‘Just Be You’

Writing Crime Fiction Logical Step For Former Detective

Even before she was a police officer, Lissa Marie Redmond was writing or thinking about writing.

Now, after 22 years on the force, the retired Buffalo Police Dept. cold case homicide detective has traded in her badge for a virtual pen.

“Writing crime fiction just seemed the next logical step once I got on the job. I have had some urban fantasy short stories published, and I love science fiction, but I’m putting those projects on the back burner for now,” Redmond said.

Redmond was born in Buffalo and grew up in the Woodlawn neighborhood south of Buffalo. In Woodlawn, nestled between the Bethlehem Steel, and Ford Stamping plants, is where she played on the shores of Lake Erie, rode her bicycle, and never dreamed she would be a cop.

She attended the University of Buffalo where she took the exam to be a Buffalo Police Officer, and received a passing score. At 22, she suited up, and was issued a gun, a badge, a bulletproof vest, and was put on patrol.

Redmond said writing helps her express herself. “Writing is a healthy way to express myself and share the stories in my head with a wider audience. It’s my job, it’s my passion and it has introduced me to so many lovely people and places I would have never come across. I loved being on the police department but now that I am retired I feel truly blessed that I get to do this for a living now.”

Like most professional writers, Redmond has a writing routine that allows for some flexibility. “I try to write every single day, whether it’s hitting my word count or editing something I wrote the day before. Time is an issue, especially since I have two teenage daughters, but I treat my writing like a job, because that’s exactly what it is now,” Redmond noted.

Because of the complex nature of writing, Redmond chose to publish after she retired from the police force. “I hear the phrase ‘write what you know’ a lot, but I know about being a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend just as much as I know about police work. You don’t have to have an exciting job or a glamorous life to write a good story, you just have pour your heart into it,” the author said. “Some days it’s easier to get the words flowing than others and you have to let yourself step away from your computer at those times. You just have to remember to come back the next day and keep at it. It’s easy to give up. It’s much harder to finish your work in progress.”

Her advice to writers is to set up a routine and not give up.

“Every writer has experienced rejection. You don’t have to be the next J.K Rowling (and that’s good because we already have one), you just have to be you. Write your own story and the words will come,” she said.

While she maintains accounts on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookhub and Goodreads, she limits her time on social media, but still stays connected and accessible to her readers. “I love hearing from them and their comments and messages really mean a lot to me,” she said.

With the advent of ebooks, there has been a shift in how authors get their message to their readers. Some authors turn to self-publishing, and some authors continue on the traditional route. Even though Redmond is traditionally published, she knows authors that are published both ways.

“There really is no wrong way to be published as long as you do your research,” she said. “Both routes have pros and cons.” At the end of the day, she added, authors have to sit down and figure out what they want to get out of having their work published and what is most important to them. “The great thing about the publishing industry now is that authors have a lot of options that they didn’t have 20 years ago.”

When Redmond is writing, or being a mother, or wife, she reads other authors both for pleasure, and for work. “I love Stephen King. Even if you don’t like horror, Stephen King is a masterful storyteller. His book ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ should be on every aspiring writer’s bookshelf. Agatha Christie is a must read if you have any intention of writing mystery. I love the 87th precinct series by Ed McBain. They are some of the best police procedurals ever written. When I’m burned out on mystery and crime, I’ll grab a good science fiction novel. Sometimes those two genres meet, like they did so brilliantly in ‘The Last Policeman.’ It’s the first book in a truly original series. I highly recommend it,” she added. “The Last Policeman” is a trilogy by Ben H.Winters.

Redmond will be at The Off The Beaten Path Bookstore, 28 Chautauqua Ave., Lakewood, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Last year, Lissa’s debut novel, “A Cold Day in Hell,” was the store’s No. 1 selling title for 2018. Her followup, “The Murder Book,” takes readers back into the life of Buffalo Cold Case Det. Lauren Riley as she works to solve a new case. For more info on Lissa, visit