The following excerpted piece appears in full in Shots, The Crime and Thriller E-Zine.
by Michael Stephen Fuchs
When I wrote my first novel, I knew I wanted to include an awful lot of gunplay including complex shootouts, a variety of weapons, and exacting tactical details. Luckily, I had an unfair advantage in this: I was American, and I owned guns myself. In the end, I simply gave my two main protagonists handguns that I myself already had. This made it awfully easy getting the details about them right. I also hope it gave the guns, the shooters, and the shootouts an authenticity that would otherwise be lacking.
With American crime and action writers if you know what to listen for, at any rate it’s easy to get a sense that they are writing from first-hand experience. With Brits, it’s equivalently easy to get a sense they are writing straight from research. This is because, generally, at some point in the book, the British writer will let slip one small but enormously glaring boner about the makeup or operations of firearms. When this happens, it’s like getting a brief glimpse around the edge of the cardboard building facade in a Hollywood set: nothing else has changed, all the other details are still right. But, suddenly, the whole thing just looks irretrievably fake.