When we last touched base with crime thriller author Neal Griffin just about a year ago, he still readily described himself as a police officer who wrote crime novels on the side. Well, a lot has changed since then. After more than 25 years on the job, Griffin retired from police work this year and has devoted himself full time to his keyboard. And with good reason – he recently signed a three-book deal with Forge books that will both continue the characters from his very successful “Newberg” mystery series as well as something brand new. I caught up with him at the recent San Diego State University Writers Conference to talk about his work and what appears to be a very bright literary future.
Open Mic: A lot has happened since we last spoke, mainly that you recently were signed to a nice three book deal. Congratulations! With that success has anything changed for you?
Griffin: After my second book, A Voice from the Field, came out Forge wanted me to continue that small town Midwestern noir and with the same characters, what they are calling the Newberg mystery novels. So there’s going to be a third book that will be driven by the characters of Ben Sawyer and Tia Suarez, but they also want a stand-alone that will be my first attempt to try and write a novel that’s more close to home in Southern California. That’s just in concept right now. And then my fifth book, which will be the third in that deal, will be another Newberg novel. So that’s where it’s going right now. So I guess to answer your question it’s kind of gone from hobby to job. But that’s fine because I retired last year as a police officer and I’m really enjoying the work.
Open Mic: That’s a fabulous accomplishment. Of course so aspiring writers are trying to get to the point where their work is respected enough that they can get a contract based on future production, so that’s got to be incredibly gratifying.
Griffin: It was a little daunting because you really it’s the second time, considering the first time no one was really looking at me in that way. But when there is a chance to do more you just say, ‘is there another story in me?’ You have to deal with that. When I wrote “The End” on that third novel I just thought ‘I can’t believe I’ve written a third novel and I like it.’ I like the way it turned out. It’s in the single point of view of Tia Suarez, who I really like as a character. It’s been really exciting.
To read the entire interview