Bernard Schaffer’s new book THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT is the debut of a tension-filled new police procedural series. This interview first appeared in the Mystery Ahead newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.
1 Carmen Amato: Bernard, thanks so much for stopping by and congratulations. Your debut mystery, THE THIEF OF ALL LIGHT, just came out. A rookie and a jaded detective feature in this start to a tantalizing new police procedural series. Tell us how you came to create this “odd couple.”Bernard Schaffer: I published multiple books in multiple genres as an indie author from 2011 to 2016, and wanted to take a crack at the mainstream. My writing had reached a level where I felt ready to try something new, so I took all of my experiences as both author and criminal investigator, and put them into a book.
2 CA: Your main character, Carrie Santero, has a fascination for serial killers? What research did you do to make this convincing?
Schaffer: I’m a career police detective for a department in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’ve been studying criminals, up close and personal, my entire adult life.
3 CA: Fill in the blank for us, please, and tell us why: If readers like books by ________, they will also like the Santero and Rein series.
Schaffer: If readers like books by Thomas Harris, Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline, and anyone else who writes gripping thrillers, they will also like the Santero and Rein series.
4 CA: You can invite any author, living or dead, to dinner at your home. What are you serving and what will the conversation be about?
Schaffer: My stock answer would be Hemingway, because I have an imaginary Hemingway who sits off to the side whenever I’m writing and gives me hell, kind of like a boxing coach. But at this point, I probably don’t need to sit down with the real one. I’d say either Alan Moore or Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Both fascinate me and I feel that I could learn from either of them.
5 CA: What is your best protip? Tell us about a writing habit, technique, or philosophy that keeps your writing sharp.
Schaffer: A few things. Real authors finish. They don’t work on ten pages of a manuscript for years on end, carting them all over to every writing conference they can find, in hopes of someone finally giving them permission to write the whole thing. If you want to do this, you have to finish your book. That means multiple drafts and rewrites, too. There’s no sitting around in the publishing world. I graduated from the indie game, where you live and die by your ability to produce quality at a rapid pace. That’s served me well at this new level. There’s no time to be lazy or unmotivated when people are relying on you to get your work done, and get it done right.
More about Bernard: Bernard Schaffer’s law enforcement philosophy book titled WAY OF THE WARRIOR is now taught in multiple police academies, Field Training Programs, and universities across the United States. His fiction collaboration with J.A. Konrath combined concepts and characters from Konrath’s Jack Daniels series with Schaffer’s novel SUPERBIA. Schaffer is the father of two children, still working as a police detective, and still writing. Read more at https://www.bernardschaffer.com/