‘If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him…The luck of the world. Go with it, send it. (Charles Bukowski)
I haven’t had much time lately for blogging. The reason? The third book in the Detective Jill Brennan series, ‘Asylum.’ My physical time and energy has been taken up by days too many to count of re-writes and discussions with my editor, Phillipa Martin. Now as I wait for Phillipa to come back to me with her final comments and changes, I find myself thinking about Detective Constable Jill Brennan. I like Jill. Her character is based on a real cop I met during an investigation into a fraud case which involved a cleaning business and a commercial building I owned. When I met her she was studying to become a detective and I was writing ‘Killing Sunday’ (the second book in the series). We formed a friendship of sorts and she was gracious enough to answer my many questions.
After sitting at my desk for hours on end, by the end of the day I often take myself off on a long walk in the afternoons. It was during one of these walks I caught up with Jill Brennan and had this conversation in my head with her, something I often do. It went something like this:-
Gina: Hi, Jill.
Jill: Hey, Gina. Good to talk to you again. I suppose you have lots of questions for me. You really like to get your stories as accurate as possible don’t you? (Jill pulls back on her pony tail.)
Gina: (Gina laughs). Yes, I can be a bit of a pain at times in that sense. I don’t always get it right but I think most readers are forgiving, at least I hope they are. I thought this interview would be a good way for my readers to get to know you. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
Jill: Go ahead, Gina. I’m used to your questions after three books. (Jill laughs)
Gina: Tell me what motivates you?
Jill: That’s easy. My dad, Mickey was a cop. He brought me up after my mother died in a car accident. I was two when she died so it was always Mickey and me. We were inseparable because he was the only family I had. We did everything together, including surfing at Bondi Beach at weekends.
Gina: It must have been hard for you then when Mickey died.
Jill: (Jill clears her throat) Yeah, I’ve never really got over it. I still think about him every day and I often think about what he would think of my joining the force. From the time I was a kid I wanted to be a cop, but Dad was dead-set against it so I went off to university and studied law and art history, instead.’
Gina: A strange combination, law and art history?
Jill: I suppose some people would think that but my mother was an artist so I guess I got my creative side from her.
Gina: Do you mind sharing with my readers how Mickey died?
Jill: No, that’s okay. He was shot in a drug raid in Lakemba. Six months later I threw in my job at a high-end legal firm in the city and joined the force.
Gina: It must have been a difficult time in your life when Mickey died.
Jill: Yes it was. I’m lucky to have good friends, like Bea and Harry not to mention my boss, Nick Rimis. They helped me through the dark times. Rimis is a good bloke, but don’t tell him I said that!
Gina: Your secret is safe with me. Can I ask, what was the one thing Mickey taught you? Every parent passes on something of themselves to their children. For me it was reading. Both my parents instilled in me a love and respect for books.
Jill: Dad was a dedicated cop, Gina. Everyone respected him. He was fair and played by the rules and instilled in me a strong sense of justice and a belief that you should never give up. If you start something, finish it. You know stick to your guns, sort of attitude. Haha, excuse the pun!
Gina: (I laugh). You’re excused. Now enough of all that heavy stuff. Let’s lighten this conversation up. Tell me what movie you’ve seen the most in your life.
Jill: That’s easy. ‘Love Actually’ followed closely by ‘The Sound of Music.’ Hey, don’t laugh. I love those movies. I’m a romantic at heart. I’m still hoping one day to find Mr Right.
Gina: So who do you picture as your ideal man?
Jill: Well, I don’t think he’d be a cop. All the shift work and the shit we have to deal with on a daily basis makes it difficult. I’ve dated cops in the past and it never worked out. As a case in point look what happened to Robbie Calloway in your current book, ‘Asylum.’
Gina: Yeah, I can see what you mean. Can I ask you what your plans are going forward?
Jill: Sure, this case you’ve written about in ‘Asylum’ hit me hard. So I’m taking Nick Rimis’s advice and taking extended leave. I’m off to Spain next month. I’m going to track down my mother’s family. I need to go back to my roots and get a sense of belonging. I want to know more about my mother and what she was really like.
Gina: I wish you all the best, Jill. Good luck and bon voyage!
Jill: Ciao, Gina. I’ll send you a postcard.