Today I’m delighted to welcome Robert Dugoni to the blog as part of the blog tour for his latest Tracy Crosswhite thriller A Steep Price. My thanks to Sophie Ransom at Midas PR for inviting me to join the tour. Robert will be telling us all about how it feels to write from a woman’s perspective in just a moment, but first, let’s take a look at what the book is all about.
About the Book
New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s thrilling series continues as Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is plunged into a case of family secrets and murder…
Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.
Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.
Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.
Writing a female homicide detective
Writing from the perspective of a woman is actually a question I get asked about a lot. The general consensus is women are surprised I do it so well. My response is actually very simple. I don’t try to write from the perspective of a woman. I try to write from the perspective of a police officer doing her best to do her job.
It’s actually a question I gave a lot of thought at the outset of the Tracy Crosswhite series. I decided that while my protagonist would be a woman, I wouldn’t try to write “like a woman.” I knew that would never work. I’m not a woman, and I recognize men and women are not the same. I also knew it was unnecessary to “write like a woman.” I was raised with four sisters, all professionals. A doctor, a pharmacist, a Certified Public Accountant and A dental hygienist. I married an attorney who is more competent than I am at just about everything, including things like driving heavy equipment. I can tell you that none of my sisters or my wife want to be treated “like a woman” when at work. They want to be treated like a professional colleague. They want to be treated like the competent, professionals they trained to become.
At the same time, when they leave work, they are very feminine. They don’t mind it when their spouses open a car door for them, or walk on the outside of the sidewalk, or lift a suitcase for them. They don’t mind it when their spouses pay them a complement or tell them how beautiful they look. They don’t mind because the acts are being done out of love and respect.
I decided, as I wrote the Tracy Crosswhite novels, that Tracy would want to be treated the same way. I spent quite a bit of time with a female homicide detective as I prepared to write these novels. I spent time with her working the graveyard shift, asking her questions and asking for her perspective. The first night I was at police headquarters, one of her partners on her team came into her cubicle and asked her about me, why I was there, what I was doing. When he learned that I was writing a novel on a female homicide detective he started to laugh and he asked me if I heard what a female detective was called.
“I don’t know,” I said.
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh or cringe. But the detective I was shadowing just laughed and said very funny. After her colleague left, I asked her if she got that a lot. She shrugged it off and said it happened, but she didn’t make a big deal about it because what she wanted was to be treated like a member of the team. She said that if the men on her team began policing everything they said, it would make them uncomfortable to be around her, that they would not treat her as a colleague. I was surprised when she said that female officers didn’t like it when a colleague filed a sexual harassment suit because the suits weren’t always warranted and because it put all women under a microscope.
With the ME2 movement, I’ve come to better appreciate the challenges that women go through in their jobs. My sisters tell stories of inappropriate behavior by their male colleagues. It’s certainly a very real problem.
So, Tracy Crosswhite doesn’t take crap from anyone. Her Captain, Johnny Nolasco, is a sexist who Tracy has confronted and knocked down a few times. There’s a line she does not let him or others cross. Through it all, she continues to do her job and do it well, better than most, male or female. She demands respect through her ability to do her job.
Thanks Robert. Fascinating post and quite an interesting question really and I’ve often wondered if it is easier for a woman to write a male character or vice versa – but you have hit the nail on the head. Just write as the essence of the person and the rest will come.
If you’d like to learn more about the character of Tracy Crosswhite, or even if you’re just looking to catch up on the latest instalment of the series, you can find it at the following links:
About the Author
Robert Dugoni is the No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, including My Sister’s Grave, Her Final Breath, In the Clearing, The Trapped Girl, and Close to Home. His books with Thomas & Mercer have reached more than 3 million readers and have twice been nominated for the International Thriller Award. He is also the author of the Edgar Award–nominated The 7th Canon; the New York Times bestselling David Sloane series, which includes The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction; the stand-alone novel Damage Control; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year selection. Dugoni is a two-time nominee for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction and the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction. Visit his website at www.robertdugoni.com and follow him on Twitter @robertdugoni and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorRobertDugoni.
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