Derek Blass is an author and attorney in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Duke University and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is married and has two uncontrollably terrible dogs (and one good one that isn't really his). Enemy in Blue is his debut novel.
Why did you write this book?
Stories are often born from tragedy. Just look at all of the news inundating us on a daily basis. In my case, I came to Denver, Colorado in 2003. Pretty immediately, I got involved in the Denver Latino/a community by serving on Mayor John Hickenlooper's Denver Latino Commission. I was also involved in the community through non-profits. Community service has always been important to me. While on the Commission, we dealt with several cases involving allegations of police brutality. Just in the Latino/a community, Frank Lobato was shot and killed, Juan Vasquez was beaten to the point he suffered severe internal damage, and Michael DeHerrera was violently arrested for standing on the sidewalk. In the African-American community, Paul Childs was shot and killed by Denver police, and Marvin Booker was tazed while in custody in jail to the point that he died. These are the events that catalyzed me to write Enemy in Blue
How did you come up with the title?
That's a fun question. There was one working title, that ended up not working by the time the book was done. Things change, A LOT, over the course of writing a book! Once it was apparent that a new title was necessary, I enlisted my wife and some of my readers to help me find a new title. Through countless brainstorming sessions, one of my readers came up with "Evil in Blue." I liked it, but not 100%. I was grabbing the mail one day, and "Enemy in Blue" just came to me. Funny how things happen!
How did you choose your genre?
Hard to explain, but I can see action in my head. Fight scenes. Car chases. Torture, kidnapping, etc. (Honestly, I'm not a violent guy in real life!) It was as natural to me to write thrillers with a heavy dose of action as it would be for Christopher Moore to write cheeky fiction.
Why did you write Enemy in Blue?
I've written a lot since I was young, and started on many novels but never followed through to finish one. It's really a labor of love, and with a full-time job that I am committed to (attorney), it takes substantial discipline to keep writing. That being said, there is nothing more beautiful than writing a story, or more appropriately put, to having characters write a story for you. When I write, I'm just as surprised by their decisions as my readers. My characters drive my story and that is an amazing aspect of writing that everyone should try! If people are interested, I started a blog on writing a while back (www.derekblass.wordpress.com) that describes many of the fun, and tedious, nuances of writing.
With all the other thrillers out there, why buy Enemy in Blue?
It's a no nonsense book, full of action and entertainment. I wrote the book for my readers, not for myself. I promise that you will be captivated by the action over the course of the book. At the same time, the book invites you to be introspective on issues of illegal immigration, police brutality, and political corruption. It's not just mind candy, but it's also not a book that will club you over the head with principles. From a purely cost/benefit analysis, both versions of the book are very competitively priced, and the Kindle version is less than a dang cup of coffee at Starbucks! I promise it will deliver more lasting enjoyment than that cup of joe!
Not just possible--it's out now! Allegiance is the second Cruz Marquez thriller, and picks up about 4 years after Enemy in Blue. I'm also considering going back in time and writing a book about the antagonist (Sergeant Shaver) because he intrigues me and I want to dig deeper!