With all that has been going on in our troubled world, I decided I needed to push through the politics and hear from a couple of people who’ve lived what everyone is talking about. I sent out two sets of author interview questions.
One went to my buddy Lamb Lambert, the first black police officer hired in the city of Santa Ana. (The second set went to another wonderful career law enforcement friend and author, Joe DeLauderante, who is white. That interview is coming soon.) I had the privilege of reading Lamb’s book before it was published. It wasn’t an easy read, but so worth the discomfort.
And, on a bright note, I didn’t realize Lamb also trained K9 dogs! I always knew he was a man after my own heart. As all of you who’ve read my stories know, I’m a big fan of the pooch and have many doggy characters.
Here’s the interview
- Lots of people ask authors where they get their ideas. Here’s my more “writerly” version of that question: What inspired you to devote the months or years needed to write your story?
The short answer, initially, was the need for acceptance, both from my brothers- in-blue and from members of the community I served. However, as life happened it was “aha years” before – with the prompting of my wife and historians who had taken an interest in me – I understood that I needed to be acknowledged for my humanity and to document police and ongoing race-related issues as I experienced them.
- What was the most difficult thing about the writing process?
To relate my story as I lived it, without embellishment or explanation. As I wrote about my early years growing up in the troubled South through playing basketball in the Army, and eventually being hired onto the police force, I began learning more about myself and what it meant to fit in a world made by others.
It’s hard to understand a crisis when you’re living through it. I thought I’d have a shot at understanding if I stepped back and looked at enduring the indignation of racism, intimidation, harassment, and the pain associated with being a black officer in an all-white police department through a historical lens.
- What message do you hope readers take away after they close the cover of your book?
The way history continues to play out between police (racism and brutality) and the African American and other minority communities, leaves me hopeful my book will lead people to question themselves or each other or to have a conversation about cultural differences that no longer serve us by allowing the past to inform the future.
- Some writers’ primary goal is to entertain, some to educate, some to motivate. Which best describes you?
Education is key, and although education is the road-map, it does not trump racism. There are enormous opportunities to compare similar previous challenges and to hold meaningful conversations as a means for change.
- Writers generally have a lot to say. How did you tease out the most pertinent storylines and discipline yourself to toss the rest?
With the help of my creative writing class, we edited out events that were similar or that did not add value to the overall theme of my book.
- What has changed in your life now that you are a published author?
Dr. Seuss said it best: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I’m an extraordinarily blessed man in countless ways.
- If you could go back in time and encourage your unpublished self, what would you say?
< laughing> Observe posted speed while listening to the whooshing sound of the deadline as it races by.
- What are you working on now?
A second memoir that briefly outlines what I did after leaving the police department, and ultimately focuses on my career working with and training dogs. I was acknowledged with another “first” when I trained the first U.S. cell-phone detection K9 teams for the Virginia Department of Corrections.
The greatest pleasure and success in my life has come from these amazing, wonderful four-legged canines, who love and accept their humans without reservation.
- Where can people find out more about you and your work?
Go to my website at https://lamblambertauthor.com/ . There are videos, articles, and photos available for review, as well as excerpts from my two published free verse poetry books (Affairs of the Heart, Vols. 1 and 2) and from my memoir.
Our second website (www.lambzauthorsandbeyond.com) is in work and will focus on my K9 training and other endeavors.
Badge of Color, Breaking the Silence – A Documented Memoir
From southern states cotton fields to California police officer. From Jim Crow south to John Birch, Orange County.
This is a history that must be read by all who have even the slightest interest in the truth of what it was like growing up Black in America. – Daniel Michael Lynem, Sr., Pastor and former Black Panther