Police Procedures and Author Sandra Orchard

Hello all, Katy Lee here. First off, on this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, my appreciation and prayers go out to all of our law enforcement and first responders. Thank you for keeping our towns and cities safe every day. God’s blessings to you all.

Now, as writers, we can only depend on research to get the story right, and today I have Sandra Orchard, a fellow Inspirational-Romantic-Suspense author, here to discuss how she came by her research for her Undercover Cops series and novel, DEEP COVER. FYI- One lucky commenter will be drawn tonight at11:59PM (ET) for a free copy!

Sandra attended a writer’s police academy, and I just had to have her here today to share a few of her hair-raising experiences with us all.

But first, can you tell us a little bit about DEEP COVER and your main characters?

Thanks for having me here, Katy Lee. The hero of Deep Cover is undercover cop Rick Gray. Fifteen months ago he let the woman he loved walk out of his life, rather than expose her to the dangers of his job. Now, he’s back with a new alias, posing as a foreman on a development project to bring to justice the man who caused his partner’s death. That man is the heroine Ginny’s uncle. And the project is a group home for her mentally challenged sister—a group home Ginny is very much involved with seeing built. Only Rick’s mission could destroy that dream and her family, and he can’t tell her what he really is, or why he’s there for fear of jeopardizing the case. But someone else wants to make her uncle pay, too. And Rick must face his worst nightmare—that someone he cares about will be killed because of his job.

I have had the pleasure of devouring this book, and it had me on the edge of my seat from page one. Great read, Sandra!

Now as a writer, I want to dig in to how you came by your research. Can you explain to us what WPA means, how this experience helped you revise Deep Cover, and shape the subsequent books in your series?

WPA stands for the Writer’s Police Academy. It offers hands-on, interactive and educational experiences to enhance the writer’s understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. Every imaginable kind of police and rescue vehicle and equipment are on display with knowledgeable officers answering questions. You can choose from a variety of workshops from fingerprinting and arson investigation to the gruesome details of autopsies or undercover operations. The event takes place at a police college, and one morning, they actually staged a school shooting, complete with lockdown, real police officers doing exactly what they’d do in the actual scenario and EMTs dealing with the casualties afterward. For my series, the most enlightening class was presented by a former undercover officer. Not only did he share many of his experiences, he gave us glimpses of what went on in his head and heart during that time, which is where the real meat of my heroes’ stories lie.

Can you share one eye-opening tidbit you learned from WPA that gave you a whole new perspective on what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer?

I participated in Fire Arms Simulation Training, FATS for short. We were given Glocks and faced with a floor to ceiling screen that showed videos of shoot and don’t shoot situations. When we took a shot, the hit would show on the screen. We were surprised more than once by the post-simulation explanation of why we should have or shouldn’t have taken a shot. The most adrenaline-pumping moment for me was when I had to face a hostage taker alone in an office (depicted on screen). A disgruntled employee had his boss in an arm lock and was waving a gun. I was telling him to put down the weapon, he really didn’t want to do this etc. to no avail, all the while training my own weapon at his head—the only part of his body visible past the hostage. The instant he lifted his gun to the guy’s head, I took the shot. His brains splattered on the screen behind. The officer in charge of the simulation turned to me and said, “Great shot.” I pretty much freaked out on him, saying I could have hit the hostage. I was shaking, heart pounding. It was unbelievable. It certainly gave me a whole new perspective on the split second decisions officers are called upon to make and the emotional havoc it can wreak afterward.

Wow! What an amazing experience. As a suspense writer, that sounds like an event I’d love to attend. Where can writers get more information on one of these experiences?

WPA is organized by author (and former policeofficer) Lee Lofland. The 2011 academy is September 23rd to 25th in Jamestown N.C. The FATS training portion is already sold-out, but there is still time to register for the conference. Members of Sisters in Crime are being offered an incredible discount. I am so disappointed I’ll miss it this year, because ACFW is the same weekend. This year some lucky participants will get to go on ride-a-longs with on duty NC police officers! You can learn more at: http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/  

Sandra, how can readers keep in touch with you on the web?

Visit my website ~ www.SandraOrchard.com

Visit my personal blog ~ http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com

Connect on Facebook Page ~ www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Subscribe to my newsletter ~ http://bit.ly/SandraNews

All right, Readers, I’m opening the floor up to you now. Do you have a similar law enforcement experience you would like to share? Do you have a question for Sandra about hers? Do you have a question about her new Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, DEEP COVER, and let me remind you, one lucky commenter will receive their very own copy of Sandra’s book delivered right to their door!

So comment away!

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41 thoughts on “Police Procedures and Author Sandra Orchard”

  1. Impressive Katy, for a great interview. Congratulations to you and to Sandra, the interviewee. Thanks Katy for giving me new insights in writing and a thanks to Sandra for sharing valuable information. Sandra, your book cover is gorgeous. It evokes an air of mystery.

  2. I really enjoyed this interview Katy and Sandra. It was wonderfully informative. I don’t have any or much law enforcement experience and I think that it’s great that this kind of education is available. Is there an educational experience/opportunity like this closer to New England specifically CT, RI, MA area? Do they give you insight into particular psyche profiles for criminals? I think that your book Sandra sounds like a fabulous and exciting read. I too love your cover. Thanks for this very informative interview.
    Deb

    1. Hi Debralee, a couple of years ago Lee held a similar event in Ohio I believe. He speaks at various conferences and lists them on his website. I suspect mystery writers’ conferences would have a lot more of these kind of topics, but I’m not sure if any are held in those states. We had an awesome class on profiling at WPA.

  3. What a fascinating experience that must have been, Sandra! I admire your guts — don’t know if I would have had the presence of mind to shoot in the hostage situation you described. Remember the original Night of the Living Dead movie? I’d probably be the blonde woman who goes catatonic and ends up, useless and a drain on the rest of the team, quivering over in the corner 🙂 That’s why I write on the cozy side of the genre — murders happen off stage, and final showdowns are not described in graphic detail. I will put DEEP COVER on my TBR list. Thanks so much for visiting the Scribes today!

    1. LOL, no graphic details in Love Inspired Suspense novels, either. But the huge help the experiences were to me was that by actually experiencing the scenarios and feeling the range of emotions, I can write them better. At least I hope I am 🙂

  4. Very cool. I’d love to attend WPA. That sounds so exciting.

    Sandra, did you get to put on an actual police belt with all the accoutraments? I hear they weigh a ton. What all do they keep on those things? Obviously a gun, but what else? And do they still use billy clubs? Or are they all equipped with tazers these days?

    1. I didn’t. But there was a class that showed all of that. Not every jurisdiction uses tasers. Lee Lofland has talked about the equipment a number of times on his blog (www.leelofland.com/wordpress) complete with pics. Check the side bar under police equipment/ tools If your story is in a real place it’s always a good idea to contact that local department to find out what they carry, the size of the department etc.

    2. I’m trying again to reply. My last one didn’t seem to post. There was a class that did that, but I didn’t take it. Not every jurisdiction carry tazers. They carry handcuffs, a flashlight I believe. Check out Lee Lofland’s blog under archives Police Equipment and Tools. He’s done a number of posts on this, complete with pics. If your story is based in a real town, you should talk to police there to find out what they carry, how big the force is, etc.

  5. Thank you Katy and Sandra for sharing this information. Sandra, I was totally absorbed by your story of having to shoot someone in the hostage situation. I have had the opportunity to go to a gun range and shoot but in that situation I think I would have been shaking so hard I probably would have hit the hostage! I love to do research and have done some minimal with 911 call centers for a scene in one of my books and I found it so interesting. I too would love to take one of those WPA/FATS encounters. Thank you for the eye opening interview. Loved It! I can hardly wait to get your book.

  6. WPA sounds so awesome! I’d love to go…maybe another year…or maybe somebody could create one around here…hmmm. I would imagine you got a ton of information to include in the book. Little details that make a book so great…I’ll definitely read Deep Cover!

  7. Thanks, Sandra, for mentioning the WPA. It is a fantastic opportunity for writers, but not one that’s easily moved around because we hold the event at an actual police, fire, and EMS academy (real fire trucks, fire station, ambulances, police cars, helicopters, motorcycles, dive team, SWAT teams, K-9’s, etc.) with workshops taught by some of the top police academy and forensics experts in the country. There’s absolutely nothing else like this, anywhere. Not even close.

    I do hope we’ll see some of you, soon. The WPA is Disneyland for writers!

    http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/

    Thanks again, Sandra. We’ll certainly miss you this year.

  8. Now that I’m caught up on comments 🙂 I want to let you know that on Wednesday, I’m posting a similar post on WPA at http://inkspirationalmessages.com I mention it because it will include some pics of the equipment and action and FATS screen.

    Katy asked me to share a bit about how cover art is decided on at Harlequin. Hqn obviously has years of experience as to what type of covers sell well in which lines, including colors etc. After I signed my contract, I was asked to propose 3 designs, one with people, 2 without. They didn’t have to be actual scenes in the book, but convey the mood of the book. I initially proposed the hero and heroine running from a burning building. But it turns out in the suspense line of LI, people covers don’t do well–complete opposite of the straight romance line. So I described the scene on the cover, right down to the dove, which is a symbol in the book, and hunted down some stock photos to give them the idea. I’m very pleased with the result

  9. Great interview! Thanks so much.

    My only experience was being fingerprinted. I’d volunteered for a service that required it, and the entire time I kept thinking I had to remember every detail in case I ever wrote about it!

  10. Very cool! I’ve always wanted to attend the Citizen’s Police academy here in town. They’re also offering emergency response training right now, but I just couldn’t fit in the class each week. It sounds like the perfect way to make book authentic!

  11. Yes, I’ve heard a lot of good things about those. We have something similar here locally, but the requirements were a bit tougher to qualify to participate. It was nice to be able to get a crash course in a weekend at WPA 😀

  12. Sandra, I think you are truly brave. I would be too much of a nervous Nellie to go to WPA biut I would want to! It’s a great idea. I’m so grateful for writers who take their research seriously because it certainly makes a difference in the quality of the tale.

    Please don’t enter me in the draw since I’ve already read, loved and lent Deep Cover.

    🙂

  13. Great post, Sandra. I was able to attend a Citizens’ Police Academy in my town and learned so much, including that I’m a chicken and prefer writing about suspense than participating in it! I am currently reading Deep Cover and really enjoying it.

  14. Wow, Sandra, I didn’t know about that experience with the hostage even though I knew you’d gone to the academy. I remember enjoying this book in the making and am so excited that it’s out for readers now!!

    Angie Breidenbach

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