Negotiating Like Lives Are on the Line: The Essentials of Crisis Negotiation for Use in Everyday Situations (Author Interview)

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration for writing this book was to help people improve their interpersonal skills. On a daily basis I deal with individuals who are violent, suicidal, or mentally ill. People often ask me how is it possible to communicate with people in these states. My answer is that with proper patience and training anyone can do it. I then ask them, if you had the ability to effectively communicate with people in a state of crisis, how could that help you communicate better in your daily interactions?

Having improved negotiation and conflict resolution skills have the potential to make you a better boss, parent, spouse, friend, and co-worker. Learning these skills will give you more confidence when buying a car or debating contentious political topics. Everyone should have the confidence to articulate their opinion without the fear of confrontation. My goal is to make people comfortable having uncomfortable conversations without becoming adversarial. 

What exactly is it about and who is it written for?

The book covers multiple interpersonal topics such as empathy, active listening, emotional management, body language, and dealing with addiction and mental illness. Each skill is broken into short easy to read chapters. Each skill has a unique story demonstrating proper use. The book is written for anyone who is interested in becoming a more confident and competent communicator. 

What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?

I hope readers will walk away with a renewed interest in interpersonal communication. I want them to engage in face to face or voice to voice communications. I want them to read and interpret body language and feel comfortable dealing with conflict. Resolving conflict through compromise will lead to trust and understanding. 

How did you decide on your books title and cover design?

The books title came from my love of negotiation. I consider myself a student of all types of negotiation, whether it is business, crisis, or diplomacy. Politicians, Mediators, Arbitrators, and business professionals often tout the high stress high stake negotiations they are involved in. I would often shrug and say, it's not like anybody is going to die. That is when it came to me, the skills I use do have the potential to save lives. I wanted everyone to understand that our words and interpersonal connections can, and do save lives. Hence, Negotiating Like Lives are on the Line.

The cover art came from a photograph taken of my colleague and I while we were negotiating with a suicidal man. He was on top of a multi-story structure. The Los Angeles skyline and city hall are the backdrop. The image was just surreal. One of my co-workers took the photograph while we were engaged in dialogue and he gave me permission to use it. I just knew that it was the perfect compliment for my story.

What advice do you have for fellow writers-other than run!?

Ha, definitely a great question. I would tell them to graciously listen and accept everyone's feedback. However, at the end of

the day it is your book. Have fun and enjoy the process. Accept that you will make mistakes and it is a marathon. Don't cut corners on things like editing and format. You put lots of work into telling your story, make sure it flows well and is grammatically correct for your audience.\

What trends in the book world do you see--and where do you think the publishing industry is heading?

I am still a newbie in the book world but, I do see more authors going the indie route and continued growth in audiobooks. As a newer author the majority of my book sales came from friends and family. Many of them were very honest and admitted that they are too lazy and don't have time to read. I was told many times if you had an audiobook I could listen to it in traffic or while on a walk or doing chores around the house. Since the launch of my audio version I have seen sales increase and have been invited to do more interviews and podcasts. 

Were their experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book?

Absolutely, the whole book is based on my life and career experience. How my experience as a Hostage Crisis Negotiator can help others be a better communicators. I was fortunate enough to have these experiences and want to share them with you in the hopes it improves your quality of life. 

How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books are you similar too?

My writing style in my opinion is definitely informal and casual with a splash of humor. I wanted my writing to reflect my natural conversational style. Books that are similar to mine would be, Chris Voss' Never Split the Difference and Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The authors of these works use the skills they learned in their careers in the FBI (Voss) and Navy (Willink & Babbin) and demonstrate how they translate into the civilian world. 

What challenges did you overcome in the writing this book?  

I learned that I had the ability to finish and produce a product that added value to peoples lives. There was several days where I contemplated never publishing my work because I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested. I discovered that the ability to teach through storytelling is an effective and wonderful tool. 

If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?

Learn to negotiate like a pro. Negotiating Like Lives are on the Line is a practical guidebook that provides readers with the knowledge and skills to become an effective negotiator. Read a book that offers strategies, advice, and insights based on years of experience. Real world experience and effective solutions for dealing with conflict resolution, emotional management, and leadership. This book is not theory it has actionable steps you can apply immediately. This book will teach you how to negotiate with confidence!