Interview with KM Rockwood

Welcome to Julies Book Review! KM Rockwood is visiting JBR today! 

Musa is giving away some great prizes, take a look to the right of this page. So lots of GREAT items for a AWESOME giveaway!

We are all very glad you came here to JBR. Can you tell us a little about your self?

My employment background is varied. I worked in heavy industry, both steel fabrication and fiberglass manufacture, as a laborer. After I was injured in an industrial accident, I looked for less physically demanding  positions, and eventually was hired in a medium security state prison, where I supervised an inmate work crew. With some more education and a teacher’s certificate, I moved on to teaching GED in several correctional facilities and now teach special education in an alternative high school.

In my work, I try to feature characters  who seldom get a sympathetic treatment in fiction, like Jesse Damon, the protagonist in my crime novel series. He’s made some bad decisions in his life, but the consequences are way beyond those most people see, and he remains a decent person despite his years in prison. While of course all the characters are fiction, I draw on people I know and life experiences to create them.

What genres do you write?

I like writing crime fiction. There’s often a mystery element to it, as there is in Steeled for Murder and the other books in the series, but it’s the human factor drives the story. Some of my work strays into paranormal –Halfbreed Werewolf is an example of that, as are some of the short stories in Dealing with the Demon. And since romance is an important part of  life, a romantic subplot is often an important part of my work.

As a reader I love all genres but my followers want to know what to except from your books. Action, adventure, romance, sex, magic??

I hope they can expect a good story! My stories are set in gritty surroundings—factories, jails, small urban areas on the downhill slide. Jesse is trying hard to make it as a convict paroled on a murder charge who knows how lucky he was to get a job as a machine operator in a steel fabrication plant. He is determined to beat the odds and make a life for himself outside prison. He’d love a normal life with a family and a home, but he isn’t sure that will ever be in the cards for him. Meanwhile, when someone is murdered, Jesse is an obvious first suspect.

Who is your favorite character(s) from your books?

Jesse Damon.

What is your newest release? can you tell us a little about it?

My newest release is Buried Biker, the third in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series. (Did I mention that I rode with a bike club, otherwise known as a motorcycle gang, in my callow youth?)

What about future projects? any hints?

Sendoff for a Snitch, the 4th Jesse Damon Crime Novel, is in its final draft right now, and should be released at the end of the summer. After that is Brothers in Crime, in which Jesse finally confronts his older brothers about their roles in the murder in which they abandoned him to take the fall.

After that, I have another character, Amanda Corey, demanding I pay attention to her and finish Murder Moves In. Amanda is a 50’s something widow who finds herself in financial difficulties and takes a job as a resident manager in an older, three story courtyard apartment building in Chicago. And what a building it is! Some of the long-time residents are getting ditzy. Or maybe they’ve always been that way. A young man with Asperger’s syndrome has been working there part time, and he needs to keep his job. The last manager was fired because residents thought he was a pervert, and he resents Amanda for taking his job. There’s a marijuana grow operation in one of the apartments. And the first day she moves in with Roxanne, the benign Rottweiler and her cats, Amanda finds a dead body on her sunporch.

Can you give aspiring authors any advice?

Enjoy what you’re doing! Your are your most important critic. While of course it would be nice to sell lots of books and get rich off it, I think the most important factor is writing to please yourself. That said, have trusted people read your work and listen to what they have to say, rather than trying to defend or explain your work. It has to stand on its own! Sharing your work with others through publication is a huge thrill.

How about some "fun" personal stuff!

We live on seven wooded acres adjacent to a camp in a rural area and share our home with two rescue dogs. Hamish is a chocolate labradoodle who was snatched from a shelter by a pure-breed rescuer who was there to pick up another dog but couldn’t bear to see this wonderful, goofy large puppy put down just because there was not enough room for him. He’s named after Hamish McBeth, the lead character is a Scottish mystery series. And Vinny came from a rescue program where dogs from the local shelter are placed with prison inmates for rehabilitation and training. He came with the name Vinny, and it suits him. He’s like a guy from the old neighborhood in south Philly. We also have six cats, none of them deliberately acquired. When they show up, we feed them and take them to be neutered and get a rabies shot. If they stick around after that (and many of them don’t) they become “our” cats.

We spend as much on bird food, dog food and cat food as we do on people food.

What book have they read that touched you deeply? and why? (yours or someone elses)

Hands down, book Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan is the book that has touched me most deeply. My mother and an aunt realized after 4th grade that I couldn’t read, and the school was not addressing the issue meaningfully. I spent a miserable summer being drilled in phonics (which the school was not using) and returned to 5th grade and a dreaded assignment. We were all to select an historic novel and write a book report. Reluctantly, I went to the school library with the class and came home with Snow Treasure. My mother insisted I try it on my own before she helped me with it. And you know what? I could read it! And I loved it! I’ve been reading, both for pleasure and for practical purposes, ever since.

Favorite past time activity?

I don’t know if it’s reading or writing.

a favorite book or author you can recommend (not your own)?and WHY?

I love Margaret Yorke’s work. She died last November, in her home in England. Her psychological suspense isn’t really mystery, but it is crime fiction, and I find it totally engrossing.

Barbara Seranella wrote the Munch Mancini mysteries, featuring a female car mechanic with a history of prostitution and drug addiction, are favorites and show characters with the same types of dilemmas as Jesse. She died unfortunately young, waiting for a liver transplant.

Favorite place to travel to?

My favorite trip was one I took with my oldest daughter to Tanzania. It wasn’t the world’s sanest venture (although we did have enough sense to go with a tour group led by someone who spoke Swahili, and didn’t try to navigate on our own. We didn’t encounter many people outside the group who spoke English for days, from the time we left Dar Es Salaam until we returned there. But we saw wonderful wildlife, breathtaking scenery and fascinating people.

What kind of music do you listen too?

The music I listen to usually depends upon what I’m working on at the time. With the Jesse books, it’s “outlaw” country music (Folsom Prison Blues, I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, The Perfect Country and Western Song, etc) For Amanda, it’s “Golden Oldies” rock.

And finally where can we find your books?(please include any links you want including buy links)


Musa Publishing:


Barnes & Noble:


Well I know I learned a lot and have added to our TBR list. I hope you all have had fun as well as well. Thanks you again KM, for coming and talking with me here on JBR. I hope you had fun and I hope to see you again. Good Luck and wishing you lots of success!

Julie Ramsey

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