Chad Webster, CMPD Officer and Writer - protecting our community while looking out for kids everywhe
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
What led you to write the book, Mystery Muffin & Soda Pop Slooth?
I have enjoyed writing ever since elementary school, but had trouble with reading and reading comprehension. I always liked writing fiction assignments in school and carried that with me into adulthood. I wanted to write something for kids in 4th or 5th grade that would make them want to read and put the electronic device down and take them into the fictional world I’d created. In a technologically advanced climate, I feel that is a pivotal age for making/keeping kids reading. I don’t want kids to forget that all the TV shows, movies, and apps wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for reading and writing. I want them to read and write! Now it is a great tool for that and to bridge the gap between police and kids/schools! I want kids to know they are capable of great things. Plus I wanted to give young girls a role model or someone to identify with and look up to that wasn’t a princess or a gun-toting, fighter in a post-apocalyptic world. I wanted her to be real.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I had the idea for the main character, Mystery Muffin, a police officer’s daughter who solves neighborhood mysteries, about six years ago. I spent time creating the fictional town and characters over a few years and then a few more years to finally finish the book. Even after it was done it took a year of editing and rewrites before it was ready to go to print. This all happened while being a full-time police officer, husband, father of four kids (three daughters and a son), and the rest of the craziness of life we all deal with.
How did you find a publisher?
For the last few years I have purchased Writer’s Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published. This book is filled with potential publishers! It still takes a lot of research and a lot of waiting even after you find one that will accept unsolicited and un-agented, first time authors. But if you want to get published, you need this book.
Where did you get the inspiration for the story?
I have combined my childhood and my childhood neighborhood with where I currently live and some of the principles and values I’d like to see in children these days. I like the idea of children thinking for themselves and getting to the bottom of a story and/rumor all while dealing with the trials and tribulations of growing up. I wanted to use a concept that is universal – the werewolf.
Can you tell us the basic premise of the story?
A new neighbor has moved into the town and the rumor is that he is a werewolf. Mystery Muffin and Soda Pop Slooth, her best friend who lives across the street, investigate the legend until they find the truth. Not only is the entire town counting on them, but so are the police! They deal with fact vs fiction, rumors, bullies, and facing fears during the course of the investigation. They have to let the evidence lead them down the path to the truth and not be swayed by what they think the truth should be: things aren’t always what they seem.
How have your fellow officers reacted? How has your community reacted?
My fellow officers have been very supportive and wonder how I found the time to write. They also joke with me about not being smart enough to write a book! Some of them love the title, Mystery Muffin and Soda Pop Slooth, while others playfully laugh at it. Many ask me how it’s going and am I writing more. Yes, I’m working on the second book in the series. Many community members will ask me how the book is going or ask if I can engage their kids in the neighborhood or at their school. Most are surprised that a cop would write a book for children!
What advice do you have for other police officers who would like to write?
I would tell them to make writing a habit, a routine, much like we do exercising and training for the job. Another big thing is that we all have great ideas, some of us have even started a story or writing project, but that won’t get you published – you have to finish. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time through. I went through six drafts before it was ready for publication! Get the concept down and then go back and make it the way you want it. If you don’t, you will spend years rewriting a single chapter! Writing is like reverse directing a movie. See what you want to see in your head and then make it come to life on the page. The more you write, the better you get.