~ JAYE WELLS ~
Authors are weird people. Mostly we sit around in our pajamas writing about characters whose lives are way more exciting than our own. However, every now and then we get an idea for a book that requires research that can’t be found through Google alone.
This was certainly the case when I got the idea for my new Prospero’s War series. See, my main character, Kate Prospero, is a cop. I am about as not-a-cop as a human can get. I scare pretty easily, I have almost zero hand-to-hand combat skills, and I tend to avoid dark, scary places where criminals hang out. But the thing is, I am willing to do a lot of things in service of telling a good story that I would never volunteer for otherwise.
Luckily, the town I live in has a wonderful program called Citizens’ Police Academy. For twelve weeks, normal people get to learn all about the ins and outs of each of the major areas of the police department. What’s better, most of the learning is hands on. One week we’d watch the bomb squad set off a bomb in the parking lot and get to play with their bomb-diffusing robot. The next week, we’d get to handle vials of crack and gallon zip-top bags of marijuana (they locked us in the room for that one). Another week, a very … um… virile gentleman taught us all about his life on the SWAT team.
In addition to the classroom instruction, there were two special events. One was called Drive Day. Early one Saturday morning, we arrived at a large, open parking lot that had been set up as an obstacle course. We were instructed to drive those very large police vehicles at high speeds and with the sirens blaring through the course. This exercise is just like one actual cops have to pass before they’re allowed to graduate from the real police academy. It basically was the second most fun time someone could have in a car.
The other special thing we got to do was go on a ride-along with a cop. I signed up for the deep night shift (6pm to 2am). My officer was a pretty cool guy, who told me that if I put him a book I had to give him a cool name, “Like Laser,” he said. When we weren’t pulling people over and searching for missing kids and driving at break-neck speeds through neighborhoods hunting down thieves, he answered all my probing questions about police life. The highlight of the night was our last call. Around one in the morning, we reported to a call that a man was passed out in someone’s yard. It turned out, he had suffered a diabetic shock while walking his dog. If we hadn’t found him, he might have died. Later, Laser apologized for not having a more exciting night, but for a homebody like me it was pretty crazy.
I learned so much from the Citizens’ Police Academy, and had so much fun to boot, that I also signed up to attend the Writers’ Police Academy in North Carolina. It’s a three-day bootcamp, where writers have access to FBI, ATF, DEA, and state and local officers who presented workshops and answered all our weird questions. I learned how to cuff people, brush for fingerprints, interrogate perps, and lots of other cool stuff.
The best part of the whole experience—beyond learning what I needed to know to write cops in a believable way—was that I pushed past my own comfort zone. Writing requires a lot of imagination, but nothing beats real-world experience when it comes to writing about a topic with confidence. I never would have done any of those cool things if not for Dirty Magic. I hope when you read it you’ll experience some of the excitement I felt while researching it.
The first in an all-new urban fantasy series by USA Todaybestseller Jaye Wells.
The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn’t expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.
The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she’s convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she’s been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she’d never use dirty magic again.
Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.
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