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…
For this week's post I've chosen to run an updated interview with Warren and Sam from the White Rose series. This was on my previous blog, but was taken down when I moved the blog here. If you didn't read it the first time, I hope you enjoy it, and if you did, I hope you like the additions.
So here they are - Warren Pearce and Sam Dalton
Me: Morning gentlemen. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.
Sam: Did we have a choice?
Warren: Always complaining, aren’t you Sam? (To me) It’s a pleasure to be here.
Sam: No complaints, just making an observation.
Me: I can’t force you to do anything, but you already know that (scowling at Sam). One minute in, and we’re already off topic. See what I mean?
Warren grins. As does Sam.
Sam: Sorry. Go ahead.
Me: Thank you. Warren, tell me how you and Sam met.
Warren: I met Sam at the FBI academy while we were training to become Special Agents. We quite literally bumped into each other during physical training when Sam lost his footing during an obstacle course and landed on me.
Sam: You got in my way.
Warren: That’s not how I remember it.
Sam: Getting forgetful?
Warren: Not likely. You're older than me, so I think you'll be the forgetful one. Back to the story. We met again later that day in the recreation room and started talking. We found a chess board, had a game, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Me: Sam, you and Warren still play chess regularly, don’t you?
Sam: We do. Most weeks we get together for a couple of games.
Me: Who wins?
Silence reigns for a couple of moments.
Sam: I think Warren is leading at the moment, but I’m closing the gap.
Warren: I’d have to agree with that. It’s still quite a gap though.
Sam: It’s getting smaller.
Warren (smiling): We’ll see how close it gets.
Sam: Hmm. (He scratches his chin). Probably as close as you to getting more wins over me in our boxing bouts.
Me: You box?
Sam: It’s a fitness thing - or so Warren will tell you.
Warren: It is about fitness.
Sam: Not about our friendly bouts?
Warren: Not at all.
Sam (grinning): Is that because I get around your guard twice as often as you do mine?
Warren: I wouldn’t say twice…
Sam (grin still in place): I would. Let’s just say we each have our strengths.
Me: What else do you have in common?
Sam: Apart from good looks and intelligence?
Sam: We’re both great investigators, and loyal. I guess apart from that we’re opposites.
Warren: I’d agree with that. Sam has a way of looking through people that can be very disconcerting. I’ve seen him turn tough criminals into insecure talkers just by looking at them.
Sam: Where as you know exactly what questions to ask and when.
Warren: And you're short.
Sam: I'm not! Just shorter than you. (He looks at me) I'm easily taller than her.
Me: Oi! Don't forget who I am! I can make you shorter!
Warren laughs as Sam throws me an apologetic smile.
Sam: Sorry - again. Friends?
Me: Okay, friends. Let's back to the interview. So was there a time in the FBI when you worked as partners?
Warren: Early in our careers we did, for several years. As time went by we moved onto different areas, but it’s never affected our friendship.
Me: So you’ve never disagreed during an investigation?
Sam: We have - lots of times, but that’s what investigations are about. You have to look at things from all points of view and challenge each other to provide evidence to back up any theories.
Warren: Our differences make us a good team. We’ve always operated well together.
Sam: Especially when I’ve had to get you out of trouble.
Warren: You’ve caused waves too.
Sam: Not the size of yours, buddy. I’ve seen how big your file is. All those reprimands.
Warren: The job has to get done.
Sam (smiling): It sure does.
Me: So, how do you like being characters in my books?
Warren: It’s a bit of a wild ride, but on the whole I’m very happy.
Sam: I bet you are. (To me) I don’t mind it, especially as I don’t have to go through as much as my friend here. It’s exciting. I think the future looks good.
Me: So what do you think the future holds?
Suddenly I’m getting suspicious looks cast at me.
Warren: What are you planning?
Me (trying to look innocent): Nothing too bad. Hey, you’re still alive.
Warren: Nothing too bad? What does that mean?
Sam: I’d prefer not to end up in hospital again.
Me: Have faith guys. If I don’t have you, then I’d have nothing to write about. (For some reason the suspicious looks haven’t eased. Time to finish the interview, I think). Relax, it’ll be all good, I promise. Thanks for the chat. I’ll let you get back to Beth and Heather now.
They smile, all suspicion gone. I hope they didn’t notice my fingers were crossed…
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