Why I write Thrillers
For most of my 42 years as a paramedic and police officer, each day had the potential to ramp up my fight-or-flight response. I leaned toward the fight response. But not every day raised my adrenaline to toxic levels. There was a night shift in February, the temperature was minus thirty Celsius, and the only other vehicles on the streets were other police cruisers, tow trucks, and cabs. None of us had anything to do. We frequently checked in with dispatch, to make sure our radio was still working, but mostly to hear another voice.
There were many times where I felt my arteries pulsing in my temples. A foot pursuit, a car chase, walking into a bar fight, or checking an abandoned building at two A.M. There were the frequent times I got myself in nasty situations and needed backup from my team. There was the emotional response to traffic fatalities, suicides, abuse, and murder. Some will stick with me forever.
Now that I am writing crime thrillers full time, my goal is to write realistic police and paramedic scenes that evoke a response in the reader. I want to put the reader in the cruiser with the banter between partners, then the sudden shift to a crisis. They are in the foot pursuit with the officer. Their hearts beat faster, and their breath comes in gasps. That, maybe, there is a tear as they read about a serious injury or death.
In my third novel, Wolfman is Back, I was struggling with the last scenes. They wouldn’t come to me. We were on a flight back from Las Vegas when it hit me. I knew the ending. I grabbed a pen and my notebook and started writing. I wrote from takeoff to landing three hours later. But there was a point I was so emotionally involved in the story, that the tears flowed. I sniffled and watched the tears drop on my notebook. I continued writing. At home, I typed those scenes into the manuscript. I cried again. Readers contacted me to tell me they had cried during those scenes. They had felt the emotion I felt, and I conveyed that onto the pages of the novel.
I love creating characters readers cheer for, and ones, well, that they don’t cheer for! Some of my characters are composites of partners—quirks and all.
I have received emails from readers complaining that they stayed up half the night because they couldn’t put the novel down. I love those comments—and I can totally relate!
I love reading thrillers. When a thriller has me up at midnight, and I say one more chapter, then damnit, I need to read the next chapter—those are the stories I want to write.
My goal is to write the novels I love to read.
I guess I’m continuing my career, and the emotional rollercoaster I rode for so many years, by putting my experiences and emotions on the page. And I love every minute!
Crisis Point book one in the Brad Coulter Novels
When his partner is killed during an armed robbery, Brad Coulter is left grappling with the loss along with a sudden burst of criminal activity in his quiet city. His new partner is a bitter veteran who challenges Coulter as he lands a spot on the newly developed Tactical Support Unit.
Between a violent shootout with a lone gunman high on glue, and a confrontation with a deadbeat father and abusive husband, Coulter and the TSU become experienced in managing extreme cases. But nothing can prepare them for the real crisis point that will forever change the face of a city and the cops that patrol its streets.
Crisis Point is a bestselling action-packed thriller set in Calgary, Alberta, that will have you racing to the showdown.
Dwayne Clayden combines his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic to write realistic crime thrillers.
Crisis Point, Dwayne’s first novel, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards.
OutlawMC and Wolfman is Back are the second and third novels in the Brad Coulter Thriller Series.
The Brad Coulter Series will continue in 2020 with 13 Days of Terror.
In August 2020 Dwayne will release the first novel in a new crimer thriller series, Speargrass-Opioid.
In his 42 year career, Dwayne served as a police officer, paramedic, tactical paramedic, firefighter, emergency medical services (EMS) chief, educator, and academic chair.
Dwayne is a popular speaker at conferences and to writing groups presenting on realistic police, medical, and paramedic procedures.
The co-author of four paramedic textbooks, he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences for the past three decades.