Interview with Danny R. Smith

Published 2018-03-05.
Who are your favorite authors?
My current favorite author is Mike Connelly. The longevity award goes to none other than Joseph Wambaugh, whom I've read for thirty-five years. Elmore Leonard is one of my all-time favorites, as he is the king of dialogue. I enjoy some of Stephen King's books and appreciate all of his writing. There are many more, but those are the heavy hitters in my genre.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life inspires me to get out of bed each day. We homicide detectives had a creed: Every day above ground is a good day. The fact that no day is guaranteed never escapes me, and I am thankful for each I am granted. Having said that, I love coffee and writing in the morning right after the critters are fed. Especially on cold winter days.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
After retiring from law enforcement, I started a second career as a private investigator/consultant. It consumes much of my time. As for hobbies, I have horses, cows, and dogs. So I dabble in a little bit of cowboy work and I compete in team roping at local rodeos and jackpot roping events.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do remember the first story I wrote. It was about a private detective. I had been inspired by a Mickey Spillane book. First I drew the image in my mind of a private detective wearing a long coat with his hat drawn low. Then I wrote a story. It involved a good looking dame (sorry, ladies--it's about the noir), booze, and a .38 Special. I was about thirteen.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is to get the words out! I have tried charting and it doesn't work for me. I build characters. They take on their own lives and I just follow along. It's almost crazy. I often question why they do some of the things they do, and I honestly have no idea. I feel I should have a disclaimer stating I am not responsible for the content, actions, or language of my characters. After the words are there, the work begins.
Describe your desk
I'm an A-type. My desk is organized, usually. I have two computer monitors and numerous computer files and browsers open at all times. There are stacks of various files and papers on my desk, on the return, and on the file cabinet, but it all is orderly and sensible to me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Southern California, but honestly my writing is almost completely influenced by my many years in law enforcement and private investigation.
When did you first start writing?
I dabbled a little in my childhood as previously mentioned, and of course as a cop and detective, writing was a big part of the job. I didn't take writing seriously though until I retired from law enforcement and had extra time on my hands. I had always enjoyed writing, and it seemed to come naturally, but it wasn't until that time in my life that I committed to writing and took it seriously.
What do your fans mean to you?
When someone says they love my book or blog, it fuels the writing fires within me. Like many budding authors, I work full-time, I have family, and I enjoy several hobbies. It's not always easy to produce a new story or another chapter, and much of my writing happens very early in the morning. My fans give me the motivation and determination to rise each day and carry on. Thank you!
What are you working on next?
I am so glad you asked! The sequel to A Good Bunch of Men is nearly finished with the rough draft. The working title is Door to a Dark Room. It is a great crime fiction with tremendous characters that will showcase my ability to cover a very wide range of voice. Cops, crooks, and women who turn out to be both, come alive in this fast-moving classic crime fiction.

The big news is that I have decided to write true crime. I had not previously wanted to do so, but now I am set, and I have a couple of cases in mind (cases I personally handled as a Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide detective). I look forward to starting at the end of this year (2018).
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