Police Chief Creates Crime With Words
Sheriff James Walker is a bayou area hero who’s solved grisly murders and dismantled meth labs, but if he sounds impressive that’s only because he was created by someone who knows something about law enforcement.
Thibodaux Police Chief Scott Silverii has been writing about Sheriff Walker since June in a series of short stories called “A Cajun Murder Mystery Series” available from online booksellers nationwide.
Later this month the 49-year-old will release a collection of the first four stories in electronic and traditional formats. He plans to pen 12 in all.
Silverii’s foray into creative writing stemmed from his time spent in academia, Silverii said.
“About a year after I finished my Ph.D., I self-published my dissertation on police culture and a publisher reached out about purchasing that manuscript for a textbook. I sold it to them about a year ago and it was developed into a textbook for classroom use,” he said.
After that book, “Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad” became available to students everywhere, Silverii was invited to speak at a writer’s conference which gives authors insight to law enforcement and forensics so their work can be more realistic.
“I had never thought about it before but in every story be it a romance or a thriller there’s usually a police officer as a protagonist. So this conference showed all of these writers, such as Michael Connelly, what it’s like to shoot a gun or put handcuffs on someone,” he said.
The conference inspired him to begin writing Sheriff Walker’s tale, which he says is episodic — much like a season of a television drama.
“Each story is about 10,000 words each, and the first 12 of them will make up the first season,” he said. “In the first stories there’s a child serial killer and bayou politics and some romance. I took major themes and crimes that I’ve either experienced or things I’m familiar with and used them very loosely.”
Though there are similarities between Silverii and his character, he says Sheriff Walker is not written completely in his own image.
“There’s probably a lot of me in him, but there are things that he’s able to do that I can’t. Writing about him has been a great exercise in developing my writer’s voice,” he said.
Silverii says that though he’s risen among the ranks of Amazon’s top selling ebooks, he’s not ready to quit his day job as police chief. Instead he makes time to pursue both of his passions.
“I’m a single dad, so when I was pursuing my Ph.D. I’d get my son to bed and sit down and start writing papers from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. out of necessity. My mind just got conditioned to keep doing that.
I don’t watch television, so at 9 p.m. I may be exhausted but my mind clicks back on, and I sit there and start writing every night,” he said. “I always say that sleep is for the weak. When you’re passionate about something you prioritize and you find time to do it.”