Partners in Crime: Local authors, New Orleans and East Bank Regional Library writer’s conference

When transitioning to a new career the itch to learn is constant. You want to absorb as much as possible about the process of writing and the path to publishing.

I’m now on the verge of submitting my debut crime novel to agents. Creating and revising The Accidental Vigilante has been a long journey that has included set-backs, victories and a broad array of lessons and growth spurts.

Yet as I embrace my literary ambitions I can’t help but think back on my law enforcement vocation. When I was rookie I got a lot of help from veteran cops. Shouldn’t the same be true of authors?

You bet. That’s why I was thrilled to learn about the “Cops and Authors” writers conference scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. The sponsor is the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon in Metairie. The event is free and open to the public. And one of the participants just happens to be one of my law enforcement colleagues. 

 I’m looking forward to catching up with O’Neil De Noux. He’s kept busy. Although crime fiction is his specialty, he has found time to explore other genres. I know he’ll have much to say about the balancing act of being a detective and prolific author.

And that’s the point of the conference. Provide helpful and practical information for new authors, or readers who simply love crime fiction and want to meet some authors and buy a few books.

My friend will be sharing the platform with another expert.

Write what you know is an old trope that still seems to hold power and make lots of sense. At my time in life, what else would I choose to write about? Obviously, my cop community agrees.

B.J. Bourg will talk about his work as a SWAT and sniper leader. I’ll be all ears because his expertise speaks to an important climactic scene in my novel. Although I’m pleased with the narrative sequence I’ve created, it never hurts to check in with a guy who has been there and done that.

Team work is also an important part of our career experience, so Bourg will be joined by his wife Amanda. Her topic is post-traumatic stress disorder. The information is meant to help authors create compelling characters who suffer from the dreaded P.T.S.D. 

With all that’s been happening in recent months to police officers nation-wide, I’ve got to believe that Amanda’s contribution will be riveting. How many other professions expect men and women to show up for work knowing that a gun may be pointed in their face that day?

This is why I’ve been drawn to the writing game. I can’t help but want to speak to the issues I see good people endure when they take on the work of keeping cities and towns safe. 

Not that authors have it so easy. It may seem sweet sitting in front of a computer most days. Yet when you take into consideration that many authors begin to write to confront their own demons, I guess the rookies in the publishing world had better be careful what they wish for.


Robert Sterling Hecker

Crime fiction author

For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, manager of adult programming for the library, at (504) 889-8143 or