April 11, 2012 by msashtonwriter
Me? An Author?
It only seemed like yesterday I was moving my boxes into my desk at the “Crystal Palace” (as we like to refer to headquarters). The time has raced off the clock, and I now find myself a seasoned detective. Investigating rapes, robberies, and murders over the past 15 years has generated enough material to last an author a lifetime. However, becoming an author was not a part of my plan.
It happened quite innocently. I was helping a friend who was hosting a storytelling conference at our church. The event was small, but the talent was powerful. When one of the attendees shared with me how a local author was speaking about how you can make money writing online content for websites, I couldn’t help but detain the speaker and inquire for myself.
“The name’s John—John Riddle.”
“Ken Lang,” I replied offering a firm handshake. “Can you tell me about how I can make some extra income writing for websites?”
“Sure, what profession are you in?” he asked pointedly.
“Law enforcement. I’ve been a police officer for over twenty years now.”
“And you want to write online content for police websites?”
“That’s the idea.”
“Tell me, what do you do in the police department?”
“I’m a detective. I’ve been investigating sex crimes, robberies, and murders for the past 15 years.”
“Ken, you don’t want to write online content; you want to write true crime books.”
There it was—the pitch. That one moment in life when the pieces of the puzzle fall together and you begin to find a purpose for yourself. And in that very same instant I could hear that sinister voice whispering in my ear. “You can’t write books. You barely passed high school English and just slipped through some basic college courses by the skin of your teeth. What are you thinking?”
What am I thinking? I thought, dismissing the notion. Write a book? Yeah, right!
The fact was that high school English was a major struggle, and my reading comprehension skills were little to brag about. How could I seriously consider writing a book? I finished the day and left for home, dejected, wishing that I had applied myself harder in high school. What’s done is done, I thought as I drove home, abandoning any idea of pursuing the venture.
But something stirred deep within, prompting me to take the business card I snagged off John’s table earlier and send him an email. Within a few hours, some simple instructions from my newfound mentor had me typing out my first murder. The first chapter, no longer than twelve pages, covered the scene and the police response. The second chapter would capture the interview and confession from the young lady who snuffed out an ex-boyfriend’s life. Twenty-one chapters later, the rough draft of the manuscript of my first book was completed.
Today, I’ve authored two true crime books. I’m finishing the third, and I’m outlining my first crime novel. My efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. This past year I was one of the recipients of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” award from The Author’s Show. It’s funny how life has its way of confounding the wise.
So, the next time someone tells you, “you can’t do that,” let them know that you know a cop who says that, “you can.”
For more information on Ken or his books, please visit the links below.