Each of you has probably had a friend or relative say to you, "You ought to write a book about that!" During my FBI career I was assigned to investigate numerous foreign counterintelligence cases. I once had a subject whom I thought would make an intriguing villain for a novel. That idea stayed in the recesses of my mind for years. After retirement, I prepared a "bucket list" of things to accomplish. At the top was the challenge of writing a crime novel. As I watched reruns of NYPD Blue, which I enjoyed because of realistic plots and fascinating characters, I was reminded that my book would never get written unless I actually started it. Fate intervened, as it often does, and a change in jobs and location gave me the opportunity for writing that I had been missing. At the same time, my wife urged me from talking about writing to doing something about it. She strategically placed near my dinner plate, a newspaper notice about a local writers' group that was meeting that very evening. I attended and was hooked. I became excited about my new project. After a year's worth of critiques, I entered my manuscript in a national writing contest. It won first place in the fiction category and grand prize overall. The reward included a significant stipend with a publishing company. Sales and positive feedback from readers led to a second edition as well as momentum for a sequel. The Mile Marker Murders was my debut novel; the sequel, Prime Impact, recently was awarded first place in the "Unpublished Fiction" category by the Public Safety Writers Association, and is scheduled for release by BQB Publishing in April 2020.
My advice to anyone who wants to write a book is to try and write a little bit at least every week. Consider joining a regional chapter of your state's writers' club. You'll meet diverse people who share a passion for writing. They will provide you with insights, motivation and practical writing skills. You may wish to join a national organization. I am a member of The Public Safety Writers Association, the South Carolina Writers Association and the Lexington Writers Group. I have found being a member of an organized group encourages you to write on a regular basis.