Thursday, February 22, 2018

Interview with Sanford Champlin

Sanford "Scotty" Champlin is a retired police officer that has turned writer. After working the streets for more than 32 years he has put some of his experiences on paper. Scotty, as everyone called him, worked for Mt. Vernon, Indiana Police Department for 22 years and was their Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor and general Instructor, he also led the county wide SWAT team for several years.
Scott is working on 2 more books, one being true story of a friend and the hard road he traveled, the other a Historical Fiction set in the early 1600 during the founding of America.

When did you decide to start writing stories?
I was a terrible English student, but I did like to read. When I became a cop, I was admonished for my poor report writing. At that point I could not tell you the difference between a verb and a noun, and everything was one long paragraph. I took it on myself to learn to write better, and especially report writing, which is different. My writing got better and I started writing down stories of cases I worked, just kind of a note book. The first "Professional" writing I did was a weekly article for the local paper called "From the Donut Shop", it was just what was happening with crime around town and safety tips. When I went to work at New Harmony I had a lot of quiet time and started putting stories together, and decided to link the stories with a larger story to make a mystery book. I worked on it on and off for several years, then when I retired I focused a lot more on it and completed "Maybe the Horse Did it!"

Why humor versus the other genres?
I have always like comedies, jokes, funny stories. I could usually see some humor most anywhere, even where not expected, like a crime scene. Most emergency responders are like that we will laugh at things that others see as inappropriate to find humorous, it helps break the tension and keeps us sane, although it has got me in trouble with the brass a couple times. People do funny or silly things all the time, I love to go to the mall or anywhere a big crowd is and just watch people, it's comical.

Who is your favorite character in Maybe the Horse Did It and why?
Probably it would have to be Clifford Duggs, he doesn't take up a lot of print but he is the character who really helped solved the murder, and also did some silly stuff through the book. My next book "My Friend Donny" is a true story about the person Clifford character is based on.

What are your plans for the next writing project?

I am working on my biggest project to date. It is a historical fiction novel set in the 1620's. The story follows a boy and his father who leave Belgium, go to England en-route to America, but get separated during the trip. The book follows the boys adventures and his fathers search. I am doing a lot of research so the writing has been slow, but I enjoy research. I am thinking that this book will be 600 + pages when done.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what is the answer to that question?
Maybe you could have asked who I like to read, and why?
My favorite authors are, Mark Twain, John Jakes, and John Irving. I like Twain for several reasons, we were both born on November 30th, I grew up and played on the river like him (Me on the Ohio and him on the Mississippi) his stories depicted how life was back then, (I know some people don't like his books because of this, but it is our history.) and he used a lot of humor. John Jakes was a master historian, who knew how to but it in to a fictitious story that got peoples attention to read, I have read the Bi-centennial series at least 4 times (8 books), and the North & South series probably more. I have everything he has written in hardback as I do Twain. John Irving, makes me laugh, I love his quirking characters and the crazy situations he puts them in.
I hope I can give my books the realistic feel as Twain, historically factual as Jakes, and the character development as Irving.

Dogs or Cats?
Dogs for sure, I don't dislike cats, had several of them when the kids were young, but prefer dogs. I especially like Collies, or working dogs. My dog now is Murphy He is a collie/border collie mix. I found Murphy one night after the town of Hew Harmony, where I was working as the Town Marshal, had it 4th of July celebration. Murphy was eating scraps at the park and I though he was a coyote until I hit him with the spotlight, he was beautiful. He ran off that night and I and several people in town tried to catch him of the next 9 months. He was sly, and would not let anyone near, he even cleared 6 foot high fences several times to get away. He did start getting more friendly with people with other dogs, and a friend of mine lured him into his garage with his two shelties. I was recovering from open heart surgery and my son took me to get him. Murphy rode on my lap on the way back home as my son Sam drove asking, "Dad, how are you going to keep this dog home, he runs from everyone?" I wasn't sure, we had a fence, but I knew he could clear it, I hate to see a dog chained, so I though I could just walk him when he needed to go out.
When we got home, Sam carried Murphy inside and I sat on the couch, Murphy looked around a bit and jumped up onto the couch next to me and sighed like he felt at home, that night he followed me all around the house, and went out into the back yard while always keeping me in sight. I knew from then he and I were connected, he is always close to me, pines of I have to be gone overnight and is very protective of me. His story is one of the first short storied and is in my blog (Scott's Thoughts) Linked below.

Where can your readers find you on social media?
You can find me on Facebook,  Twitter @SanfordChamplin and my blog  Scott's Thoughts.

Sam has patrolled the streets in McCracken's Bluff for years and thought he could handle anything. Then his friend the District Attorney is murdered and turns Sams peaceful life, upside down. The investigation takes several twists and turns as Sam deals with the quirky people of this small town to try find the killer. Was it a local, or someone from out of town, or Maybe, the horse did it.
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Imagine a room with ten people sitting at a table. One sentence is scrawled across a whiteboard hanging on the wall. A large clock is counting down. The people at the table are focused on the paper or whatever writing implement they have chosen. The minutes go by. The scribbling pen picks up speed. Fingers tapping on keyboards are consistent. The ending alarm chimes. Ten fresh storylines are born.
This is the Ten-Minute Writing Prompt. One simple statement or a piece of dialog igniting the creative flame for fiction writers. Take ten minutes of your day to stir the embers and keep the muse strong and alive.
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