Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Interview with mystery writer Sallie Moppert

Mystery novelist Sallie Moppert joins me today. We’re chatting about her new novel, Good Cop Bad Cop.

During her virtual book tour, Sallie will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift cart to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A New York native, Sallie has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, with a Specialization in Forensic Science. A lifelong mystery fan, she has combined her love and passion for writing with her interests in criminal justice, law, and forensic science.
Sallie currently resides in New York with her family and her “zoo,” which includes two dogs, two guinea pigs, a betta fish and a leopard gecko. She works as a freelance writer/editor and a legal assistant.

Welcome, Sallie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Good Cop Bad Cop is a series of short stories, each with its own mystery, that follows the life of Samuel Marlowe from his first days as a cop to his rise to become the top detective in the department and the pressures he faces to uphold the law or to take matters of justice into his own hands. Sam learns that justice isn’t always black and white and has to decide whether to use his position as the lead detective at the department to stay on the straight and narrow as a good cop or venture off as a bad cop. Of course, the road he takes for either path is full of obstacles and challenges-such as the shooting death of his mentor, breaking up a kidnapping and prostitution ring across the country, or having his high school reunion held up by a former bully out for revenge-along the way, enough to make him reconsider his choices before he is too far down a dark path with no return (dun-dun-dun!).

What inspired you to write this book?
The first story from Good Cop Bad Cop, also named Good Cop Bad Cop, I started writing was for a contest and I instantly fell in love with Sam. He wasn’t your typical good guy cop but, at the same time, he still was a good guy and an even better cop. His dialogue was also very entertaining to write, as he is sarcastic and doesn’t hold back; Sam says what needs to be said in order to get the culprit. After I wrote Sam for the first time, I knew I wanted to include him in more works, so I composed two additional stories featuring Sam and his partner, Dahlia. I ended up writing the middle story in the collection, The Gray Area, second, and the first story in the collection, Second Chances, third. The next task for me was to figure out how the Sam in Second Chances ended up as the Sam at the end of the book in Good Cop Bad Cop and that was a challenge but a lot of fun.

Here is an excerpt from Fight or Flight:

            Stephen Rochecort did his best to swallow, a task made far more difficult on account of his desert-dry mouth. He’d just started a job at Odette Penitentiary, located in Colorado. If Stephen was honest with himself, he was completely and utterly terrified of being around so many dangerous and violent criminals.
            “They’re like animals,” Warden Chandler had said at roll call that morning. “They can sense your fear.”
            Yeah, that nugget of wisdom was going to make him feel better. Instead, it only served to make him feel even more anxious and want to reconsider his life choices. Hell, a six figure salary wouldn’t be enough for his shit.
            Stephen let out a breath and straightened his posture in an attempt to portray an air of confidence before entering the cell block. The instant he stepped into Cell Block C, the row of jail cells transformed into a zoo, as the caged prisoners began hooting and hollering in an attempt to rattle the rookie guard.
            “Hey there, cutie!” one prisoner shouted. “Damn, you got a tight ass!”
            Stephen shuddered. He never knew innocent phrases like that could sound so menacing.
            “Yo guard,” a cue ball prisoner with various gang tattoos and an unpleasant beckoned Stephen over with his finger. “Hey, you! Come here.”
            Stephen ignored him, not wanting to instigate any further bad behavior, instead locking his eyes on the door at the other end of the hall. The cue ball, however, did not appreciate being slighted. He banged violently on his cell door and unleashed a litany of profanity.
            Stephen tugged at the collar of his uniform, beads of sweat popping up on his forehead and at the nape of his neck. “When did it get so hot in here?” Stephen mumbled to himself. “I can see the door at the end of the hall. If I can reach the door, I can get the hell away from these guys. I can make it. I can make it.”
            He picked up the pace, fumbling around in his pockets for his keys. Stephen managed to locate his keys and gripped the one for the door tightly, figuring he’d probably have a permanent indentation in his palm in the shape of the key from the death grip he had on it. But that didn’t matter; the door was in sight.
            The keys in his hand jingled against each other as Stephen brought them up to the door with a shaking hand. As he did, a loud buzzer sounded and the cell doors slammed open with a clang.
            “All prisoners report to C Yard for exercise,” a guard commanded over the PA system.
            Stephen slunk into a corner to avoid the Cue Ball, but the prisoner had other ideas.
            “Hey, when I tell you to come, you come,” he growled, shoving Stephen. “You may have the badge, but I rule this place.”
            “Knock it off Dantes!” one of Stephen’s coworkers, Clinton, yelled.
            The other guard hurried over to Stephen and got between Dantes and him.
            “Don’t mind him,” Clinton said. “Dantes has been kind of cranky ever since he found out that the Warden broke up his little gang, putting his little friends in different Cell Blocks and transferring some to other prisons. Now he has no one to boss around; poor baby!”
            Stephen glanced back over his shoulder, his fingers and toes tingling as he took a look at the prisoner; Dantes didn’t appear to be too pleased with the guard’s comments.
            “Ay!” the prisoner grabbed the guard’s shoulder and spun him around. “Us prisoners run this bitch, not you screws!”
            “Back off, Dantes,” Clinton said, throwing the prisoner’s hand off his shoulder. “I’m warning you.”
            “Warning me?” Dantes got in Clinton’s face. “Oh yeah? Whaddya gonna do?”
            Clinton’s hand hovered over the can of pepper spray in his utility belt as Dantes towered over him. Stephen rushed forward to assist his coworker but, by this time, Dantes’ fellow prisoners had gathered behind their leader as backup and stopped him in his tracks. One of the other prisoners seemed to notice Clinton’s hand hovering over the pepper spray and decided to strike first. He put Clinton in a headlock from behind while some of the other prisoners held Stephen back.
            A sinister grin appeared on Dantes’ lips. Stephen heard about him during training; the undisputed leader of C Block, Dantes’ word was law.
            “It’s time these guards see what it’s like on the other side of the bars!”
            Dantes’ declaration was followed by a chorus of cheers, hooting and hollering. Stephen closed his eyes as he wished he had reconsidered his life choices while chants of “riot” echoed throughout the cell block. 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have several more stories with Sam planned out or already written that include his various partners throughout the book, Edwin, Peter and Dahlia. They have a lot of fun crimes to solve, including more murders, rape, stalking and so much more (okay, not fun for those involved but fun for us to solve!).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think there’s probably two instances in which I truly began to think of myself as a writer. I had my first short story published at 18 years old in a local young writer’s anthology. That was the first piece of fiction that I had published and it was a wonderful moment. My English teacher, who was the person who had announced that the anthology was accepting applicants, was thrilled when I showed her the acceptance letter and posted it on the chalkboard to celebrate my success. The second instance was when I was accepted for a position as a freelance writer for a local newspaper. It was a great learning experience to be able to use my skills on a daily basis and it also presented me with the opportunity of being able to introduce myself as a writer!

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would love to be able to write full time, but my bills and expenses say otherwise! Plus, I have to take care of my family’s “zoo” (two dogs, two guinea pigs, a leopard gecko, two dwarf hamsters, two betta fish and an aquarium with corydora catfish) somehow :) I work at a law office during the day. I don’t really have a set writing schedule. I may sometimes write or read during my lunch breaks or I might have my notebook out while my sister and I play some video games at night and I’ll get some paragraphs in while it’s her turn. I make sure to carry a notebook or pad of paper around with me most of the time because you never know when you’re going to be hit with a good idea or quote. My favorite time to write is when I have time off or on weekends during the summer. I love to grab a blanket, notebook and my radio and just spend the day outside writing (if I can get to my blanket, that is; my dogs like to commandeer my blanket if I get up to go grab a water bottle or something because they’re spoiled puppers and I love them).  

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
One quirk that I have is that I include a lot of little references to things I like or are important to me. For example, the colors of the high school that Sam and Nina attend in GCBC are blue and gold, which just so happen to be the colors of my favorite sports team. The restaurant where the beginning of Victims of Circumstance takes place, Quincy’s, is named after my dog, Quincy. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember deciding I wanted to become an author at about age 13. That was when I started writing my first mystery novel. After I started writing that first novel, I’ve never looked back :)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am a HUGE animal lover. Between the two of us, my sister and I have quite the “zoo” going - including two dogs, two guinea pigs, two dwarf hamsters, a leopard gecko, two betta fish, and an aquarium with corydora catfish. I also love sports, video games and arts and crafts, I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I’m working toward my black belt in karate; I’m all over the place with my interests :)


Thanks for stopping by today, Sallie!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

My family and I all appreciate you bringing to our attention the book description of another great book to read. Thanks so much!

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Bernie Wallace said...

How many days a week do you spend writing?

Sallie Moppert said...

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my work!

Kim said...

If you could spend on day with one of your characters who would it be, and what would you do?

Sallie Moppert said...

--How many days a week do you spend writing?
I don't have a specific number of days that I dedicate to writing. I carry a notebook with me at all times so I can try to get a few words in either if I have a free moment or inspiration just strikes me.

--If you could spend one day with one of your characters who would it be, and what would you do?
Interesting question! I would have to say Sam. I feel like it would be fun to do a ride along with him and watch him out in the field investigating crimes. I would also just enjoy hanging out with him, grabbing a pizza or something. My sense of humor bled through into Sam's mannerisms and personality, so I feel like we would have fun goofing around.