March of 2003 Samuel E. Stone was interviewed by Debby Alviso from writer's e-Source Directory this article will give you insight into Sam's passion for the written word.
Samuel E. Stone
Author Samuel E. Stone is a retired police sergeant who served twenty-five years in Law Enforcement prior to his retirement. During his tenure with the police force, Samuel served as a Patrol Officer and a Detective. During his years as a detective he served two tours of duty working deep undercover operations. He now shares his experience and expertise with his readers in an action packed and entertaining manner in his writings. The underlying theme of his novels is "people in positions of authority have to be held accountable."
Samuel E. Stone’s passion for the written word has made him a life long student of literature. Author of “The Sarge Trilogy,” consisting of Shades, Crush, and Downfall. His understanding and insight to the emotional and psychological depths of fiction create a realistic bonding effect upon his readers. His literary works have received five star reviews in the United States and Five Crown ratings in the United Kingdom. Samuel is also the author of Blink and The Fiction Writer's Bible.
Samuel’s first novel Shades was originally released in June of 1999 and instantly became a best seller. He was featured by Kiplinger Consumer News on their forty cable channels as a best selling ebook author in the Fall of 1999. In January 2000, Samuel E. Stone was a guest speaker along with Raymond Benson who writes the James Bond novels at an awards ceremony in Seattle, which was noted as the first big literary event of the new Millennium.
Samuel was born and educated in San Francisco, California. He has had many accomplishments during his career including: becoming the first law enforcement officer in the state of Washington to obtain a search warrant by telephone, (Telephonic search warrants have since become a common Practice in law enforcement); writing a manual on the Landlord Tenant Act, which is being used by law enforcement and prosecutors as a training manual; clearing more than one hundred and twenty-five burglaries through the investigation and arrest of a burglary ring; and the apprehending of a rape and murder suspect single-handedly. During the course of his career, he was involved in supervising both Patrol and Detective Divisions, including all forms of operations from routine patrol right down to hostage negotiations to even murder investigations.
Since retiring in July of 1996, he has turned his many talents to writing fictional novels based on real events that he has encountered during his career. The mission is to entertain his readers, while exposing them to the reality of the police world and its operation in our own neighborhoods. Samuel's driving passion for written expression delivers energized entertainment while his attention to detail exposes the hidden secrets of the world of cops and the games they play. Samuel's novels are down to earth. They do not consist of super heroes but rather everyday people playing roles of life that was dealt to them. Samuel's stories by design raise the readers’ level of consciousness concerning the society in which we coexist. Little did Sam know his career in Law enforcement was actually his research years for his writings.
Sam and his wife Sherry live in Western Washington with their three German shepherds, Harlee, Millie and Koura; as well as two quarter horses, Liberty and Misty. Their two daughters are now grown with families of their own.
Did you have a talent for writing while you were growing up?
I became interested in writing at the age of twelve after touring Jack London’s Estate and reading “The Call of the Wild.” I would not say that I had a talent for writing then or even now for that matter. Writing to me has always seemed to be an acquired skill. It is one, which I am always attempting to improve upon through my endeavors at continued education and practice.
My passion for the written word started back in High School, while other kids took shop classes, I took extra literary classes. My interest in writing continued on to college where I studied literature as well as prose and poetry. I wrote many short stories and poems at the time and dreamed of writing a novel. My lifestyle, however, permeated my days as I fell in love and married. My interest seemed to be redirected to supporting and raising my family. I spent the next twenty-five years writing nothing but Police Reports. You know, things like, “the vehicle, red in color, a four door sedan...” or “the suspect was a white male, approx 6' tall, 220 lbs, blue eyes, with dark brown hair, wearing...”
Or is writing something you discovered after retiring from the Police force?
Good question, and the answer will probably surprise you. I had not thought about writing since my youth nor had I thought about it after I retired. You see, I was forced to retire earlier than I planned. During my entire adult life, I was Sam the cop. Then, suddenly, I was just, Sam, just plain Sam. I really experienced an identity crisis. I was bored, anxious, and at a loss. It was at this time I fell back to the passion I once had for the written word. I dug out all my old literature books and began reviewing them. The next thing I knew I was writing. I spent the better part of the next three years burning the candle at both ends writing an average of 16 hours a day. I found my new identity and I loved it. I was no longer Sam the cop or Sam the retired cop. I was now Samuel E. Stone the author. It gave me a new sense of satisfaction and self-worth.
What writers have influenced you, or have impressed you the most?
There are many wonderful authors of whom I have enjoyed reading and have gained insight from, such as John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Patricia Cornwell. But, here, I will speak of only a few of whom I consider to be the greatest writers of all time.
First of all, I would have to say Jack London as I previously mentioned, and I would also include Ernest Hemingway. These two authors possessed the uncanny ability to structure sentences where the words seemed to naturally flow with an air of elegance and grace. They could make the most simple sentence emanate with beauty and style.
Mark Twain is another one of the great influences in my life. His seemingly effortless ability of drawing his readers into bonding with his characters is unparallel to this day. He was a master of refining characterization while entwining it into his plot development to create and inspire his audience.
While you were still on the Police Force, did you ever think that a particular case might make a good book?
Actually, at the time, I did not, even though I did have a lot of cases that would have made excellent stories. I really enjoyed being a cop. I found the work exciting and mentally stimulating. Writing at that time in my life was not on my mind. My wife, Sherry, being intuitive by nature, bless her heart, kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles from all the cases I was involved in during my twenty-five years on the force. Later when I did start my writing career I found those clipping invaluable.
If so, are any of the characters in your books based on actual cases you worked on while on the force?
When I first rekindled my passion for writing I fell back on the golden rule, “Write what you know.” So, I must say, that although my stories are fictional by design, I draw my characters and case scenario from my life experiences be it people, places and/or events.
Do you draw on past experiences in the present when you are writing a new book, or thinking of a new storyline?
I would have to say most definitely yes. Police work is in essence psychological profiling of individual demeanor as it related to the events at hand. I spent a lot of time over the course of my career, studying people. I found the insight into basic human instincts fascinating as well as necessary in solving crime. Little did I realize at the time that my police job was actually research and training for my life as an author.
Is there anyone or any one thing that triggers an idea?
In answer to your question, I would have to say yes and yes. Every person I have ever met and those I have yet to meet in someway contribute to my ideas. Now I realize that sounds kind of lame but let me elaborate. There are certain characteristics that all individuals possess which just seem to stand out with an uncanny uniqueness. These are the traits that trigger ideas for personalities I utilize within a storyline. Likewise events of significant nature stimulate conceptions I use to focus a story around.
Do you still have friends on the force?
Yes, but I must add that there is truth to the old saying, “you can never go back.” I have been retired now going on eight years. Every year my wife and I go to the annual Christmas Party and each year there are less people there we know, over half the Officers now on the department started after I retired.
Do they (friends on the force) in any way contribute to inspirations for scenes in your books?
Directly no, however, indirectly every influence in my life contributes to the spirit of my literary works.
Where did you form the premise for the underlying theme of your books: “People in positions of authority have to be held accountable?”
I formed that premise from my experience and observations of living my own life. We sadly live in communities where “the good old boy” system of justice is “alive and well.” It is a system where “who you know” is more important that “what you know.” I once read that the best writers are those who are dedicated to a specific cause and have their very own soap box to stand upon. Well that is my soapbox. I firmly believe the amount of power we as community bestow upon our Law Enforcement Officers and Government Officials could and in some cases does endanger our rights and freedoms. Therefore it is imperative that we as individuals and as communities hold those in positions of authority accountable for their actions. The goal of my writings is to increase awareness in regards to this matter.
What gave you the idea to write the The Fiction Writer’s Bible?
Actually, The Fiction Writer’s Bible was an after thought. I spent a couple of years writing articles focused on fiction writing for a couple of different monthly publications. About a year later I realized I had all of these articles sitting in my file cabinet. Reviewing the articles I concluded that they would make an interesting and educational book. I worked with them for about a month and The Fiction Writer’s Bible was born.
Did you write The Fiction Writer’s Bible specifically for experienced authors or for novices as well?
I wrote The Fiction Writer’s Bible actually for the reader as an entertaining and educational tool to gain a deeper insight into the process involved in writing fiction. The book is designed to be fun to read and enjoy. I do not consider myself an expert in the field of writing. I believe writing is a never-ending learning process where perfection is not really achievable yet we who write constantly strive to reach it. I will say however that I do think that whether one is an experienced writer or a novice they will each gain something from the book.
Do you have any projects in the works?
I am always busy either writing or working. After I finished my third novel and went to start on my fourth, my wife came to be and told me I needed to get a real job. I gained 10 pounds per book writing the first three novels and as she put it, I really could not afford to gain any more weight. So in May of 1999 I went to work for a Law Firm as a private investigator where I have been working ever since. I have found this job to be interesting as well as a form of research for future storylines. I am always discovering unique personalities and events of interest.
Is there another book coming in the near future?
The answer is yes. It is called TipToe, an action packed and suspenseful crime drama focusing around a private investigator working to clear a young women who is accused of murdering her lover on a cruise ship at sea and who herself has now disappeared.
What is your favorite muse scenario?
This is a very good and somewhat hard question for me to answer. I will get a thought pertaining to a person, event, or incident, which I find myself pondering upon. It is from that reflection I will decide to write a poem or story. I have this 90-minute cassette tape of songs from the late 50's and early 60's. I will put on that music and sit down in front of the computer. The funny part of it is that I can't even tell you the title to one of the songs on that tape even though I've listened to it over and over again. My inspiration comes from an original conception, but my character development and plot sequence build upon the interaction between the two. When I write I never know myself where the book is going until it’s there. It makes the process fun and interesting.
What is the best book you have ever read?
I would have to say, Jack London’s “The Call of The Wild.” The reason I pick this book is because it is the one, which aroused my own passion for the written word and instilled my interest in writing. If it wasn't for Jack London’s artistic flow of words, I might have never found the contentment and pleasure which writing has given me.