Roger Rapel, a seasoned policeman with enough real life material to write an entire series, makes a literary debut with his crime novel Cindy, Where Are You?
MJN: You have an f-word in your first sentence. What a way to start a novel. You certainly pull no punches, immediately plunging into the world of a girl who is molested by her stepfather. It sounds like such a "classic" for lack of better word situation. I guess, the tragedy is that those things ARE all too common. "For fuck sake, leave me alone!" That's Mary's exclamation. There isn't a teenager who hasn't uttered that phrase - albeit under less tragic circumstances.
RR: The 'f' word is common it has become a matter of fact in adult life but if you sit and listen to kids in the playground you'll hear it. There's no point in using language to cover up the street conversation.
MJN: I noticed that your diction is very raw and matter-of-factly. You don't try to embellish the prose with artificial ornaments. Too many authors try to create additional drama by describing rape in "slow motion". Sometimes, the less you say, the more powerful the statement. In a way, your style reminds me of Hemingway.
RR: When i started to write the book a long time ago I sought advice from a number of sources on the Internet and one piece I remember and can't remember now who by said 'don't use twenty words to describe something when one will do. Readers get bored with long sentences about nothing.' That piece of advice has stayed with me.
I tried to tell the story from the bitterness and anger from a child who had been there. Most of the book is from interviews from victims of abuse plus the story is from a real life investigation fictionalised.
MJN: Tell us about the cover. I believe, you said your daughter designed it?
RR: The cover was indeed designed by my daughter the base black and white image is from shutterstock then from her graphic design ability produced what you see on the cover. Take a look at her website (amyparledesign.co.uk). I wanted something to catch the eye giving the look of no hope and despair which I think she has captured.
MJN: As a policeman, do you derive your plot twists from real life experience? Would you say it's true that many detectives struggle to keep their marriages and relationships afloat due to long hours and extreme stress?
RR: The story of Cindy is based loosely on a real life investigation but fictionalised with many other real life experiences being thrown in so yes to that question.
When you live and breathe a case and become embroiled in the victims life and death sometimes it's hard to let go. The offender becomes part of you. Not all but those who wanted to get their man so to speak. The hard working hard playing and drinking was the way of life, the bar was the psychiatrist couch of the day where mates can understand the stress of the day. Not making excuses but that was the way it was. Also many marriages ruined by the stresses of the job and paying the ultimate price in his/her personal life. In the case in question losing his marriage and kids due to long hours plus the ultimate affair which eventually killed the marriage. (I will plead the 5th amendment if asked).
MJN: Do you believe it's typical for a jaded, burned out detective who has "seen it all" to become obsessed with a particular case?
RR: When you have lived and breathed a case and want to catch the offender it can wrap you in a situation where nothing else matters and so to answer the question yes.
Just as an added thought. Many other services fire ambulance and of course armed services have the same stories. Which is why so many soldiers come home and turn to alcohol with no mates to turn to for solace even though wives and girlfriends are there.
As a detective you can't expect them to understand the stench of rotting human flesh as a grave is unearthed seeing the bodies of children on the mortuary slab being cut open with their organs being removed then going and having to calmly interview the offender who by now is crying out of remorse. That's when you need a drink.