I write fiction because it's more true than what I write for my newspaper.
That's not to say I make up the facts for my stories in the Philadelphia Daily News. But while news stories must deal with the specifics of a situation, novels are a kind of composite of everything I've learned.
Four to Midnight and Sons of the City are novels about Philly street cops. But they're really about the city itself and in a way, about every city.
What's in the novels is what I couldn't put in the paper. They reflect 15 years on the streets of Philadelphia, in its neighborhoods, with its people.
As a reporter for the Daily News, I've ridden along with police officers hundreds of times, through every kind of neighborhood. I've seen just about everything. Cops have joked that I've got more time on the job than some of the younger officers.
I think this ongoing experience has given me a lot of insight into the way cops see the world. And my friends in the Philly PD have also helped me make the books more real.
For example, in Four to Midnight there's a shootout between cops and drug dealers in a high-rise public housing project. A cop who has been involved in several fatal shootings assisted me with how the shootout would unfold, step-by-step.
Over the years, I've covered all kinds of stories politics, organized crime, racial conflict, breaking news, you name it. If it made people spill their coffee at breakfast, I probably wrote about it. For a while, I even had a humor column.
These days, I mostly write about police, often doing longer stories on a particular unit. You can read some of the more recent ones on the DAY JOB page on this web site.
I love writing, of any kind, and helping other people to become better writers. I've served as an unofficial writing coach at the Daily News, and I've traveled to other newspapers around the country to talk about writing.
Before coming to the Daily News, I worked on the Charlotte Observer, and before that, newspapers in Annapolis and Havre de Grace, Maryland
Havre de Grace is a small town, not too unlike Coalinga, California, the small town where I grew up.
Neither of them are much like Philly, which is my adopted city. I love it here. It's a real place. The people are real. I think a lot of Philadelphians don't really appreciate what they have. But then, who ever does?
Read some news stories written by Scott.