Not long ago I was at a book signing for my latest novel, OPERATION SCORPION, and a reader asked me the question – why do you write so much about cops and terrorists?
I looked up, smiled and said that was what I knew. We then had a wonderful conversation about the genre of police thrillers, which I actually believe are more psychological thrillers since I always delve into the minds of the characters. What is the protagonist thinking, feeling, experiencing? What is the antagonist also thinking, feeling, experiencing?
The concept of writing one dimensional characters never crosses my mind as I sit behind the key board. People have breadth, depth, needs, desires (both good and bad), but mostly they are human. They may be fictional characters but they are real to me and hopefully to my readers.
Why would someone believe it is the correct thing to do to murder someone? Why is that? As a person with a background in psychology, this ultimate betrayal of human life has always fascinated me. As an ex-cop it sometimes was part of my duty to investigate homicides – too many it seems – but to write about what is in a murderer’s mind really intrigued me.
The stories I write concern the human element – be that good or evil. It is what it is seems to be the cliché running circles through the English language lately but is that true? A murderer, no matter the motive cannot be taken lightly. There was something there which triggered the one homicide or multiple homicides they committed. That is what intrigues me when writing about characters in my works.
Understanding, if we can be as arrogant as believing we can, what causes a person to take the life of an innocent seems a bit absurd but we do both in reality and non-reality. That is the job of the writer to make fiction appear to be non-fiction.
It is the same with the other characters, especially the main or protagonists. Each of mine are flawed humans with deep emotional scars within their souls. I think this makes for a better character – one readers, and myself, can relate to. Most humans, from my research have events in their past which makes them or at least assists them into who they are today.
Why should it be different for fictional characters?
That’s why I write what I write – I want my readers to visualize that even though a person may be evil they have deep seated issues which may have pushed them toward being evil. This is not an excuse for them since evil is evil and everyone has the opportunity to turn away from such but it may be an idea of why they are who they are.
And the good may have gone through similar experiences – granted perhaps not so grievous as the antagonist(s) but they have scars just the same. The difference is that good always prevails and that is the way it is or at least should be while we travel on this great ball in the sky.
About John R. Beyer
Former street cop, training officer and member of SWAT John Beyer has been writing most of his life. He’s traveled to at least 23 countries (and was actually shot in the head in Spain in 2000 during a march between Neo Nazis and Communists two days after running with the bulls in Pamplona). He was caught in a hurricane off the coast of east Baja (Bahia de los Angeles) while kayaking and lived to tell about it. Essentially, it’s hard to tell where experience leaves off and fiction takes over.
PI Frank Sanders is “blown away” by the woman who strolls into his office one morning. Not only is she drop-dead-gorgeous, she’s also rich and willing to pay whatever it takes for him to find her missing father, world-famous geologist Dr. Stephen Jaspers who went rock hunting in the desert and hasn’t been heard from since. A retired Riverside California Police Department detective, Frank is used to searching for people. He takes the case, assuming it’s a simple missing person. But what he uncovers is more than he bargained for, leading him to suspect that he’s about to be blown away—literally, this time—along with everyone else in Southern California.
Mystery Private Eye [Black Opal Books, On Sale: January 14, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781626945968 / ]