Thursday, April 17, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Pete Klismet

Pete Klismet, Author/Expert


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

I had so many experiences in 30 years in law enforcement, and had read some books by former law enforcement officers that made me think “I can write as well as he can.” It was a long process, but I finally found the impetus - a case I’d done a profile on almost 30 years ago in which 6 innocent people were convicted, and wouldn’t have been if only they had paid attention to the profile I’d done. My first thought was “This story MUST be told,” and that led to my completion of “FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil.” It’s one of several cases in the book.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

I need two things: Privacy and mornings. The creative juices flow for me between about 8 am and 2 pm. My wife has learned to not engage me in conversation when she sees I’m writing.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

He’s not truly a ‘literary figure,’ but Joseph Wambaugh who was a prolific writer of true crime stories and produced such shows as “Police Story,” in the 70’s and 80’s would be my guy. I’m also partial to Ann Rule who does extensive research into her true crime stories.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

I’ve only attended two, the Public Safety Writer’s Ass’n, held in Las Vegas every year. Those have given me so many contacts and friends, plus being critical in getting FBI Diary published, so I think I’ll always be a member. I am really excited about this year’s PPW conference, both as a presenter and attendee. I’ve gotten to know some members and will be thrilled to meet others. I think authors have an immediate bond formed. Sorta' like cops!

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

We just did some internet research on this, including a ‘cartoon character personality test,’ and the only thing that fit me was Tweety Bird. I thought it would be some type of a big cuddly bear, but it turns out Tweety was a perfect fit. Surprise.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

What is success? For me, it was finally getting a book published. That was a life-long dream. But, it involved failure along the way, writer’s block and finally a lot of persistence. It’s going to take some time. I wrote my first book about 30 years ago, and it was an egg. I attended a couple of writer’s workshops and found out ‘how’ to write. I was good at writing narrative police reports, but that didn’t translate into books. I had to learn how to make that paradigm shift.


About the Expert/Author: Thirty years ago, a small cadre of FBI agents were hand-picked by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) to receive training in what was then a highly-controversial and ground breaking concept, “Psychological Profiling.”  Pete was fortunate enough to have been chosen to become one of the original FBI ‘profilers.’  Before his retirement from the FBI in 1999, Pete received additional training, was temporarily assigned to work with the BSU in Quantico, Virginia, and put that training and experience to work in assisting state, federal and local law enforcement agencies in investigating violent crimes.  Pete served two tours in Vietnam on submarines.  (Submarines in Vietnam?  It’s the title of a chapter in his newly-released, award-winning book “FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil.”)  After completing college in Denver, Pete served as a police officer in Ventura, California for nearly ten years.  During that time, he earned two Master’s degrees from universities in California, and part of a third. He was named the 1999 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and retired that year. For the next 13 years, he taught in colleges, and is now retired as a professor emeritus. He and his wife Nancy live in Colorado Springs.  He plans to release ‘a couple more books’ in 2014.