Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Cop and A Con

A Cop and A Con by Deirdre O'Dare
Released August 9 by Amber Quill in their Amber Allure line as part of the Strip Away the Badge PAX.

 Here is a bit about how and why for this story:
I know readers often wonder why an author might write a specific story. Since Deirdre O’Dare writes more offbeat tales than many, the question may be even more frequent and pressing for my stories than most! I’d have to say I walk a very narrow line between stark, harsh reality of either the world we live in or others that may exist and tend to mirror what I witness here and something less grim. I also believe to the depth of my heart that Love is the One True Thing and that everyone deserves to find and experience it. While happily ever after may be a fairy tale dream, I still believe it is possible. So everything I write is a romance! But they all happen in a setting of hard times, dark reality and struggles.
            I’ve been involved with law enforcement through family members since 1971. Before then I didn’t give a lot of thought to what our peace officers deal with on a daily basis and the issues they face. Then it hit home and became very real.
            Of course “cops” have been in the news a lot lately, some for doing very bad things and some for being heroes. While I certainly do not condone a number of the fatal shootings that have taken place by police officers, I do have some sense of the danger and fear they have to face every time they get into their unit or answer a call. They never know when someone will make that fatal shot at them.
            Here in New Mexico two officers have died this year in the line of duty--from being shot--and several have been badly injured. I cannot defend the ‘bad’ cops, and there are some, but I have deepest sympathy and respect for the good ones who are far in the majority. So, I write about them. I know when I began to write gay romances, about ten years ago, I soon gained a great deal more sympathy and understanding for gay and lesbian people. I had always thought that everyone deserved to find and have love, but once I had gotten into the heads and hearts of my characters as they told me their stories, it all became very real and I moved firmly into the Rainbow Camp.
            My wish is now, when I write about law enforcement, that I can make these individuals more real and human for my readers. I want to let more people see just how tough it can be to walk the world behind a badge. A few may strut it but most bear the authority as a heavy burden of responsibility and visibility.
            Although I can hardly even imagine how horrific it can be to carry that badge in our modern cities, I do know more about circumstances for the men and women who serve in the rural and remote areas of the west. In a city there are almost always witnesses, sometimes hostile but at least many pairs of eyes. Out in the desert, chaparral and mountains, it may be just the cop and the bad guy or guys. Backup may be miles away. I feel a need to tell these folks’ stories. Although A Cop and A Con is not the first time I have tried to honor the rural officers nor will it be the last, I gave it my best shot.
            Perry is a composite of a number of men I have known and observed. As for Ike, I have witnessed prejudice, too, and the struggles many people have after making just one bad mistake that landed them on the wrong side of the law. For this tale, he was the first character that came to me and Perry emerged a bit later, after Ike began to share his struggle with me. And of course I added the dogs—dogs are special to me and I enjoy showcasing their unique qualities as special secondary characters in many stories.
            I tried to avoid becoming maudlin or dwelling too deeply on the squalid and sordid side of things, but it’s all part of policing in this region and background I felt was needed to make the story real. Reality is almost a watchword with me; however fantastic the story may be, I have to feel in my soul that it is “real.” While there is no guarantee of a happy-ever-after ending, at least I know that at the end Ike and Perry found some peace and contentment and we can hope it lasts for them. In a fictitious world, perhaps it does.
             Even in the real world, sometimes things actually do work out. To me fiction should give a reader hope that for them as well as for the characters, good endings are possible. Is that not why we read genre fiction? It appeals because we know the good guys will win and bolster our sagging faith that outcome is possible for us, for everyone.

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