Mike Roche is an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice and retired from the U.S. Secret Service. He is the author of Face 2 Face – Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building, Mass Killers: How You Can Identify Workplace, School, or Public Killers Before They Strike, and three works of fiction, The Blue Monster, Coins of Death and Karma!
What else have you written?
I am an eclectic writer. I have written two police procedurals with a hardboiled female detective, The Blue Monster and Coins of Death, one YA mystery/romance that explores the trauma of bullying called Karma! Oh yeah, I have also written a nonfiction rapport building and observation techniques based on my experience with the Secret Service, called Face 2 Face. I am working on a historical fiction along with several other works in progress.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
That we are not “real writers.” Yes, there are a number of people that are hobbyists or should not have been published, but that is up to the readers to decide. With the contraction of the publishing industry, the opportunity to become traditionally published is becoming more daunting. Many of the New York Times best sellers can hold up countless rejection letters from agents and publishers. In today’s market, how many of those same authors would have chosen the Indie path? All of the Indie authors I have known are dedicated to their profession and craft. Guy Kawasaki, termed us as artisan author/publisher/entrepreneurs (APE’s).
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
I have a general sense of where the book will end, but it is fluid. I enjoy escaping with my fictional friends and letting them make the final decision. In The Blue Monster, I initially had Frank Duffy as a minor figure, but he weaseled into almost a co-starring role with Kate Alexander. As I came towards the end, I decided to add an unexpected twist. In Coins of Death, the final scene was added after my wife’s input from reading the manuscript. Aside from Coins of Death, each of my works has had a number of title changes.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
I have a blog on my website at Mikeroche.com in which I provide relationship advice. I have a Facebook page and LinkedIn, but I really do not promote those platforms. I spend most of my time on Twitter. As I told you and wrote a post on this, I was like the teenager making their way into the cool surf of the Jersey Shore. As I became more acclimated, I have made many online friends. It is a beautiful community, where most everyone is accepted. Just like at Thanksgiving, stay away from religion and politics. There is a considerable time commitment to engage in the community, but it is invigorating when you interact with friends, fans and other writers. I am always impressed by those that are gracious and humble. Many of those on Twitter are willing to share and help promote others. Like the pioneer days when they would have a barn-raising in which the community collected together to help a neighbor. Being Irish, Twitter reminds me of the pub mentality, where everyone drops in and huddles around the bar sharing gossip and stories.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
Despite spending a career in law enforcement, I still have to fact check and I have a considerable library of reference books. Technology is always changing. In Face 2 Face, my bibliography was eleven pages. I am working on an historical fiction on Irish immigration and there was considerable research involved. I recently visited the Five Points section of New York and the West of Ireland last year for more perspective.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
I typically do not allow anyone to read until the first draft is complete. There are too many dream stealers that dampen the synergy. I did share Karma! I wanted to gauge the interest of the young adult target audience. At the 8,000 word mark I shared the beginning with my daughter. She was in her late teens, so I continued when she gave me the thumbs up.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Most authors I speak with are hurt personally by negative reviews. Most everyone is stung from rejection. We have invested a great deal of time and money in the project. Due to the anonymity of the internet, some reviews can be very caustic and some have an agenda. I use my wife as a filter. She reads the good ones and if there is a negative one with valid criticism, she will paraphrase for me. I look at Stephen King, Michael Connelly and Lee Childs all have one-star reviews for their best selling books.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
Professor Nalini Ambady’s research has demonstrated that a first impression is completed in less than two seconds. Author Joe Konrath has beat the gavel on this issue as well. My first cover artist went missing. In a panic, I went looking for a replacement. I found an author’s covers that popped off the screen and I contacted him. His cover artist is Lynn Hansen, and she has been fun to work with. A good cover is well worth the investment. Do it yourself covers, often have that appearance. Don’t judge yourself; allow others to provide input.
How would you define your style of writing?
My writing is based upon an amalgam of experiences and characters that I met in my 33 years in law enforcement. I enjoy writing complex plots, and hosting an eclectic group of characters thrown into a caldron. I am heavy on dialogue and let the characters tell the story as they expose their personality.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I live in Tampa and I love it. If I were compelled to relocate, I would chose either Denver or New York. I have always enjoyed the abstract of Denver’s architecture and terrain. It is a great walking city as is New York. I enjoy the diversity of the entertainment and dining experiences in large cities. Dublin and London would also be high on my list since I sunburn easily.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
I enjoy creating culinary delights in my kitchen, but I still fall back on NY Pizza. My least favorite is anything that swims. I cook it, but I will not eat seafood.
What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?
Loyalty, integrity and dependability. I love someone that feels comfortable enough to ask for a favor and one that will offer a favor without being asked.
What music soothes your soul?
I have a very eclectic music collection. For soothing, I enjoy light classical or smooth jazz.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Rude, arrogant and egotistical people. Does that count as one or three peeves?
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Slow down and listen.
Demonstrate genuine respect for others.
Look for random acts of kindness that you can deliver to improve someone’s day.
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