When a hunter becomes the hunted, it makes your blood run cold. Author and publisher Mike Smitley spins fast-moving tales and runs Fathers Press, a small publishing company geared towards Christian writers.
Question: Prey really pulls me in and keeps me wanting more. What inspired you to write it?
ANSWER: I have spent a lot of time in the outdoors and I particularly love the American West. It was the right opportunity to combine my love of the West with a serial murder investigation, which displays my strongest writing.
Question: Are you a former police officer? Tell me about your real life experience that gave life to your detective books.
ANSWER: Yes, I spent 30 years in Law Enforcement in all capacities of the field. I was a Chief of Police and criminal investigator. I use many of the characters and scenarios from my years in the field in my books.
Question: Does the action in Prey mirror what happened in some of your cases?
ANSWER: Certain aspects of the murder investigation are taking from my experiences, but the survival aspect involving bears does not.
Question: It sounds like you know a lot about hunting. Tell me about your adventures as a hunter. What game do you hunt and where?
ANSWER: I’ve been hunting all my life. I’ve been an avid ammunition reloader and shooter since my late teens. I’ve hunted large and small game around the Midwest and the western states on the east slope of the Rockies.
Question: How did you get started in publishing?
ANSWER: I’ve been writing for over 25 years. I started Father’s Press to publish and market my own books after years of frustration in dealing with publishers and agents. Once I got the business started, I started taking on other writers who had suffered the same frustration.
Question: What sets Fathers Press apart from other Christian small press publishers?
ANSWER: I think it is the level of risk that we’re willing to take with new writers. We take on books that other publishers won’t touch because they don’t see the marketability and profits that they want. We try to give new writers a chance to break in to the profession if their books are relevant, scripturally accurate and relevant.
Question: You’ve written another book, The English Man, about fallen angels and a murder investigation. How did you come to learn about the demonic realm?
Answer: When one studies the Bible long enough, you quickly see the role that Satan and the demons have played in the role of mankind throughout history. A study of the upcoming events of the end-times also illustrates their role in our future. There seems to be a distinct ignorance or apathy among both believers and non-believers toward them. This book was written to heighten people’s awareness of their relevance in today’s affairs.
Question: What prompted you to write OUR MISSING: Lest We Forget?
ANSWER: I’ve always been moved by the anguish and grief that parents suffer when a child goes missing. With the increased media coverage of that crime in recent years, I thought is important for people to see the inside workings of a missing child investigation so people would see the capabilities of the police and limitations that the police have to operate under.
Question: What are the warning signs of a stalker and how can a potential prey ‘get out of harm’s way’ before things get ugly?
ANSWER: The warning signs are too numerous to discuss here, and they are as diverse as the individual stalker himself, but any inappropriate behavior and uninvited contact should be questioned.
Question: Tell me about your experiences with the Amish.
ANSWER: I have lived and worked in rural areas where the Amish live and have studied their culture. My experience has been that they are a genuine and sincere people who try to live out their faith through their daily actions.
Question: What are some very effective crime prevention techniques for preventing child abductions?
ANSWER: The list is long, but some of the basic things are to educate your child very early on safety measures that will prevent them from playing or walking alone. Carefully scrutinize everyone who associates with your child. Most states require sex offenders to register with the state and list certain information about themselves. That information is public information and can be accessed through your local police department or Sheriff’s Office. That information can include their name, description, address, employer, hours of employment, and usually a photo of the offender. I encourage people to routinely print out that list and make it and the photographs available to neighbors, day-care providers, churches and schools since they usually don’t take the time of keep up with that registration. Parents should use cell phone cameras to snap a photo of their child every time they leave their presence for a while, such as going off to school, or going to play at a neighbor’s house. That will provide a current photo of the child’s clothing, hair style and physical features in case of an abduction that can be posted in papers and local news networks as well as in the Amber Alert System. Also educate children on how to take advantage of opportunities to escape. Most abducted children say after they are rescued that they had ample opportunities to escape, but were too intimidated by the suspect to attempt it. They should take advantage of the first opportunity to escape or make their plight known to other people they may pass by. There are many other things a parent can do, but the main key for keeping young children safe is to never leave them alone or in the company of anyone who is not physically and psychologically capable of defending them against a potential abductor.
Question: Are there any scams that lead to carjacking or home invasions that we should know about?
ANSWER: The ingenuity of criminals is endless, so the scams they use are very diverse. The main thing is to keep your doors locked at home and in your car. Don’t open doors for people that you don’t know or for salesmen whose services you did not solicit. By keeping your doors locked, home invaders are forced to attempt to force open your door and take you by surprise. If you replace the screws in the door jam and lock facing with 3” screws, that greatly increases the strength of the lock system which will give you more warning of a forcible entry. Since the police can never be there by the time the intruder gains entry, homeowners should use that time to secure a handgun and be waiting to defend themselves when the intruder enters. Drives should be constantly looking for escape routes as they drive in case they are attacked. If stopped at an intersection, never pull so close to the read of the vehicle in front of you that you cannot drive around that vehicle if you need to escape. Drive through red light-controlled intersections if you have to, but honk you horn and get away from the offender as quickly and as loudly as possible. This list is by no means all inclusive. If concerned, people should read many of the credible publications by experts in the field who will list many more techniques than I’ve mentioned here.
Question: What self-defense techniques really work against someone who jumps you from behind?
ANSWER: Here again, I can’t describe here the different techniques for defense of one’s self. To fully grasp the concepts, one should realistically see the techniques demonstrated and actually practice them in a controlled environment with a competent instructor and the proper protective gear. Many good instructors have put their thoughts in print. Most of it is free over the internet if you search for personal protection techniques.
Question: Did you serve in the armed forces? If so, what branch?
ANSWER: I never served in the military. My experience was in civilian law enforcement.
About the Author:
Mike Smitley was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but spent much of his youth on a cattle farm in southern Missouri. He is a retired police chief with over thirty years of service in all capacities of law enforcement. He currently resides in Missouri with his wife and two sons. He has a broad base of experience in all fields of public safety and municipal government.
For more books by Mike Smitley visit: www.fatherspress.com
Interview by – Liz McKeown
Mike’s books are available at all online retailers.
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