Last week, I was fortunate enough to spend three days at an event called Writers’ Police Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina. WPA is organized by Lee Lofland and is heavily sponsored by Sisters in Crime (and other organizations). I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking: “Kelsey, why is a nice contemporary romance writer like you learning about gangs and law enforcement and building searches?”
Well, number one, the academy was just a heckuva a lot of fun. I mean, how often do you get to play with guns, learn to beat up on a rubber dummy, and try on SWAT gear? And number two, I write about law enforcement characters in both my Texas Nights contemporary romance series and in The Granny Series, the cozy caper series Nancy Naigle and I are co-writing. And because I had such an amazing time at WPA, I wanted to share a little about my experience, the classes I took, and why I took them.
Gangs – I learned about the most prominent and violent gangs, which will help me build backstory for a future hero I have in mind. Yep, I’ve got a real bad boy coming up in my next contemporary romance series.
FATS (Firearms Training Simulator) – I learned the weight and feel of a Sig Sauer. So for my LEO characters, how it feels to have a gun in the hand, how you hold it, how you site on a target. Okay, so I already knew most of this stuff, having been around guns all my life. So the bonus was I “disposed of” three of the four bad guys in the simulator .
Police Chiefs vs. Sheriffs – This class provided some great details for Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights #3) and the entire Granny series.
Building Searches – Again, just tons of fun and an appreciation for how heavy Abby Ruth’s (Granny Series) AR-15 is (even though my semi-auto was only plastic!).
Self Defense – This class completely inspired me—it’s research, exercise and self defense all rolled into one. I’m convinced there’s a nugget from this class that will show up in a future Granny book.
In addition to the classes themselves, I was able to do some fabulous networking and make research contacts in the county jail and sheriff’s office – score! And I’m already planning for a return trip next year to participate in all the sessions I couldn’t this time around.
September is All American Breakfast Month. My version of an AAB is: two eggs over easy, crisp bacon, grits, biscuits and sausage gravy. What’s your preferred All American Breakfast?