Police author, rocker, performing at Taste Edmonds

Sgt. Alan Hardwick in band One Love Bridge
By Brian Soergel | Aug 13, 2019
Courtesy of: Alan Hardwick Alan Hardwick, right, in a promotional photo with One Love Bridge during a tour of Kauai.

After almost 30 years as a cop, he’s seen some crazy stuff. Lived some, too.

So why not write a novel sharing some of his experiences? Alan Hardwick, an Edmonds police sergeant who supervises one of the two day-shift patrol teams, has checked that off his list with “Never Been This Close to Crazy.”

He’ll be signing copies 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Edmonds Bookshop, 111 Fifth Ave. S. You can also catch him 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park.

He’s a rocker, too

With police work and writing his second novel, you wouldn’t think Hardwick would have time for music. He does. He’s also in a classic-rock band.

“My first passion remains music,” he said. “Two friends and I started our band, One Love Bridge, a couple years ago, pulling me out of the musical abyss where I only played for personal therapy. Now we perform several times a year with original music and a couple of hundred covers to choose from, ranging from U2 and Prince to Sublime and the Beatles. Oh, and the Police, of course.”

You can get a double dose of Hardwick’s talents this week. In addition to his signing at the Edmonds Bookshop, his band performs 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, on Taste Edmonds’ Alaska Airlines Dining Stage.

Co-author

Like most indie authors, Hardwick self-published his book – under the Edmonds Kind of Day-ish moniker “Daley Street Books.”

“I received about 20 rejection letters before realizing any positive responses likely meant in two years it would still only be a possibility for my book to hit the shelves,” he said. “It was a no-brainer at that point.”

The book’s cover lists Kristen Martin as “co-creator.” She was a good choice, as she’s  Hardwick’s wife. They live in Edmonds.

“It’s co-author without having two authors,” said Hardwick, 51. “In reality, she wrote some content in the book, but mostly was a content editor along with chief ‘Hey Alan, get this thing done’ person. Now she’s working on getting me to finish the sequel. She’s good at that.”

The book?

Here’s the concept, in a scene set by the book’s news release:

“When a single 40-something Human Resources professional with no kids and a short to-do list meets a guitar-playing cop with a bunch of kids and an unstable ex-wife, the stage is set for a love story with a whole lot of crazy going on.”

“I decided to write this novel for a few reasons, the first of which was to simply try and bring some order to my own personal chaos,” said Hardwick.

“By developing the characters in the book, I was able to wrestle with both my personal experiences and the things I’d witnessed as a police officer. Writing allowed me to shape some of those experiences into something useful not only for my own catharsis, but also for an audience who has been through their own crazy times with family or work relationships.”

The story is told from alternating first-person perspectives between the two main characters, Alex Hill and Nikki Myers. The ex-wife in the story is the mother of Hill’s children, who is undecidedly wicked or a woman who struggles with some form of undiagnosed mental illness.

That may not be the plot you were expecting from a cop.

But Hardwick’s experiences are in there, if you look.

“I’ve met countless people during the creation of the book who craved to talk with someone who’s been there, someone who went through something terrible or difficult and somehow managed to come out on the other side with their sanity still intact,” he said.

“Along with that, I wanted to write something that promotes healthy conversation about mental health, both for first-responders and for their families. This is a community laden with unusual additive pressures over time, all of which tend to get put away rather than dealt with in some tangible fashion. I believe it’s important to watch the watchers, to take care of the people who regularly and selflessly take care of others.”

Hardwick said he has personal experience addressing mental illness with people around him, both by means of his occupation as a police officer and within his own family.

“Like so many of us, members of my family struggled with depression, anxiety, and more, including me. Today, police officers and medical first-responders have become the front line for addressing mental illness on the streets, often accompanied with drug abuse. But whether it’s drugs, childhood trauma, or just plain DNA, we all need to become more free to talk about mental illness and its impact on families.

“There’s lots of talk about removing the stigma of mental illness. This requires being able to be honest about the impact on those who care for the ones who struggle.”

Hardwick joined the Edmonds PD in September 2001. As a detective, he founded the Boise Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit in 2000, then went on to be one of the founding members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) at the Everett Resident Agency, where he was a lead case agent for dozens of international terrorism investigations.

This year, Hardwick said he’s enjoyed books by Robert Dugoni, James Comey, Gillian Flynn, and G.M. Ford, who he calls “the master of simile and great at describing the Seattle underbelly.” Ford’s well-known “Where in Hell Is Wanda Fuca” was instrumental in opening up Hardwick’s own creative edge, he said.

Hardwick said his book will resonate with a wide spectrum of readers. “Everyone knows someone who is just a little bit off,” he said. “I hear people talk about their crazy uncle or how they’ve lost track of their psycho sister. And while these are inappropriate labels, it’s how people feel. I believe it’s important for the survivors of mental illness to be able to speak openly, just like those who struggle with it directly.”

“My own therapist put it bluntly to me,” he said. “The crazy side of me is just like the crazy side of you. We’re all a little bit crazy in some way.”

Aside from the serious themes in his book, Hardwick said it’s mostly a lot of fun. “Between raising my own five children and seeing the things I saw as a police officer, I had a treasure trove of scenes to utilize for the story. People do some seriously goofy things, and my own kids were certainly no exception.”

 

 

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