In the Beginning…
A simple newspaper article of fewer than one-hundred words started my heart racing, fired my imagination, and steeled my determination that Detective John St. John’s story of capturing serial killers was the book I wanted to write. But why him and why me? What was there in that story about a homicide detective who’d just received a medal that I wouldn’t let go?
None of this scenario made sense. I had no previous experience in law enforcement and was never interested in writing crime stories. I had no publication history, no contacts or friends in police departments, not one contact with law enforcement other than the time my car was stolen. I was never interested in the FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department, or Sheriff’s Department career. I never dreamed of law school so I could become a prosecuting attorney.
For Pete’s sake, I wanted to write a sportsbook for kids. Instead, I read an article about a detective who’d solved a major serial murder case, and in the craziest and most spontaneous moment of my life, I picked up the phone and called him.
It was the moment that changed my life and his.
How did that moment happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t I put the article down and head to the tennis court where my doubles partner waited? And why, after his partner told me he was on vacation, didn’t I breathe a huge sigh of relief and put that insane notion out of my head? Why did the persona of Detective John “Jigsaw” St. John get so stuck in my brain that I didn’t think about anything else but calling him the next day?
I called him the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that – seven calls in total. He finally gave in saying he’d meet me if I promised never to call him again.
Going back to why that phone call changed my life. I knew a truth resided in a deep and honest part of me, that if I didn’t meet John St. John the life I desperately wanted, the writer I wanted to become and the journey I needed to be on wouldn’t happen unless I met him.
And I was right.
I rode shotgun with Badge Number One for thirteen years. He changed me, and I changed him. That’s what we both wanted.
Preview the first two chapters of the manuscript
The detective who worked with John on the Bradford case – a hard-working, diligent, bachelor –finally found the girl of his dreams, decided to get married and needed a best man. Who else but John St. John? John didn’t do tuxes or shined shoes, bow ties, or cuff links....
The first stop after landing was the document drill followed by watching a parade of suitcases on a carousal go around and around. The lucky passengers grabbed their bags and departed. The unlucky passengers held their breath wondering what it would be like to begin their vacation wearing the clothes they traveled in.
Finally, the day arrived. We hugged our dogs, took one last look at the spacious house and newly landscaped backyard with an aviary, pizza oven and cabana we’d be leaving for a 500 square foot apartment with a dish rack, living room sofa and teensy loft bedroom.
March 1983, I was preparing a quiche for the informant, Scott Fraser, who gave Detective John St. John the piece of critical information he needed to arrest The Freeway killer, Bill Bonin. As I poured the cheese mixture into the dish, smoothing the dough at the edges then crimping those edges, I wondered what it would be like to walk into the same room where Fraser smoked one Camel cigarette after the other and Bonin drank his non-alcoholic beverage of choice: Raspberry Kool-Aid with one ice cube.
Get in Touch with Jane
Sign up to learn where Jane will be speaking, signing books, new blogs, and her upcoming newsletter. Most important, when her book is published.