Sunday, April 8, 2012

Street Creds by Zach Fortier: Guest Post

StreetCreds is a look inside the world of street gangs and the cops that work them. I had worked the street for many years before I entered the Gang Task Force. I entered it with an idea that I could rise to the level of violence of any banger I encountered, a really stupid idea.

Background and design elements from Cops and Robbers Kit by Trixie Scraps & Melissa Bennett

I wanted to “earn back” the respect of the citizens for the police. I grew up in this city and I worked its streets the best way I knew how. I felt I had first hand understanding of what the citizens were experiencing. The increasing frustration at gang crimes, drive bys, robberies and never feeling safe with your kids in your own neighborhood. I wanted to do what I could to make that fear go away.
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First of all thanks for asking me to do the interview for your blog.  I appreciate you taking the time to allow me to ramble on and on about the books I read over the questions you sent and also thought of some ideas of my own so this may ramble a bit, You have been warned!



I guess the first question everyone asks is Why? Why would you write?  I suppose the answer is different for everyone.  I have no real answer.  Every cop I have ever known has said at one time or another “I should write about this”.  Write about all that has happened, all I have seen working with the people of whatever city, county or State they live in.  The reality is people are that amazing.  The things they get into, the things they do to one another both good and bad, blow your mind.  Night after night, call after call you are amazed by what you see, hear, and feel.  I have wanted to write about that experience for some time.  I never had the courage to try.  Then one day a friend suggested I should sit down and write out all that had happened.  To be honest I was willing but not able.  Suffering from PTSD is no joke.  Memories are like shadows for me.  I try to see what is there. It is like peering into the dark corners of an old musty attic for hidden memories and they are gone as soon as the light starts to flesh them out.  Memories of horrible calls I went on would come back in the middle of the night, and I would wake up sweating, breathing… thinking shit!  That was intense. But if I did not get up right then and write them down they would be gone in the morning like the shadows I mentioned.  SO I started writing an outline when I remembered a call I thought was note worthy I would write it down. (writing it down in my case means getting up and typing it on my MAC).  This started about a year and a half ago. The process was very hard at first.  Like trying to start an old car. I would get one memory and then another, then maybe three or four days would go by with nothing. Then came a day came when I could not write fast enough, the calls and memories came flowing out.  The analogy of a Dam break is not far from the reality I felt.  From barely a trickle, to a wall of memories knocking me down and demanding to be cataloged with the rest.  That process has continued for the past year and a half.  It continues today.  Three books later, I am still getting memories of things that happened and writing them down.



I was recently asked why do you write these books?  If you make no money, and get no fame why write?

          Fame or money were never the issue. I write under a pen name, and I went self published and self promoted because I knew that no one who sits behind a desk 9-5; No one who attended some IVY league college, and no one who promoted books could ever grasp the streets the way I had.  They could not understand what I had personally witnessed, smelled, or felt. I did not want the experience cheapened, or lessoned for the reader.  If you read my books you’re there with me on the call.  You’re in the car while we travel 125mph chasing a coked out car thief.  You will sit in the room looking at splatters of an infant’s blood on the walls and ceiling wanting to kill the man who beat this child to death.  Flowery prose and verbiage cannot do those scenes justice.  If you have never witnessed that horror, no amount of imagination and training as a writer will enable you to recreate it.  It is plain, brutal, and real.  The blood doesn’t sparkle, shine, or glimmer.  It bleeds.  It bleeds from another human being and will never be reclaimed.  It is life flowing from another person and we all know what that means and how it feels to witness that.



  So I write to bring this life I knew to the reader.  To show others what it means to be a cop from day one.  As a bright and shiny New Guy… to the damaged and dangerous veteran I became.  Seeing threats and danger in everyone around me.  To show how living and working and serving mankind broke me in short order.  That is why I wrote these books.



Another reason I write the books is that I have never watched or read a cop story that was anywhere close to what I have seen.  There is no thread, no story.  It is chaos, constant chaos from the minute you start the car to the minute you sign off on the radio.  There is no common thread except that you can predict nothing.  Not one single day was like another, not one call was like another.  You had to learn to adapt and go with the flow or be destroyed.  Sink or swim.  There is no closure to the call.  There is no moral to the story.  It is survive the night, go home to your kids, and come back the next night to do it all again.  That is the reality of police work.  Chaos.



A complaint I have heard is the language is too strong in the books.  Really?  People in life and death struggles tend to express themselves in terms not used when discussing sales with the clerk at Walmart.  I actually toned the language down severely from the way we talk on the street.  This is not a movie trying to get rated PG so more people will attend.  This is the way it was, a literal battle for survival.  Language used in those conditions is not the same as day to day.  Language is an expression of the circumstances.  The circumstances were deadly.  The language is appropriate for the situations in the books.



I could go on and on.  I wont.  I hope that your readers will take a look at the books and if they like them or they hate them contact me at my e mail address Curbchek@ymail.com   I would like to hear their inputs. Thanks again.  Z



Zach Fortier was a police officer for over 28 years, specializing in K-9, SWAT, gang, domestic violence and sex crimes as an investgator. In Curbchek, he returns to his hometown as a cop, sure his tactical military training can make a difference. The city has other plans for his idealism. The novel Curbchek follows his journey into the realities of the street and the officers who work them, the hunters and the hunted jostling for position in the warped core of America's urban melting pot boiling over. Curbchek has been in the top 12 on Amazon's category 'Hot New Releases in Hard-Boiled Mysteries'. To find out more about Zach and get in touch with him see.



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