Thursday, 25 May 2017

Dishonored & Forgotten by Larry & Carolyn Watts

Larry and Carolyn are Texas authors who have teamed up as authors for the first time to write Dishonored and Forgotten. Larry’s career in law enforcement began in Houston, Texas, as a police officer. He became active in police labor issues and served on the board of directors of the Houston Police Officers’ Association and the National Association of Police Associations. He retired after 21 years and began working for a state-wide association representing law enforcement officers throughout Texas, eventually becoming the chief of staff.

Carolyn worked for Continental Airlines for 16 years. She was a flight attendant scheduler early in that career and worked in Continental's Public Relations Department before returning to school to attain a BS in Psychology and an MS in School Psychology. Her professional career has spanned positions in education, a non-profit counseling center and shelter for victims of domestic violence, and a private practice that enabled her to fulfill her desire to work with couples and their children.

Connect with the Authors

About the Book

Dishonored and Forgotten is a fictional account of a 1950's narcotics scandal that rocked the Houston, Texas Police Department. One officer was dead with two gunshots to the heart and a nasty laceration on his head. The death was ruled a suicide. Another officer was sent to prison for selling heroin back to those he arrested. A captain was fired and a police chief lost his job. Dr. Julius McBride went to prison for supplying that police chief with codeine illegally. High profile federal narcotics agent George White came to Houston and challenged the locals, including the police chief, city attorney, mayor, district attorney and every officer he thought was dirty.

This story is a fictional account of those events. Its focus is on two men. Martin Billnitzer was the detective who was killed with two shots to the heart. Within hours his death was ruled a suicide. Bill Pool was a police officer who first reported the possibility of a narcotics scandal to federal authorities. His career in Houston was ruined. Both men's careers were cut short, their service dishonored, and their lives all but forgotten in the annals of Houston's history.

Research on this book included interviews, newspaper articles about the scandal, books about some of the participants and the federal narcotics agent's personal papers from Stanford University libraries. Where gaps in the story existed after our research, we added fictional accounts of what may have happened. However, the names of most participants are real and much of the story is factual. Italicized quotes from documents were taken directly from letters, notes, or newspaper articles with the exception of the quotes reported from a recording by George White of Dr. Julius McBride and his wife, which are fictional.

The story is told by a retired officer, Buck Nichols, who is one of the few fictional characters in the book. However, the story he tells is derived from research, with missing information being created by the authors' imagination as to what might have occurred all those years ago.

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Keep reading for an interview with the authors:

Why did you decide to be writers?

We have been writing all our adult lives. Carolyn for newspapers and trade journals and Larry for trade journals and monthly newsletters. Carolyn began writing parenting and children's books because of her passion for strong families and mentally healthy children. Larry had a fictional story in his head for years before trying his hand. Between us, we have now written 14 books, including our first joint effort, Dishonored and Forgotten.

Where are you from?

We live in League City, Texas, which is between Houston and Galveston.

Does your area have a good writing community?

There are a number of writing and author support groups supported by our local Helen Hall Library and other nearby city libraries. One in particular is the Helen Hall Marketing and Publishing Group. It was formed by local writers and now boasts a membership of 46 with 10 to 15 showing up at each monthly meeting. We trade ideas and report on successes and failures in marketing our work and experiences we've encountered in publishing.

What genres do you write?

Carolyn: I write professional parenting and children's books and have teamed with Larry to write our most recent historical fiction.

Larry: My books are crime, mystery, and social justice works of fiction.

What inspires you to write?

Carolyn: I hope to help parents with the difficulties of raising a family.

Larry: I started writing with the thought of leaving a legacy for my grandchildren and future generations. But now it is just the joy of putting the story together.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

Carolyn: I measure my work by time spent.

Larry: I set a goal of 1000 words each day.

What is the quirkiest thing you've ever done while writing?

We tried a project with two other writers in which we agreed to a broad subject to write a novel about. Then we drew numbers 1 through 4 with number 1 writing the first chapter. Each writer passed the work to the next and each of us created our next chapter totally independent except for reading the previous chapters. Unfortunately one of our partners became ill and the project remains unfinished.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

Carolyn: I researched Adam and Eve and their three children. I then applied current psychological analysis to each and to their descendants for about parents lives on their children.

Larry: I researched the effect of having a carotid artery slashed (for a death in one of my novels) just months before having a surgery which involved my own carotid artery. Chilling!

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Carolyn: Leon Uris, especially his books Exodus and Trinity. Also, Barbara Kingsolver has been an influence.

Larry: Cormac McCarthy for nearly all his work. His writing is dark, which doesn't appeal to all readers, but his stories are gripping.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Carolyn: When I was 11 years old, I wrote a story about a female version of Paul Bunyon. I knew then I would always enjoy sharing my creativity with others.

Larry: When I received the first copy of my book 'The Missing Piece" which was my first novel.

What is your writing process?

We rarely outline except when Carolyn is writing one of her professional books. Carolyn makes lots of notes before beginning. I don't. I want to get it n paper, or more accurately on the computer screen and clean it up later.

How long does it take you to write a book?

6 months to 2 years depending on the work.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

It is a mixture. It would be very unusual for a fiction writer not to use some real life experiences.

What are you working on now?

Carolyn: A fictional account of a dream I had years ago that has remained vividly in my memory.

Larry: I'm finishing the fourth and final book in the series Tanner & Thibodaux.

How do you market/promote your work?

We define the most likely market to make personal appearances, but spend most of our energy promoting on social media by building a following for our work through blogs and give away promotions. Marketing is the most difficult part of being an author and if your goal in writing is to become a commercial success it will likely be disappointing.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Yes. We love feedback and really appreciate reviews on Amazon, etc.

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