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Why Gil Miller Wrote SPREE

In a nutshell: to have fun.


cover art

In a nutshell: to have fun.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. There always is, isn’t there?

I fell into writing crime fiction accidentally but honestly. I’d read crime fiction for some time before realizing that’s what I was reading. I thought I was just reading thrillers—which in a sense I was—but it turns out I’ve always been interested in what criminals do and, more importantly, why they do it.

That’s the basic question I ask with every book I write.

It all began with my Rural Empires setting. I live in Northwest Arkansas and read a local op-ed piece about us being part of the pipeline of drugs making its way east from Mexico—primarily, I suspect, because of our proximity to Interstates 40 and 44. Those novels began because, after reading that piece, I wondered what would happen if a local good ol’ boy became involved in the meth trade.

At some point while writing the two initial novels, I was reading Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough, the basis for the Johnny Depp movie about John Dillinger. The book itself is larger in scope than the movie, as it covers diverse criminals such as Bonnie and Clyde, the Ma Barker Gang, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Machine Gun Kelly, among others. One of the common themes to these crime waves was the lack of communication among police departments in the thirties.

This came from lack of cooperation as well as the fact many of these departments had only crude radio equipment at best, if they had anything at all. It was the Great Depression, and money was in very short supply. Add in that most citizens sided with these criminals because they robbed the banks they despised—John Dillinger made a point of handing out money to people so he could hide among them—and it was no wonder they could go so long without being captured or killed.

So I asked myself: Could someone get away with a crime spree like that in modern times? Police departments are better funded too, their units having not only radios but computers with access to criminal databases.

I solicited the opinions of several people, and the common answer was my characters probably could evade police if they didn’t stop moving. So Spree covers a period of less than a month, in which my characters stay on the move the entire time.

I had a lot of fun writing Spree. The characters were a lot of fun because they don’t take themselves too seriously.

One last thing: After writing it, I decided to see if anyone had gotten away with a long crime spree. Turns out lots of them have, one lasting as long as seven years.

Sometimes, life is stranger than fiction.

author photoGil had a normal upbringing, which means his parents aren’t to blame for him going into crime (fiction). Instead, he blames a steady diet of movies, shows, and books, from Miami Vice and Scarface in the ’80s to Breaking Bad and Justified in the ’00s. To cap it all off, he discovered authors such as Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Don Winslow, and the late, great Elmore Leonard. Gil is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop, whose members sometimes wonder where he gets his inspiration. He makes his home outside Fayetteville, where he is at work on the next of his Rural Empires novels.

Gil maintains a blog at

Twitter: @authorgilmiller. FB:

You can get: Spree on Amazon  Spree on Barnes & Noble

I’d like to thank Gil for stopping by to share the story behind SPREE. Most interesting. I can remember being fascinated by Bonnie and Clyde and Dillinger. What do you think, peeps? Gil is the guy to ask!

Perilously yours,


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