10Qs for David Swinson

David Swinson

David Swinson

David Swinson kicks off a new interview series geared towards authors and explores their work and vision.

David’s career has taken him from promoting punk rock to stakeouts in law enforcement. Now he writes. His first book was “A Detailed Man” and coming soon is part II in the Ezra Simeon series “A Confidential Life.” So before David gets too busy promoting book II, I managed to get these questions answered.


1: Are your books a continuous story such as Harry Potter or, are they stand alone books but featuring the same characters? Do any story elements continue in another book?

The detective Simeon books which starting with A Detailed Man will be a series. Right now I plan to write three, but we’ll see. The second book is The Confidential Life (soon to be released) and I’m currently writing the third, An Internal Affair. My idea was to not only create a series, but write each book so it can be read as a stand alone.

There are certain characters and investigations that do continue into the next book in the series – much like life. I really like what Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö did with their ten book series involving Swedish detective, Martin Beck. They went through ten years in the life of Martin Beck and not only managed to capture the stages of his life, but what was going on socially and politically in Sweden at the time. They really are the mother/father team of the police procedural. Like them, I want the reader to move through short periods of time during the course of an investigation, and hopefully make the city of Washington, DC just as much of a character as Simeon.

2: Lately a lot of prequels have popped up on both the book and movie market. Have you ever considered writing one?

Yes, I really do like detective Simeon. I’d like to explore his early career and life back when he was not so jaded and dark. When he first made detective he was assigned to the fifth district in Washington, DC as a robbery detective. I have a few good stories I’d like to share.

3: Have you ever considered writing a teen book?

I’ve always wanted to write a semi-autobiography about my childhood growing up in Beirut, Lebanon. My father was with the State Department and worked at the American Embassy there. When the civil war broke out he was assigned to evacuate all the American families. I’d like to focus on a time about six months before our evacuation, when we lived with curfews and the escalating conflict and when my friend from the American Community School and I got caught up in a little mystery.

4: When you start your research for a book, do you use pen & paper to jot down thoughts or do you use a computer?

Everything I write is based on my life experiences. I don’t have to research anything related to law enforcement or criminal life. If there is something I don’t know, related to the law I simply call one of my friends.

I do always have a notebook and pen handy or my iPhone to jot down ideas, though.

5: Do you have any specific writing rituals?

A fan for white noise, fine red wine or a couple of glasses of my favorite single malt.

6: Movies based on a book can be great to visualize the story but they can also be a disappointment. What movie based on a book disappointed you?

I’ve been disappointed by several movies based on books. The movie that comes to mind first is The Lovely Bones.

7: Have you ever used characteristics from someone you know in one of your books?

When I do it’s a joke and I let them know.

8: What inspires you most to write? Breaking news? Nature? People? History?

Our fallen nature inspires me most. As a former cop in Washington, DC I’ve seen it all – the best and worst of our species. I am also inspired by my surroundings, what I hear and see in nature and the city. I’d like to think that DC and the elements are just as much a character as Simeon.

9: What was your favourite subject in school?

In high school I loved History and then smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. In college my favorite subject was definitely literature and then Tequila and cigarillos.

10: A billionaire gives you a million dollars on the condition that you may spend it but not gain any assets (like in the Richard Pryor movie “Brewster’s Millions.” How will you spend your million?

I’d like to say I’d do something unselfish, but unfortunately it’s not. I’d fly in Nick Cave and the Badseeds for a week to rehearse and learn all the Johnny Cash songs with me and then I’d rent DAR Constitution Hall for “An Evening of Cash” and sing with Nick Cave to all my family and friends (many of which I’d also have to fly in and put up in hotels).