I’ve never been a police chief—but I spent many years of my career in public education serving as a high school superintendent. The day I realized the overlap between those two positions was the day Jo Oliver was born.
In the early years, I interviewed women and men (mostly men) police officers and had the privilege of participating in a few ride-alongs. As a member of the International Thriller Writers Association, I enthusiastically joined in on the FBI workshops hosted by the Manhattan FBI during our annual summer conference. It wasn’t until I heard a dear friend and local police chief describe his day-to-day activities as being mainly concerned with politics and personnel that I realized I could write from that seat authentically.
School superintendents also spend a good deal of their time addressing politics and personnel—sans badge and gun. Layering on the details of a series of crimes fell into place once I knew how my police chief would spend her time on the job when not chasing bad guys/girls. In addition to trying out cool new technologies in their efforts to protect and serve, my characters spend much of their waking time at work. Understanding that leadership in the police arena is not all that different from leadership in other arenas added confidence and an air of authority to my writing.
In crafting my current novel, I am drawing on my world of education to form the background of my protagonist. Grounding her in a world I know so well frees me up to create bridges into the bold new future world we are creating and sharing on the page together. Weaving in the ancient truths of human development, character, and consequences of our choices laid out in the Bible adds the final layer of intrigue and fuel for reflection I strive to include in my work.
Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates opportunities to contribute to the wellbeing of others as a coach, writer, and friend. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. www.catherinefinger.com