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Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Minnette Meador

IN THE SHADOW OF HEROES
by Minnette Meador


“You want a ride or not? Just get into the car.” Thompson frowned up at him.

Keenan wasn’t sure why, but he tucked himself onto the passenger’s seat and closed the door. The police cruiser was deliciously warm. Keenan fought the urge to bask in it. Without thinking, he buckled his seat belt and couldn’t resist saying, “Let’s ride.”

Thompson grunted a non sequitur at him and pulled into traffic. The roar of the V8 from the Crown Vic sent waves of thrill through Keenan’s legs. He suppressed the excitement by clamping his arms over his chest.

Thompson pressed the button on the wire around his neck. “Dispatch, this is 7-2-2 on 7 for 30. 10-63. Over.”

“Roger, 7-2-2. Copy your 7 and 63.” The voice came over another radio under a laptop at the center of the dash.

He released the button and sent an angry look Keenan’s way. “Are you trying to get yourself arrested? What kind of stunt was that back there? I should take you someplace where they can lock you up for good.” - A GHOST OF A CHANCE (Resplendence Publishing - June 2011)

While writing A Ghost of a Chance (Resplendence Publishing – June 2011), one of my main characters was a Portland cop named Sgt. Thompson. He was definitely an alpha male, tall, strong, self-assured, and tough. He makes Keenan’s life miserable, but ends up… well, never mind; you’ll have to read the book. But I didn’t know any cops, so I decided to sign up for a ride along. Little did I know that it would completely change not only my concept of these amazing people, but sparked a new character that would shape my series forever…

When the Crown Vic’s V8 engine roared to life, the cruiser heaved forward, the red and blue lights parting the busy traffic like Moses splitting the sea. A primordial surge of adrenalin, sparked by 225 horses of power seeping through the floorboards, rushed through my body, triggered my heart, and finally settled into my face. An uncontrollable grin blossomed. I could no more avoid that smile than I could slow the pounding in my chest.

Next to me was a man wearing a dark blue uniform, a baseball cap, and a jacket that said simply “Police” on the back. Around his waist was a crowded duty belt that cradled the tools of his trade: a pad of paper, handcuffs, flashlight, spare ammo, a taser, a baton, and a gun that looked like it meant business. A report came in that a nineteen year old and his buddies were holding a house hostage with rifles. The cruiser was heading straight for it…

As we rushed to the scene, I got to thinking: This was an ordinary human being who did extraordinary things every…single…day. That was his job. His “office” was the streets of Southeast Portland, his co-workers were men and women just like him who stood between people and those that prey on them. Their “clients” were local citizens, the homeless, anyone who needed protection. Their “competitors” were pushers, thieves, killers, and rapists. In two hours on a Tuesday afternoon, I witnessed just how thin the line is between safety and danger…between security and chaos. I watched the unified teamwork of a handful of extraordinary people keep that membrane of protection intact. The thought was a sobering one.

I was thrilled to work with Officer Robert Pickett, a seven year vet of the precinct, who was thorough, extremely helpful, and even charming during our interview. He was very patient with me. Let’s face it; when a romance writer comes in with tons of interview questions, some of them a bit risqué, what would you do? Officer Pickett was a consummate professional from beginning to end. It was hard to embarrass him, but I imagine he’s seen it all.

After a morning of interviewing, we went to the cruiser for the ride along. We talked about procedures, what he wanted to show me, and some of the rules. He then turned serious.

“While we’re out there, it’s possible I may have to leave the car. There might even be trouble. If I leave the car, I want you to undo your seatbelt and open your door, maybe even put one foot out.”

“Uh-huh,” I said, thinking that an open car door would just make it easier for a bad guy to get me.

He said, “We tell recruits that the cruiser is a coffin; if you stay inside you’re dead. If anything happens, I want you to get out of the car and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.” Then he added, “It’s harder to shoot a moving target.”

Okay, that got my attention. Hmmm, maybe I should rethink this…I’m a brave person, right? I raised six kids, didn’t I? I nodded my acknowledgement and did exactly what he told me. After all, this fellow fought bad guys for a living, right?

It turned out the first call was a false alarm; the kids were in the house playing video games (or something) and there weren’t any guns. I breathed a sigh of relief when he got back into the car.

Officer Pickett drove down to close in southeast where he talked to a man who had a warrant out for his arrest. The man was very cooperative and did exactly what he was supposed to; he did not argue, did exactly what Officer Pickett told him to do, and let the other two cops who were there for backup help arrest him. Turned out the poor guy’s brother had used our suspect’s ID and the computer had a warrant out for him instead of his brother. Officer Pickett settled it with a thorough search on the computer, double-checking identifying marks and photos, and let the guy go. He validated the young man for his cooperation. Pickett handled it so well the guy even thanked him.

The day ended with a search for a flasher at a bus stop (we couldn’t find him - rats!) and the arrest of a woman driving a stolen car at a local gas station. The highlight was getting to examine a real police weapon, finding out what it was like to get handcuffed, and going over that wonderful Crown Vic cruiser with a fine toothed comb. Not bad for two hours.

I came away with a lot more than information for my book. I have to tell you that when I arrived, my view of the Portland Police was very different than the one I took away with me at the end of the day. During our brief ride along, I found that, to the officer, the police handled themselves with confidence and professionalism. What struck me most was the cohesion of the team dynamics demonstrated in every situation. Incidents were quickly diffused, expertly handled, and even taken care of with kindness and good humor, in many cases. This says a great deal about the obvious degree of skills these officers possess. Again, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

I would HIGHLY recommend taking a ride-along to anyone. It will open your eyes and your mind. Who knows? You might even learn something. I know I’ll sleep a little better at night knowing they are out there.

So what about you? Have you had a thrilling encounter with someone that totally changed your perceptions? The police, a fireman, a soldier? Share your experience and I will post the top three on my blog this week! I will choose a winner from the entries that I add to my blog.



In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out my new book A Ghost of a Chance. It’s full of ghosts, angels, demons, and one slightly used psychic who goes through a comedy of disasters to find his heart’s desire.

A GHOST OF A CHANCE - Excerpt
a paranormal romantic comedy
(Book I in the Ghost Series)
by Minnette Meador
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22, 2011
Resplendence Publishing

Keenan Swanson is your typical, everyday graphic designer. Well, except for the hundreds of pesky, prank-loving poltergeists that make his life interesting (in a Chinese curse sort of way). He finds his situation precarious yet manageable—until witty, smoking-hot coworker Isabella enters the scene and Keenan decides he wants her all for himself. With a horny succubus who has other ideas, a burly city cop determined to lock Keenan away, and an evil entity who’s hell-bent on using Keenan’s seed to create a living demon, the reluctant psychic realizes he just might not come out of this alive—or with heart intact.

“Hysterical and very original!”
2-Time Rita Winner Wendy Warren

5 comments:

Chele Blades said...

i have followed her blog tour...and i have read & heard sooo many great things about this book...can not wait to read...purchased over the weekend just have not had a chance to read it yet!!!

her inspirations for the character have me laughing before i read it...

Toni said...

What a great adventure! I think riding along would be alot of fun. Been fun catching your tour. I haven't been as stalkerish as some of the other ladies - oh you know who you are, but I've still enjoyed it.

tsteinerid(gmail)

Jean P said...

Must have been very exciting and eye opening to have a ride along in a police car.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Leanne109 said...

WOOHOO! You Rock!

Hugs, Leanne

leanne_gag[at]hotmail[dot]com

Stacie said...

I attended the ATF workshop at the RT convention last April. It was the most exciting workshop I went to all week. They had firearms, drug and attack dogs and several undercover agents. They were so confident and professional. What surprised me most was how entertaining they were. I even ended up with a trading card from the drug dog. She was such a sweetie.

user1123 AT comcast DOT net