Internationally acclaimed bestselling True Crime Author RJ Parker is most well known for his books, TOP CASES of The FBI (Winner of the World Book Awards 2012), Unsolved Serial Killings and Women Who Kill. He has seven true crime books available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats on Amazon, iTunes and Audible.
Canadian Author RJ Parker was born and raised in Newfoundland and now resides in Oshawa and Newfoundland, Canada. RJ started writing after becoming disabled with Anklyosing Spondylitis eight years ago, but only recently published. He spent 30 years in various facets of Government and has two professional designations. RJ is a proud dad of two girls, as well as twin sons. RJ also consults with Police Departments when requested.
In 2012, RJ donated fifteen hundred copies of his books to allied troops, wounded soldiers, police officers, and Author’s Page – http://bit.ly/RJparker-EBooks
Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRJParker
Email – email@example.com
Website – www.rjparker.net
Member of the Canadian Association of Authors
Member of the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland
Actually, Unsolved Serial Killings was my first book and then Women Who Kill. I’ve always wanted to write while being an avid reader for about thirty-five years, but I don’t have the imagination to create a fictional story. I’ve always enjoyed reading John Douglas books and thought maybe I can try to put together books that are not concentrated on one topic, or one murder, but a compilation of crime files.
What is the hardest part of writing true crime novels?
Gathering information. I’ve contacted the FBI and have been given quite a bit of information, as well from their archives. Some things get blacked out however. The FBI policy on extracting information is that you have to rephrase or edit every paragraph, or, every 40 words. If the perp is captured and sentenced, than court documentation is a great source and very explicit in detail. If someone is interested in writing, those are two avenues plus, contacting the local police station that investigated the crime and if the case is closed, they will give you a summary of the crime but not crime scene pictures unfortunately.
What is the most heinous crime you’ve written about?
Writing about school shootings. When I was writing No Killing in the Hallways, I was an emotional wreck. Being a parent of two teenage girls in school, and to research and write about what happened at V. Tech and Columbine, was emotionally draining.
Is there one crime that sticks in your head and heart and haunts you?
My most memorable time was writing about Jeffrey Dahmer. The following is an excerpt from Case Closed: Serial Killers Captured and it broke my heart to write it, it haunts me every day:
“In the wee hours of May 27th, 1991, Konerak Sinthasomphone, fourteen, was discovered wandering naked on the street, heavily drugged and bleeding from his rectum. Two young women from the neighbourhood found the confused young boy and called 911. Dahmer chased after the boy to take him back to his apartment, but the women stopped him. When the police arrived, Dahmer told them that Sinthasomphone was his nineteen-year-old boyfriend, and they’d had an argument while drinking. The two women were not pleased and protested, but the two police officers turned the boy over to Dahmer. The police later reported a strange smell inside Dahmer’s apartment, but did not investigate it. The smell was the body of Tony Hughes, Dahmer’s previous victim, decomposing in the bedroom. The two policemen did not try to verify the boy’s age and also failed to run the background check that would have revealed Dahmer as a convicted child molester, registered sex offender, and still on probation. Later that night, Dahmer killed and dismembered the young lad, keeping his skull as a souvenir. Author Note: Officers Joseph P. Gabrish and John A. Balcerzak were fired after this incident but appealed and were re-instated.”
What authors or books have greatly influenced your own writing?
First and foremost, John Douglas is my favourite. Since I was a young boy, I always wanted to be an FBI Agent from watching the show at the time, The FBI starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (who is 93 years young). I found out in my early teens that I couldn’t be with the FBI because I was Canadian…what a disappointment, I still remember it. Getting back to John Douglas, I really enjoyed his books: Mind Hunters, Inside the Mind of BTK, Obsession, and The Cases that Haunt Us. He has other books, but those were my favourite and inspiration to write. Other great authors are: Peter Vronsky, Gary King, Brian King, Ann Rule and Jack Olsen, just to name a few.
Have you considered writing books in any other genres?
Nah. I’m well known as a true crime writer it would be hard to change now. I did however write a children’s book for my grandson. It’s his book for life. Hopefully it will pay for his education in twenty years as he’s only three months old now.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers who are looking to publish their work?
I wrote my books over many years and had no intentions of self-publishing. I was holding out for a publisher and the book was going to be about 500 pages, called, Playpen to Prison. However, a friend and famous NY best selling author of over 80+ books convinced me to self publish in November 2011. I tell you, it’s been a learning curve because I no sooner had the books up on other markets, when I retracted them all after Amazon announced the Select Program. It’s been interesting and I have mixed views on this program. Self-publishing is definitely the way to go. Why spread the royalties around with agents and publishers? Like newspapers being replaced with the internet; paperbacks and hard copies are being replaced by digital format and it has only just begun. So I say, if you have a book to publish, get it edited and publish it yourself. You may want to think about hiring a narrator and publishing an audiobook. I have seven audiobooks through ACX and available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon.
What are your current writing projects?
I have a book called Killer Kids that I’m co-writing with another author. It should be published within a month. I’m also writing TOP CASES of The FBI (Volume 2). That book I’m hoping to have out by mid summer, again, in eBook, Paperback and Audio. I’ve received a proposal just today to co-write two books with a former FBI Special Agent. I think that will be a go. Just have to iron out some details. Then I’m hoping to produce a Serial Killer book on a more International scale.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
I read everyday. Generally I read 3-4 books per week and I’m a Top 500 Reviewer for Amazon. I just finished “Reflection” by Kim Cresswell today. Excellent story, can’t wait for it to be released and share with my fans and friends. I use to read a lot of the great authors like Lee Child, James Paterson etc., but now I only read Indie books. I try to support my fellow Indie authors by reading their books and reviewing for them. Another wonderful author who was an FBI Special Agent is Daniel Adams and I really enjoyed his book First Lady Down. His book President Down will be out later this month.
Last but not least! Thanks, RJ for stopping by Trapped Inside My Head and answering some questions.
Thank you Kim for inviting me to your blog. 🙂 RJ