To wrap up my blog post series on private investigation, I interviewed my fictional PI, Sam Dalton. Sam features in the White Roses series of books (Roses, Retribution, and more coming soon!).
Me: Welcome Sam. This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing you on my blog.
Sam: Thank you. I think.
Me: Hey! I was nice last time…oh, you’re stirring me.
Sam: I need to keep you on your toes.
Me: On my toes, or is it payback?
Sam: If it was payback you’d know about it. I probably owe you though. I thought you said in the last interview that no one would get hurt in that book?
Me: I said no one would get killed. Different thing. Are you ready to start now?
Sam: Yep. Ask away.
Me: Okay. Private investigation is not too dissimilar from your earlier roles with the FBI. Was the desire to start your own agency the driving force behind your resignation from the bureau?
Sam: When I left the FBI I had no plans to do private investigation at all. Initially, the agency was set up to do security assessments for businesses: risk management, set up surveillance cameras, asset security; that kind of thing. I think I stuck with that for all of two weeks before I got bored. I enrolled in a private investigators course and never looked back.
Me: Has your experience with the FBI helped?
Sam: It sure has. The FBI taught me all kinds of investigation techniques and I had plenty of opportunity during my career to use them and develop my skill level. In my later years with the bureau I took on management roles which has helped me with the business side of the agency. I also have plenty of contacts that I’ve built up, and some of them have come in handy.
Me: Tell me about your business.
Sam: The Dalton Agency began as the security business, but it changed into a PI agency when I obtained my licence. I started off with surveillance cases and locating people and missing assets. With the additional investigators now on board, the agency also does work with lawyers on criminal cases, as well as self-defence classes. We still do the original security assessments as well.
Me: Sounds busy.
Sam: It is. We’re lucky to have a constant stream of work. The agency has built up a good reputation and it’s paid off.
Me: What’s the best and worst parts of being a private investigator?
Sam: I like the interaction with people and helping them find the information they’re looking for. Half of the battle sometimes is getting someone to open up and give you want you’re looking for, and I like the challenge. I also enjoy aspects of surveillance—though it can be tough when you’re sitting still for hours in a cold car, waiting and waiting for something to happen.
The worst parts are when you have to give someone results of an investigation and you know it’s going to cause them emotional pain. That’s never pleasant. Even though you’ve done what they asked, I think sometimes they hope you won’t have bad news for them.
Me: Have you ever been burned while doing surveillance?
Sam: Yep. Got too close to a woman I was following and she realised what I was doing. Luckily all she did was flip me her middle finger. I’ve heard of cases where there’s been some pretty ugly confrontation when someone realises their being watched.
Me: Was that case over once she’d caught you?
Sam: Almost. I’d managed to get enough surveillance video and photos before she worked out what was going on.
Me: You were lucky!
Me: What would you tell someone who wants to be a PI?
Sam: Don’t go into it thinking it’s glamorous—a life of fast cars and being cool. PI work takes time, patience, and persistence, and you need to be able to look at cases from all angles—work out the best way to get the result you’re after. You also need to be able to turn off emotion and not judge people. You have a job to do, and that’s what you have to focus on. It’s not easy, but it can be very satisfying.
Me: Well, that’s the end of the questions. Thanks for your time, Sam.
Sam: No problem. Now, can we have a quick chat about the next book? I have an idea…
Me: Oh no, I don’t think so…and you can stop that sad look, it won’t work—I know you too well…
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