Stories about crimes have always resonated with me, whether it was Crime and Punishment or The Quiet American. Maybe it’s because I started my career as a police reporter, or because I worked for a time as a teacher in the county jail.

mugshot evolvedMore than a decade ago, when I decided to finally get serious about writing, I started with short stories based on real misdeeds I’d witnessed. I wrote one about my next door neighbor, who’d been murdered by a friend, another about an ambitious bike racer who decides to take out the competition, and a bunch of others based on characters I met in jail.

Over time these got picked up by various magazines online and in print. More than a dozen now exist, with most of the latest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Big Pulp.

For my debut novel, They Tell Me You Are Wicked, I drew inspiration from the most infamous event in the history of my hometown: the real life killing of a political candidate’s daughter (though I made up all the details).

Now I am at work on a second volume in the series, set two years later, after my hero, Duncan Cochrane, has become governor. He’s haunted by the family secret that got him elected and fighting a sniper who’s targeting children in Chicago.