Arnaldo Lopez, Jr. has been an employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York for twenty-eight years and was formerly employed as a dispatcher with the NYPD. Mr. Lopez is also a speaker and trainer, handling subjects as diverse as terrorism and customer service. He created the civilian counter-terrorism training program currently in use by New York City Transit and many other major public transportation agencies around the country.
As well as writing, Mr. Lopez is an artist and photographer, having sold several of his works over the years. As a writer his articles have appeared in Railway Age magazine, The Daily News magazine, Homeland Defense Journal, andReptile & Amphibian magazine; scripts in Little Archie and Personality Comics; and short stories in Neo-Opsis magazine, Lost Souls e-zine, Nth Onlinemagazine, Blood Moon magazine, and various other Sci-Fi and/or horror newsletters and fanzines. He was also editor of Offworld, a small science fiction magazine that was once chosen as a “Best Bet” by Sci-Fi television. Chickenhawk is his first novel. Connect with Arnaldo Lopez Jr. on Facebook and Twitter.
Chickenhawk is an urban crime thriller that showcases New York City’s diversity, as well as the dark side of race relations, politics, sexuality, illness, madness, and infidelity. Eddie Ramos and Tommy Cucitti are homicide detectives after a serial killer that manages to stay below their radar while the body count keeps climbing in a city that’s turning into a powder keg.
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When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
Pretty early on actually! I’ve always loved story- telling and using my imagination. Books and writing fascinated me and I naturally fell in love with the written word. Becoming an author was just a normal extension of that love and fascination.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
I was a voracious reader as a child, my favorite genres being science-fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction books about nature and animals.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
Chickenhawk is a thriller/crime novel about two homicide detectives trying to stop a serial killer that is targeting young, male prostitutes in New York City. I was inspired to write this novel after observing the comings and goings of the young, male prostitutes that plied their trade in and around the subway station I was working in at the time.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I first did a general outline of the story that I wanted to tell, then I did detailed outlines of all of the major characters. The creative process after that was pretty basic as the characters practically wrote the novel themselves as they interacted.
It certainly did! Hours and hours of sitting in police precincts, talking to cops, detectives and assistant district attorneys. Not to mention learning about rare guns from gun experts, procedure from medical examiners and emergency medical technicians … yes, a lot of research. But it was all worth it!
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
A writing schedule? No, I’m no where near that disciplined. My writing process is very rough and tumble. I write on the subway to and from work, on the bus, at home in bed … I might decide to write at the spur of the moment or I might set it aside for months. Sometimes I may put away a current writing project and work on something completely different!
What was your goal when writing this book?
My short-term goal was just to finish it, but my overall goal was to create something entertaining and thought-provoking.
What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
Oh, I’m definitely the daydreamer and fantasizer! It’s who I am and it’s what I do.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?
Yes. Tell your story first and foremost. Forget about dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, you can always get to that later. Don’t get so bogged down with the writing that you forget to tell your story.