Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Hosts J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, Patrick O’Donnell, JP Rindfleisch, Kevin Tumlinson, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon pull back the curtain and gain rare insight from the household names found on bookshelves worldwide.

Want to ask your favorite author a question? Click here!

Accurately Depicting Law Enforcement with Patrick O’Donnell

Former cop Patrick O’Donnell is dedicated to helping writers accurately depict local PD in their books and novels. In his informational series, Cops and Writers: From The Academy to The Street, Patrick teaches authors about the fundamentals of a crime scene, the departmental ranking system, and a variety of small but important details for making your cops come to life. O’Donnell recently retired after serving in Chicago and Wisconsin for twenty-five years and is now focusing on building his website,, and continuing to grow his aforementioned series. To join his Facebook group, an awesome online resource with accomplished authors and other former cops answering the genre’s biggest questions, follow the link below.


Looking to add an authentic edge to your crime fiction? Ride along with me, a real-life sergeant to give your story the accuracy your readers crave. My name is Patrick O’Donnell, and I’ve been with a large metropolitan police department for the last twenty-four years, seventeen of those as a street sergeant. That means I’ve been a supervisor on the street for the bulk of my career. The city I work in has a population of about 600,000 people who are policed by about 1,800 sworn members, give or take a few hundred. I’m also an author of fiction and non-fiction books. I do understand the unique author point of view and can see through your writer’s eyes. Ride along with me, Sergeant O’Donnell for the law enforcement details that will give your story street cred.

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouse, J. Thorn, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How O’Donnell became a cop
  • His craziest true crime stories
  • What authors get wrong about cops
  • The differences between the PD and PIs
  • The various ranks of a police department


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Patrick O’Donnell –

Cops and Writers: From The Academy to The Street by Patrick O’Donnell –

Cops and Writers Facebook Group –

Music by Nicorus – 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – and recorded at Mill Pond Studio –

Contact – 

“Muggable” quote by Harley Christensen –

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.


  1. Christopher Wills

    2 years ago  

    Morning guys. Interesting interview today. So is Patrick saying a cop would never say things like:
    ‘I know what you’re thinking: “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do you, punk?’
    Next Patrick will be telling me that the police department in Cabot Cove doesn’t represent reality. I guess my career as a writer of crime fiction based in the US needs some research.
    Great show.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      LOL! You can never go wrong by quoting Dirty Harry.

    2. Patrick O'Donnell

      2 years ago  

      You just “made my day” with this comment.

  2. Rebekah Bryan

    2 years ago  

    Even if Patrick didn’t say where he was from (or even if you kept saying Michigan), I would’ve called that he was from here just from the preview at the top of the episode. Can’t miss that good ole Wisconsin accent! We even both graduated from UW-Whitewater, how fun!

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  


    2. Patrick O'Donnell

      2 years ago  

      What year did you graduate?

  3. Kev

    2 years ago  

    What a brilliant interview, thanks J. I write PA rather than crime or thrillers, but I have the occasional cop character. Being British, my experience of US police comes entirely from films, TV and books and I really want to get my cop characters right. I’m reading Patrick’s first book and am looking forward to the next one.

    1. J. Thorn

      2 years ago  

      Thanks, Kev!

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