Guest Blogger: Kathy Bennett

14 May

Authentic Crime…Arresting Stories

The title of this blog is part of my author brand. It took me two weeks to come up with those four words. Some things are worth waiting for. That little catch phrase is perfect for describing my writing and me.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I was a Los Angeles Police Officer…for twenty-one years. While a police officer, I experienced a lot of things that most people can’t even imagine. But I’ve found there are many people who are interested in those events. They just don’t want to put their lives on the line to experience similar occurrences themselves. I totally get that and understand it.

That’s why I was so careful with the ‘tag line’ of my brand. I wanted to be able to stand behind it and know it was true. It’s my promise to the reader that while the situations and characters I put in my books may be fictional, the atmosphere and the possibility of those circumstances being true are dead on.

But being authentic is a delicate balance in several ways. First, there is a saying in police work that the job is 95% sheer boredom and 5% sheer terror. That statement is pretty darn accurate. So, as a writer, if I were to tell you all the boring things that go on in police work you wouldn’t want to read my book. The trick is to show you those boring things about the job, and yet, still make them interesting.

It’s like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. You might be disappointed that your preconceived idea about how powerful the Wizard is turns out to be false. But it’s pretty darn cool how he’s able to turn a wheel at his command center and get fire to leap 25 feet into the sky.

It’s the same way with police work. You probably have predetermined ideas how cops live their lives – much of your knowledge based on what you see on TV and in the movies. I’m here to tell you it isn’t all about pursuits and shoot-outs. Oh, those things can and do happen, but the normal behind the scenes stuff is interesting too. And that’s what I authentically deliver in my stories.

But being realistic can have its drawbacks too. In my book, A Deadly Blessing there are story lines and language that are true to life. And those situations occur every day in this country. I didn’t use those story lines for shock value. I used them because cops all over the country face those circumstances, or worse, on a daily basis. That’s what cops sign up for – and handling those types of problems is what they do.

The cop is bound by duty and integrity to face those challenges, while a reader of one of my books can feel all the emotions and the excitement of being a cop from the safety of their recliner…which, I think, is a pretty good balance.

And that is what I’ve promised you with my brand…Authentic Crime resulting in Arresting Stories.


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Idaho


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15 responses to “Guest Blogger: Kathy Bennett

  1. ramblingsfromtheleft

    May 14, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    Kathy, it is a pleasure to meet you here at GSW. I am a big fan of mystery in all it’s sub-genres. Love the “cop” side of things. Devoured Wambaugh and always knew that his raw images where what you all face daily. I have two nephews who protect and serve in the NYPD … following in my brother-in-law’s footsteps. I know that like so many, I’d rather read about it. My hat off to you for being able to bring the boring and terrifying part of your job to your readers 🙂

  2. Janis McCurry

    May 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    I love your 4 words. They do convey your writing and readers need that. I know how tweaked they can get if what they read isn’t what they are promised. I think it’s important to spend a lot of time on your brand.

    Your books sound wonderful. Thanks for being our guest at Gem State Writers.

  3. Liz Fredericks

    May 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    Hearing from you on GSW is quite exciting for me! Like Florence, I’m a big fan. Most of my contacts are in federal law enforcement and the picture they paint is quite similar. I really appreciate your efforts in putting a dose of reality into fictional depictions of law enforcement. Thank you for blogging with us.

  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    May 14, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    I love your brand. It certainly caught my attention and makes me want to read more! Thanks for blogging today.

  5. Kathy Bennett

    May 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Ramblings!

    Thank you for your comments. When I first began writing, I used to say I wanted to be the female Joseph Wambaugh. I quickly learned his voice and mine are nothing alike! I don’t think there is anyone that I’ve read that writes cops as well. A close second is another favorite author and retired LAPD detective, Paul Bishop. But for the female side of things…you need to read me 😉

    Being a cop is a difficult job and I commend your family for producing so many members that are willing to face the challenge. And hurrah for the family members who don’t choose to do the job and love to read!

  6. Kathy Bennett

    May 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Hi Janis!

    Thank you for taking time out of your day to visit with me here. I really strive to deliver what I promise. Sometimes readers get a little bit more reality than they bargained for and it throws them.
    But then I figure they’re learning something they didn’t know before. Sounds like a ‘win’ to me!

  7. Kathy Bennett

    May 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Hi Liz!

    Well, thank you…I suspect my family would call me far from exciting, so I’m happy to be told that here!

    One thing I’ve found from cops and former cops who’ve read my books is that no matter how big or small the law enforcement agency, there are ‘issues’ that are universal. I’ve got a quite a few law enforcement personnel who read my books and when they do write to me, it’s to commend me for ‘getting it right.’

    Thank you for your comments…now I’ve got to try to be exciting all day!

  8. Kathy Bennett

    May 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Hi Meredith!

    Thank you! I wish I could remember what I started out with when was thinking of my brand. It was one of those things I thought, “I’ll never forget that.” Well, I have! But whatever it was, I just knew it wasn’t right.

    I’m trying to make my brand well-known, but it’s not an easy phrase to drop in casual conversation 😉 That doesn’t keep me from trying though!

    Thank you for your comments and support of my brand.

  9. marsharwest

    May 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Hey, Kathy, nice to see you here at GSW. I stop by frequently and always find thought-provoking posts. I’ve read A DOZEN DEADLY ROSES–a great read, and I have A DEADLY BLESSING on my Nook and am looking forward to reading it. Your brand is genius and pithy. Suggestion for how to use in everyday conversation when you are asked what do you write, you say: Arresting stories and authentic crime. Continued good sales, Kathy.

    • Kathy Bennett

      May 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Hi Marsha!

      It’s good to see you here as well.

      Yes, the posts here are quiet diverse and enlightening. Thank you for your comments about the books. I will tell you that A Dozen Deadly Roses was a romantic suspense, while A Deadly Blessing is more gritty and a straight suspense.

      Oh, I throw my brand out there every chance I get, our dogs and cats are getting tired of hearing it!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and post. So nice to put a face with the name!

  10. Gary R. Smith

    May 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I’m glad I stopped here, Kathy. I love your work, as you know, and I enjoy reading your thoughts. As you may know, I’m really old, and that brings with it a lot of experiences. My paternal Grandfather, was a police officer back in the ’40’s and I have a cousin and nephew currently active. I have had many friends and acquaintances on “the job”. As you said, it is not a career I was interested in but I certainly appreciate and thank those of you that do. Keep writing!!

    • Kathy Bennett

      May 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Hi Gary!

      I’m flattered you stopped by. Thank you!

      There are some families who seem to be ‘born’ into law enforcement service. Then there are other people, such as myself, who are the lone member of the family to wear a badge.

      I guess the key thing is that you have to WANT to do the job; if you don’t, you’ll be miserable. The job is not for the faint of heart.

      Thank you Gary for taking time to see me here and leave a comment.

  11. Clarissa Southwick

    May 14, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    What a great background, Kathy. I hope you won’t mind if we come to you for advice. Thanks for guest blogging for us today!

  12. Kathy Bennett

    May 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Thank you Clarissa! It was great to be here. Thank you so much for having me! You can reach me via my website:

  13. maryvine

    May 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    I’m interested in reading your books because of your experience. Thanks for blogging with Gem State!


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