From Private Investigator to Author

Published by Women Writers, Women's Books | March 15, 2017 | Written by April HigueraReply

I knew I wanted to be a singer at age nine, and so I practiced singing every day. At age 13, I learned to play guitar and began writing songs. My mission: write a song of love, peace, hope that would heal the world. A grand dream that led me on a journey of frustration and despair. Although I was awarded a scholarship by the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame as an Abe Oleman songwriting winner back in my heyday in New York City, my music recordings went unsigned and unnoticed by my intended audience: the world.

When I was a teenager, I also knew I wanted to write books and vowed to have my first published by age 50. I was not certain how to write my message as a novel. In my 30s, I thought about writing my memoirs. I began drafting at least five different books, but finished none . . . such a daunting task, and if you don’t know what you really want to say, impossible.

I was frustrated, depressed, and confused about how viable I was as a singer-songwriter and never “made it,” but I forged on for many years believing in my talent. At age 38, I finally quit and started a “real” career. I went from a messenger of love through songs to a defender of civil rights as a criminal defense investigator. I investigate criminal cases on behalf of persons charged with violent crimes on county, state, and federal levels (including death penalty homicide cases).

My career as a criminal defense investigator has taken me on an incredible journey of compassion and understanding of all types of people and life situations. Little did I know this dark and emotionally draining career in true crime would inspire the words and stories that espouse my message of love. Last year, at age 54, I completed my first book in three months time. The book is called “Making a Case for Innocence: True Stories of a Criminal Defense Investigator.” It is a book of love cloaked beneath true crime stories of heinous murder cases that I investigated first-hand, and how justice could prevail if only we would all do “the right thing.”

Also, being a female private detective, a sub-motive of my writing is to inspire and empower women to seek careers of interest without regard to gender, moving beyond gender stereotypes and into whatever “man’s career” they desire, and then feel free to write about it. My path was a most round-about and unexpected journey to becoming an author.

A friend told me I needed to get on Twitter and start building a following before releasing my book. So, I did. Not only has creating a social media presence promoted the book, it has promoted me as a defense investigation expert. Families of “wrongfully convicted” persons have been reaching out to me to investigate their cases (pro bono, of course). So now that I’m doing that, they are offering me content for my upcoming book in return. Media outlets are reaching out to me to contribute content for their blogs and write articles on best practices for investigation. I also write commentary on the human aspects of the criminal justice system and what it means to work on behalf of defense. My book turned out to be a giant business card for expanding my brand.

I have discovered that writing non-fiction is irresistible when you have a passion to say something you feel is important.  Of course, you must also honor your own voice in saying the words out loud. I can imagine for fiction writers, that expressing an emotion or fantasy in words feels as freeing and satisfying as singing a song you composed before an audience. It is therapy, and it allows others a voice of their own to do the same.

Best part of all, I am finally sharing my message with the world through my writing. Ahhh … this feels so wonderful. Though my bank account has not yet been enriched, my heart has. I feel accomplished and I know that my writing is making a positive difference in people’s lives. I finally hear my own voice as the world is reflecting it back to me. Thank you!