Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crime Novelist, Mitchell Nevin

So Mitchell, why don’t we start by learning a bit about yourself.
When did you decide to become a writer?
After serving over three-decades in law enforcement, I had seen and heard many things I felt that I should pass along.  Law enforcement is full of colorful characters—from the cops who work the streets to some of those involved in criminal activity. 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tom Clancy is my favorite writer.  I really enjoy the way he researches material.  He also uses a lot of dialog, as do I.  Fredrick Forsyth’s “The Day of the Jackal,” is one of the first books that I read from cover-to-cover while serving a tour overseas in the military.  Like Clancy, he diligently researched his facts, which is why “Jackal” is a classic novel.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My faith is very important to me.   Like many Americans, sometimes family events, work, and personal matters can take their toll.   I believe that, whether I was a police officer or a father, God gave me the ability to shrug my shoulders and recognize that, like the Biblical figure Job, we are often tested.  I thank the good Lord that I have, for the most part, succeeded.  I am grateful and very content with the life I have lived and thankful for what I have.  
For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
It depends.  I really like my Kindle.  I can download so many newspapers and books, even while I’m vacationing in remote areas, such as northern Wisconsin.  On the other hand, on a warm sunny day at the beach, noting beats a traditional book.  I also like passing my dead tree books to others.  I think hardcover books are valuable from the perspective of obtaining an autograph or establishing a family library.  They are very durable and last for generations. 
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
King David would be one.  A young man with so many difficult challenges, who, like so many of our leaders today, succumbed to an extra-marital relationship (with Bathsheba), but prayed for and received forgiveness.  St. Peter, the man who betrayed Christ, but was later crucified himself, is very inspirational.  Nelson Mandela is a leader who, although I disagree with his political philosophy, has Gandhi-like attributes that enabled him to reconcile the past by forgiving those who imprisoned and tortured him.  He is a much bigger man than most, who would have sought vengeance over the good of their nation.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I generally develop a list of ideas and seek to incorporate these concepts into compelling characters.  I also try to provide readers with stories within the plotline itself.  The mini-stories, or sub-plots, feed into the overall plot, but, more importantly, define the characters.
What are the titles & Genres of your books?
“The Cozen Protocol,” my first novel, was an Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee.  It is fictional, but incorporates actual offenses into the overall gang/police corruption plot.   In “Psychic Reprieve,” the characters, while all flawed in the face of the justice system, are, at heart, good human beings seeking to thrive and redeem themselves once released from prison.  The genre is fiction, but also makes use of actual offenses, criminal profiling, interrogations, and high-tech government surveillance.

What inspired you to write your first book, The Cozen Protocol?
During my career with the Milwaukee Police Department, I felt that many officers were unjustifiably thrown under the bus for political purposes.  These were rank-and-file officers caught in the midst of political power plays.   But instead of folding their tents and laying low, many of these officers, despite being victims of departmental politics, forged ahead to serve those that they took an oath to protect.  To good officers, police work is a calling.   These are the cops who toil in unbelievable conditions night-after-night and make a difference.
How did you come up with the title?
“Cozen” is a word that means “snake like” and/or deceptive.  The characters who sought to undermine the cops that patrol the street initiated an unofficial “cozen protocol” in attempt to derail the careers of a handful of officers who had the goods on a high-ranking police official who wanted to become the Milwaukee PD’s chief-of-police.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why?
In “The Cozen Protocol” it was, no doubt, Detective Gavin Fitzgerald.  As retired Milwaukee PD Captain Glenn Frankovis noted, Fitzgerald knew how to work around bureaucratic obstacles; he was dedicated but not obsessed; and viewed his profession as a calling.  In “Psychic Reprieve,” I liked all three major characters—an African-American baseball pitcher, a disgraced Chicago PD sergeant, and the Italian-American identity thief—because they understood each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
In “The Cozen Protocol” and “Psychic Reprieve,” the personalities of the main characters are drawn out by their use of humor and/or one-liners.  Granted, sometimes this humor is politically incorrect, as are the beliefs and personalities of many of us.  How Americans perceive societal trends is often times based on geography, race, age, political beliefs and religious perspectives.  These are the hallmarks of living in America that I sought to highlight.

Is there a message in your new novel, Psychic Reprieve, that you want readers to grasp? 
Yes, while there are several things that divide Americans, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, political beliefs, and geography, when thrown together by circumstances outside one’s control, Americans tend to overcome and appreciate these differences. 
How much of the book is realistic?  
Several of the crimes mentioned in both “The Cozen Protocol” and “Psychic Reprieve” are take offs of actual events.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
I try to create unique circumstances that keep the characters interesting.   This is always a challenge when evaluating solid character development.  I want to give each character a certain personality.  In “Psychic Reprieve,” the fact that each character, to a certain extent, is a fish out of water gives the plot its uniqueness.  
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? 
I try to travel to many locales in the Midwest to promote my books.  In the future, I would like to visit places in the south and southwest to promote each novel at shows and fairs.   My marketing company is in the process of offering a program where groups can sponsor visits by yours truly to college campus, community group meetings, or book club events. 
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 
I learned that writing a book is much more difficult than I ever imagined.  In a sense, it is like aspiring to run a marathon—many people seek to do so but very few ever cross the finish line.  During my life, I have been fortunate to have run a marathon and have written books.  In that sense, God has blessed me.
What are your future projects?  
I have conceptualized at least two potential novels involving organized crime, cops gone bad, and steadfast investigators.  Now I just need to work on the characters and it’s off to the races.
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Yes. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Recognize your limitations; set reasonable expectations, and realize that, when you are an upstart writer, it is difficult to get recognized.

Thanks Mitchell!

Psychic Reprieve: Deception & Reality
R.C. is a rising star in baseball, until his world comes crashing down. Raised by his grandparents, Raunold Choquet has one dream in life, to play ball. When a hazing incident goes astray, he finds out that justice is not always blind. Reality sets in when he is attacked in prison.
Awakening from a coma with piercing headaches and vivid dreams, he is left to sort out what is real, and what is not. Psychic Reprieve: Deception & Reality introduces us to a group of unlikely friends: a well-liked college baseball player, a disgraced Chicago police sergeant, and a folksy identify thief, as they seek to cash in on one of the trio's clairvoyant abilities. As their plan unfolds, the lines between deception and reality blur as the motivation for financial gain clashes with conscience, patriotism, and personal responsibility.
Purported psychics use their talents - real or perceived - to provide a service and earn an income. In this particular line of work, scammers and snake oil salesmen sometimes move about like thieves in the night. Realists see psychic readings as a pricy form of entertainment. To those in search of inner peace, however, the hopes of bringing a loved one's killer to justice or communicating with a relative on 'the other side' can make them an easy mark for brazen charlatans.
 Mitchell Nevin's latest novel searches the shadowy expanses occupied by serial killers, cold-blooded terrorists, challenged detectives, troubled loved ones, and a gifted young man on a quest to mend his tattered reputation.

The Cozen Protocol
Mitchell Nevin is a master at developing characters readers will empathize with, even the bad guys. Nothing is as it seems-flip the pages to find out, who’s good, who’s bad, who’s dead, and who survives.
The Cozen Protocol is an intricately woven story, perfect for any crime lover. Take a ride in the front seat with Milwaukee’s finest and view the world as you have never seen it before; by walking-a-mile in the shoes of everyday street cops as they carefully balance the ebb-and-flow of justice and politics. 

Faced with inept leadership, outlaw bikers, gangs, and crooked cops, each day is another unique challenge. Down, but not out, the fine men and women of law enforcement combine their talents and work together to “foil” the bad guys and live to fight crime for another day.