Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Betsy Randolph loves writing, but lucky for lead-footed motorists, she has another outlet besides her ticket book.
Randolph’s first novel, a murder-mystery titled Tokens of the Liars, is about to hit bookstores. Randolph, of Guthrie, said she leaned on her experience for much of the book’s content, but that experience goes well beyond law enforcement.
Randolph’s protagonist is Cat Carlyle, a radio journalist who lives in Guthrie and works in Oklahoma City. It’s a role Randolph knows well. Before she got into law enforcement, Randolph worked as a radio journalist and has an associate degree in journalism.
The journalism background gave Randolph a basic writing background, but she didn’t start the novel until an injury kept her home from her job as a trooper. An avid reader, Randolph decided to take some online writing courses, one of which was an advanced mystery writing class.
“They had us do a lot of character sketches, so I had all these characters,” Randolph said. “I decided I might as well go ahead and write a book.”
Authors like Tony Hillerman and Mary Higgins Clark were among Randolph’s favorites, and their books helped her find her voice, she said.
“I have a whole library in my house with shelves and a rolling ladder and everything,” she said.
Randolph’s experience as a trooper helped her add a level of realism to the crime details in her book that other authors would have to learn through painstaking research, she said.
“I don’t understand how people do write murder mysteries if they don’t have the law enforcement background,” Randolph said. “There is a little of that psychology that you have to understand how the bad guys think. I love the puzzle of a mystery.”
Randolph has already begun writing a sequel to “Tokens of the Liars.” Her hope is that Cat Carlyle will develop a following and inspire a series of books.
She’s also working on developing a new series of books whose protagonist is a female state trooper.
She’d like to incorporate her other passion, horticulture, into a novel at some point. Randolph is a master gardener with an associate degree in horticulture.
“Everything I’ve done, God had his hand on,” Randolph said. “Looking back, I have all these life experiences I can draw from.”