Taking you inside the interrogation rooms of notorious murderers and upper echelon thieves; introducing Raymond Berke writer of 6 more dead.
1. Is there any genre you refuse to read?
Raymond Berke- I refuse to read romance novels, and I don’t read Sci-fi. I find reading Sci-fi difficult. My imagination just doesn’t seem to activate in that arena. I love non-fiction, history, and Stephen King (his older stuff).
I rarely watch a chick-flick, and only when my wife is sick and I’m being ‘the good husband.’
2. How do you develop your characters?
6 More Dead- In writing about true events and real people, this becomes the hardest part of writing. These are real people, with all the flaws and foibles and heroics that real people have. I’m also writing about real cases and real events that are much more drawn out than any book could present. I never pretend to understand the pain or anguish that a person is going through. Whether they are the victim of a tragedy personally, or a family member that is affected by a tragedy, I believe that unless you have experienced that exact same scenario, you will never know. The challenge for me, in writing about these people, is to find the perfect moment or anecdote that describes that person. I find writing about real people to be more difficult than developing fictional characters. With fictional characters, the writer can decide on the characteristics and traits of the character. With real people, I can only take snippets about them and then develop their true persona whenever possible.
3. So, 6 more dead is about a real case?
Raymond Berke- 6 More Dead is a True-Crime-Memoir of twenty years in the NYPD. The title comes from the last case in the book, ‘The College Point Massacre’. All the stories in the book are real. Some are not crimes, but human tragedies―suicides, accidental deaths, and some are out-right brutal, vicious murders. I tried to maintain my ‘cop sense of humor’ in the book, telling stories the way that ‘cops’ tell stories to each other. And I tried to be as honest as I could about my own emotions when seeing and handling or testifying about some of the horrors that were everyday life for us in the NYPD.
4. You worked for the NYPD, how does your former job help you with your current one?
Raymond Berke- I am a founding partner in the Private Investigation firm of Woodard and Berke Investigations
( www.woodardberke.com ). I have been conducting investigations for the vast majority of my life. The NYPD experience of 20 years is invaluable. There is not a police force in the country that handles the amount of cases that we handled, and also had the same success. It all transfers over into my new career as a P.I. We maintain the same diligence, honesty, and integrity with all our cases, handling each case as if it were a homicide.
5. How does working a homicide affect a person?
6 More Dead- The first thing that you do is put your emotions aside. Each case is different. Finding a drug dealer shot to death is not the same as finding an innocent person murdered. A drug dealer knows the dangerous game he is playing. He knowingly takes that chance. He also could care less if someone were to die as a result of his drugs. Finding such a body, and working such a case doesn’t have much effect on me at all. However, innocent people do, especially when it comes to women and children. Women and children have always been my Achilles heel. My job is to ‘speak for the victim’, who can no longer speak for themselves. I will not get emotional at a crime scene, or during an interrogation. Later on, when the case is over, the pictures creep back into my mind. I cannot help but wonder what terror those victims endured before being murdered. It’s something I try not to think about, but can’t help it, even many years later.
6. Why do you love writing? NYPD or well known writer?
Raymond Berke- I’ve always been one of those ‘office practical joke’ writers — making up poems for retirements, writing the funny family Christmas letter — that sort of writer. Throughout my twenty years in the police department, I would come across the craziest things, and say to myself, and sometimes out loud, “I’m gonna write a book when I retire”. There are so many more stories I have to tell, and hopefully I may find the time to write another book.
7. Any tips for up and coming writers?
6 More Dead- Just write, don’t edit. Write your story the way you would tell a person your story. All the grammar and punctuation can be fixed later on. It’s getting the story down on paper that’s the hardest part. I try to be as honest as I can when writing. I also found that there are just certain things that have to be held back. Things that may hurt someone and that won’t have a negative impact on the story if left out.
8. Are there any rules for how long one must wait to write about a serious crime?
Raymond Berke- If you are not involved in the crime in anyway, then go ahead and write as much as you can.
But, there is a common sense rule if you are directly involved in what you are writing about, especially if there can be legal ramifications. Writing a book about a criminal case that you are actively investigating would be insane. Anything you write down is ‘Rosario’ material and must be admitted as evidence to the defense. In True-Crime writing, the author, if he is a participant in the investigation, or prosecution of the case, must realize that the facts in his book have to match the facts in the case. This is why in 6 More Dead I used the actual police reports for the statements I took from murderers, rather than using my memory.
9. Did you work on the case “6 more dead”
6 More Dead- Yes. This was my investigation. More so, this was a very unusual case as far as the way everything progressed. Usually police officers receive the radio calls, respond to the scene, make the discovery, and then call the Detective Squad. In this case, my squad partners and I went looking for something, not knowing exactly what we would find, and walked into an apartment of carnage.
10. What % of a books proceeds actually go to the author?
Raymond Berke- Each publisher has a different set of rules. A general rule is somewhere between 30-70 percent.
11. What was the hardest chapter to write?
6 More Dead- The opening chapter on the College Point Massacre. Trying to describe what we walked into without getting too gory. Trying to describe how tense the situation was, not knowing who was alive and who was dead and if someone would try to kill us as we walked through the most grisly crime scene I have ever seen. And, it was very difficult trying to describe the victim Anna, in the intensive care unit of the hospital. The determination she had, her will to live, her desire to fight back, was hard to describe.
12. Is it easy to write about a real event? Is the whole story more or less exactly how it happened?
Raymond Berke- It is not easy to write about certain real events. At least to me it’s not easy. Trying to capture a scene of chaos and describe it, without writing 20 pages just on the one scene, is difficult at best. The whole book is based on true stories, but if you are referring particularly to the College Point Massacre, yes the story is completely true.
13. Do you procrastinate when you write or get it done?
6 More Dead- Both. Once I start writing, I can go for hours. Once I stop, I stop for weeks.
14. Where can the readers find your stuff?
6 More Dead is available on Amazon.com It is also available for Kindle and other e-book readers (you may have to download a Kindle reader app).
Raymond Berke- I think that any part of my life that I want public, is public already.
16. Anything else?
6 More Dead Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/6MoreDead