Englewood Police Officer Steve Siegal wrote his original novel “Cop Cohen” while he was still on the job. Now that he is retired he had the time to complete the sequel, “Contra Legem — Against the Law” which was released in August.
“I have always liked to write and I always wanted to write a novel, but I never really had time to devote to it when I was with EPD,” said Siegal, who writes under the name of S. Michael Siegal. “I finally decided if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done, so I wrote the first novel about a rookie police officer in his first phase of the field officer's program while I was still with EPD.”
He said the first novel took a lot of time to write, edit and publish under the name of M. Michael Siegal. So he decided to wait until he retired from the Englewood Police Department in August 2016 to write the sequal. He said it took him about a year to complete the follow-up novel to “Cop Cohen” titled “Contra Legem - Against the Law.”
When he is working on a novel, he said, he tries to set time each day to work on the project, but most often he will get an idea and begin writing almost immediately before he forgets details.
“When I am working on a novel I usually develop my characters first. Then I work on weaving the characters into the flow of the plot in each chapter,” he said. “While I do love to write, I have never had any formal training. I just learned and developed my skills by writing.”
Siegal was born in Denver, went to Denver North High School for a time and eventually graduated from Cherry Creek High School.
He continued his education at in the 1970s at Metropolitan State College, now Metropolitan State University. He majored in public administration and graduated in 1981.
He entered law enforcement as a member of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and moved from there to the Englewood Police Department, where he served for more than 31 years.
“It was an outstanding career and I particularly enjoyed my time with Englewood Police Department,” he said. “The biggest changes I saw during my career with EPD were the fact that everything was done on paper when I started and that transitioned to doing the work on computers. But much of the job of working with people remained the same.”
He said he admires and respects all those who wear a badge or have worn a badge and he respects their dedication to serving and protecting the people of their communities.
His law enforcement career proved to be a storehouse of ideas he drew on as he developed his first two novels.
“I drew heavily on my experiences for many of the details in the first two books,” he said. “I just reviewed my memories for details as I developed characters and events. For example, a supervisor in the book may have characteristics of two or three of my supervisors. Also, I included some of the things I remembered from places I worked as an Englewood officer as the foundation of some of the places I describe in my books.”
He now is working on a very different sort of novel.
“I am looking at writing a psychological thriller that is loosely based on a true story,” Siegal said. “It is something I always wanted to do and figured it is a good way to take a different direction in my writing.”
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