers about this project?
CS: We’re all human, we all bleed red, and we all must never stop learning. Treat everyone like humans, do your job, and go home at the end of your shift or tour. The overwhelming number of people working in corrections, law enforcement and the military serve and protect complete strangers and are great people.
HF: You were a correctional officer before you promoted to a sheriff’s deputy and went into narcotics, worked as a detective, and worked the streets. What did you learn inside the jail that you use to do your job today?
CS: The greatest thing I learned was how to talk to offenders. This was the single-most important thing I learned while in corrections. I was a Jail Training Officer and a member of the Emergency Response Team, both positions I thoroughly enjoyed because I like teamwork and molding people. Lastly, I learned that communication, whether it’s with friends, staff, inmates, supervisors, or whoever, is the most important part of this profession.
HF: What was your favorite thing about being a correctional officer?
CS: I truly enjoyed being a trainer. Seeing new faces come to the jail and teaching them how to be successful and safe was a lot of fun. I had a few difficult situations and recruits, but none of them failed. I wouldn’t allow it. All of the people I trained have gone on to have successful careers at the Sheriff’s Office. I’m proud of that fact.
HF: What advice you can give to aspiring writers or to correctional officers who have a story to tell?
CS: Never give up. It took 14 years for me to get Gray Ghost in print. I’m on my third publisher and I self-publish, too. Everything has not been done! Your patience will be tested, but there are plenty of markets to get into. Correctional officers have many options, too. People like me, and the general public, would love to hear your stories. If you have stories to share, you should write them and consider getting them published (or selling them). A large market exists for corrections material. Perhaps the greatest collection of corrections material is Corrections1.com. A must visit site if you want to know the pulse of that profession.
HF: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
CS: I have a blog at www.clswinney.wordpress.com, where I share writing, tips on writing and publishing, and feature a page called “Compassionate Cops.” I try to fill that page with as much positive press and stories I can about good deeds done by law enforcement members.
I’m also on twitter (@CLSWINNEY) and Facebook (/clswinney). My email is email@example.com. You can ask questions or contact me there most of the time.