SR: What’s your new book about?
DK: A seemingly random act of violence mobilizes the entire Penns River Police Department at a difficult time. New officers were added to satisfy a consent decree and no one is quite sure how good they are; the deputy chief continues to finagle for the top job; the drug trade is picking up; the local mob boss is thinking of switching sides; and a random bridge jumper. All these things keep diverting the detectives from the case at hand.
SR: Was there a specific issue or incident that really motivated you to write this particular story? What was the prompt?
DK: The inciting incident comes from an actual murder in Colorado Springs about 30 years ago I saw described on the Investigation Discovery series Homicide Hunter. The “star” of the show, retired police Lieutenant Joe Kenda is, as fate would have is, a Western Pennsylvania native born and raised about 20 miles from the fictional town of Penns River.
SR: What’s the best thing about writing?
DK: Refining the first draft into something people will want to read.
SR: What’s the worst thing about writing?
DK: Writing the first draft.
SR: Do you relate more to Sherlock Holmes or Professor Moriarty? Why?
DK: Holmes, definitely. I like to figure things out.
SR: What’s your personal life motto?
DK: So far, so good.
SR: Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Katniss Everdeen or Arya Stark? If you could be any fictional character for a day who would it be and why?
DK: Raylan Givens from Justified. He’s just so cool, and manages to be badass without actually doing anything sometimes. Like the time he talked the guy out of trying to quick draw on him. Or when the killer thought he had Raylan and Winona trapped in the motel room. Raylan was always a step ahead in those situations and he knew it. The confidence was badass in itself.
SR: You strike it rich. What charity are you going to create or support?
DK: The first one that comes to mind is No Kids Hungry. They get some money every year now, but they’d make out well if I ever struck it rich. I’m not religious but it’s a sin that children go hungry in a country where people will pay tens of thousands of dollars for an Andy Pafko baseball card. (No offense to Andy Pafko.)
SR: Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person or on a podcast?
DK: I have a few podcasts coming up but the dates aren’t locked down yet. Check the Events page of my web site atwww.danakingauthor.com for regular updates. I plan to be at the Gaithersburg (MD) Book Festival May 18 and the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity conference September 13 – 15. And Bouchercon, of course, in Dallas at the end of October.
Check out our 2018 interview with Dana King about Bad Samaritan.
Dana King has two Shamus Award nominations for his Nick Forte novels, for A Small Sacrifice and The Man in the Window. He also writes the Penns River novels, of which the fourth novel in the series, Ten-Seven, releases from Down & Out Books on January 21. His work has also appeared in the anthologies The Black Car Business, Unloaded 2, The Shamus Sampler 2, and Blood, Guts, and Whiskey.