JOHN O’ROURKE: MANY PEOPLE DON”T KNOW HOW DANGEROUS IS A JOB BEING A COP
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
John O’Rourke is the next interesting guest of our interview section. He is a retired New Jersey trooper, who turned out to be a very good writer. On October 7 his new book Jersey Shore Thrill Killer: Richard Biegenwald (True Crime) will be released. Specially for the blog John presented the cover of the book, which looks great!
– John, What is your new book The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer: Richard Biegenwald (True Crime) about?
– The book is about Richard Biegenwald who was coined the “Jersey Shore Thrill Killer” by the prosecutor in Monmouth NJ because his killings were for the thrill of killing. Biegenwald, was a problem youth who at a very early age was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. He was in and out of mental institutions from age five until he was sixteen. After being released he continued to get in trouble and ended up fleeing to the south where he stole a car and did a short stay in county jail until being released when he turned eighteen.
In December of 1958 he shot and killed his first victim and was sentenced to life in prison; however he was released in the mid-1970’s on parole. Once out of prison he killed a number of people, mostly young teenage women. His attorney believes Biegenwald worked as a hit man and killed upwards of one hundred people.
– How you decide to write the story?
– I have a friend of mine who works for a publishing company in NJ and he suggested I follow up my first two books with a true crime narrative. I did some research into several different crimes which occurred in NJ and stumbled upon Richard Biegenwald. When I researched him I found he was mentioned in just about every book I read on serial killing, but there had never been a book written about him. So I decided he would be the subject of my next book.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The biggest challenge was trying to get information on the crimes Richard Biegenwald had committed. Biegenwald never really spoke about the specifics of his crimes. He was a bright man and kept this information to himself. So, I had to rely upon the investigators accounts as well as the prosecutor and Richard Biegewald’s defense attorney for insight into the crimes and the man himself.
– Tell us something more about your main character?
– Richard Biegenwald is an interesting character. He was very bright-his IQ was well above average-and there was something about the man which attracted young ladies. According to his attorney he appeared to others as non-threatening and this may have been the reason he was successful luring innocent young women into his car.
– Is it close to someone from your real life?
– I’ve dealt with a number of criminals and murderers throughout my career. Non, however were quite like Richard Biegenwald.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I signed the contract to write the book in June of 2013 and submitted the manuscript in July of this year; so, just over a year to do the research, interviews and write the narrative. This was much easier of an assignment than my first two books.
– What about your other two books: Jersey Troopers: Sacrifice at the Altar of Public Service and New Jersey State Troopers?
– I had not envisioned myself writing any books quite frankly but rather stumbled upon the writing process by wanting to pay tribute to the fallen troopers in the NJ State Police. The publisher (The History Press) liked the idea and signed me to write Jersey Troopers but wouldn’t guarantee the second book unless the first book did well. A month and a half after the book was released they called me up about writing the second book.
These books memorize those NJ Troopers who died while protecting the citizens of New Jersey. I felt their personal stories needed to be told and that’s how these books came about.
– Who are you?
– I am a retired trooper who is now working in the private sector doing private security consulting as well as being the head of security at a high end Golf Club in New Jersey. In between security consulting and leading the security department at the club, I venture into book writing. Right now I’m researching several crimes I may be interested in writing about.
– What are your writing habits?
– While writing “The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer” manuscript I would wake up at 6:30 in the morning and be at my desk by 7am to begin writing. Depending on my day’s schedule I would spend at least two to three hours writing.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– The book hasn’t hit the book stores as of yet, the release date is October 7. My fingers are crossed for interest in the book. Yes I do plan on writing another book and it will be in the True Crime purview.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– Interesting that you ask that question. For my first two books I did very little as I foolishly expected my publisher to do the majority of the promotion. Don’t get me wrong they did a great job marketing the book, however I didn’t realize how important it was for writers to push and promote their own work. I recently read an article about M. W. Phelps and in the article he spoke about how he had to do the majority of his marketing and the extent he went in promoting his first book and all his books. This opened my eyes so I am now actively seeking venues for presentations and media sources for interviews. Plus I am now on facebook and twitter and pursuing other avenues for getting the word out about the book. I still have some time as the book doesn’t come out until October.
– You worked as a trooper. Which is the most brutal crime that you witnessed and will never forget?
– Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many crime scenes and dead bodies throughout my career they all seem to blur together. The weapon which tends to make the visuals the most painful is that of a shotgun.
– What kind of memories left to you such a tough job?
– Being a trooper was very rewarding and satisfying to me. Since I was a young child I always wanted to be a trooper so getting to become one was a thrill. I always enjoyed wearing the French Blue uniform of a Jersey Trooper. The job did take a toll on me in terms of working odd shifts and having to work on holidays and weekends, while my family was home. The job also hardens you a bit because of all the horrific things you see. It also brings an awareness to you that bad things happen out there on a daily basis. It make you appreciate what you have.
– Why sometimes the citizens and the state don’t respect such a dangerous job as to be a trooper?
– I think many people simply don’t know how difficult and dangerous a job being a cop really is. Also, the law enforcement leadership in NJ doesn’t do a good job reaching out to their constituents. Many people in NJ have no idea what the state police do and the role they play in state law enforcement. Law enforcement leaders should do more to build relationships with their communities.
To find out more about John visit his
Take a look at his books
New Jersey State Troopers, 1961-2011: Remembering the Fallen (NJ) (The History Press)
Jersey Troopers: Sacrifice at the Altar of Public Service
The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer: Richard Biegenwald (True Crime)
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Tags: author, crime, interview, JOHN O'ROURKE, New Jersey, Richard Biegenwald, The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer