Keith Bettinger, End Of Watch
Marilyn: Hi, Keith, we had such a great time at the PSWA conference. You always do such a super job taking care of all the hotel arrangements and any problems that might pop up. What I want to know now, what do you do when you aren’t working on the conference?
Keith: I try and keep busy. I spend quite a bit of time on my next book which I am writing with a murder victim’s son. I work around the house trying to keep the Nevada dust out of it. I also take care of my three dogs as well as my son’s. I like to participate in adult education courses at the College of Southern Nevada.
Marilyn: Tell us a bit about your background. When did you first decide you wanted to be a police officer?
Keith: I was in high school in the late 1960s. Viet Nam was going on at the time and I was deciding what I was going to do upon graduation – go to college or enlist. I decided I would try college for 1 semester. While there I found out how much I finally enjoyed education. While in college I took police exams and I was hired by the Garden City NY Police Department as a police cadet. When I turned 21 I became a police officer. From there I tested for the Suffolk County NY Police Department and did the rest of my career there.
Marilyn: Because I know your wonderful wife, Lynn, how about telling me how the two of you met.
Keith: We met on a blind date. A friend to each of us told me he had a nice girl for me to go out with. I took her number and waited 5 months to call her. I then checked with him to see if she was still available to go out. He said yes, call her. I did, she sounded less than thrilled to hear from me, but said she would go with out with me. The first date was a disaster. We went to the movies and no seats were available. The second date was for dinner, and it was the day all the little Catholic kids were making their Holy Communions. After waiting hours for dinner we finally ate. I told her let’s try one more date. If it doesn’t work out, we’re not meant to date. That was over 38 years ago.
Marilyn: (My hubby and I met on a blind date too.) What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
Keith: Two of our sons had moved here. I fell in love with the desert on my second trip out here. The cost of living is so much lower than living on Long Island, we would be able to live comfortably and enjoy life. It is also healthier to live out here with little humidity and no snow to shovel. I tell people I tied a snow shovel to the front fender of my car and drive until someone in Las Vegas asked me “What’s that on your car?” I knew I wanted to live here free of snow.
Marilyn: When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
Keith: I was told by family I should be writer when I was still single and helping my younger sister with her homework. I never seriously thought of going into it because back then computers and word processors were nonexistent. My first experience with writing came when Massad Ayoob, the renowned firearms instructor helped with a term paper on dreams related to post shooting trauma. I sent him a copy when it was done back in 1983, and he took it to the publisher of Police Marksman Magazine and suddenly I became a published author.
Marilyn: What was the inspiration for your new book?
Keith: For many years I was a counselor/peer support person at the annual Police Week activities in Washington, DC. The stories of loss were heart wrenching and I wanted to write about law enforcement survivors. The photo on the cover was taken by me at the east wall of the National Law Enforcement Memorial, and part of the story is based on that photo.
Marilyn: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Keith: Just that you and Hap are two of the nicest people I have ever met, I really enjoy your books and I was honored that you dedicated your last Rocky Bluff book to me, Angel Lost. What an honor that was.
Marilyn: Thank you, Keith, for the interview. (It was dedicated to you because you helped me so much with one of the characters.)
END OF WATCH
(The book is available from Keith for $10, plus $3 shipping 1st class mail, or $5 priority mail. You can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.)
A small town, law enforcement dynasty is in the making. A well respected deputy dies in the line of duty and leaves behind a wife and son. The son wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a deputy too. Can he compete with his father’s memory? Will his fellow officers ever let the son be himself or must he rise to a higher standard than the other deputies live by? End of Watch takes the reader through not only the difficulties of being in law enforcement, but also the tragedy of a line of duty death and the healing that is needed to grow through the loss of a loved one.