Frederick Douglass Reynolds is the author of the multi-award-winning book, Black, White, and Gray All Over: A Black Man’s Odyssey in Life and Law Enforcement.
He is a retired Black LA County Sheriff’s homicide sergeant. Born in Rocky Mount, Virginia, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan, he became a petty criminal and was involved in gangs. He joined the US Marine Corps in 1979 to escape the life of crime that he seemed destined for. After a brief stint in Okinawa, Japan, he finished out his military career in southern California and ultimately became a police officer with the Compton Police Department. He worked there from 1985 until 2000 and then transferred to the sheriff’s department where he worked an additional seventeen years, retiring in 2017 with over seventy-five commendations, including two City of Compton Employee of the Year Awards, and two California Officer of the Year awards. He lives in Southern California with his wife Carolyn, and their daughter Lauren and young son Desmond. They have six other adult children and nine grandchildren.
BREW Question: Did you love reading books when you were little? Why or why not?
Author’s Response: I have always loved reading. I don’t know why, but most likely it stems from my Aunts Arlene and Shirley, who were studious, well-read women, taking a lot of time with me and introducing me to the beauty of the written word.
BREW Question: At what age did you start reading books? What were your best memories of that time?
Author’s Response: I started reading at 3-years-old. I would lay on the floor, face in the palms of my hands with a newspaper on the floor in front of me. I moved on to Marvel comics shortly after that.
BREW Question: What was the first book you loved reading? Why?
Author’s Response: The narrative of Frederick Douglass. Because I was named after him!
BREW Question: When did you first think about writing your first book? Why?
Author’s Response: I have always loved writing, but I believe I started seriously thinking about it after I started in police work. Combined with my personal experiences and drama-filled journey to get there, I knew that they were stories that people needed to hear,
BREW Question: What was the greatest obstacle you’ve encountered when you were writing your memoir? What made you overcome it?
Author’s Response: Finding the time. Actually, it was procrastination. But I had a heart attack in 2020, and as I lay in the recovery room I realized that I almost checked out before I finished the book. Hopefully, it won’t take something as extreme to get me started on the next book!
BREW Question: What pieces of advice can you give aspiring authors? What worked for you?
Author’s Response: When the inspiration hits you to write–do it. Find the time. Carry a small notebook with you to jot down ideas that come to you. Or at the least, dictate ideas into your phone when they hit you.
BREW Question: Who are the authors or what are the books that had the greatest influence on your own writing? Why?
Author’s Response: Robert Beck, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass. I love Beck’s artistic, singing prose, Poe was a master of the macabre and suspense, not to mention the father of the detective novel, and I was named after Mr. Douglass. Plus his great oratory skills leap off the paper when reading his books.
BREW Question: What are your current or future writing plans? What can readers further expect from you?
Author’s Response: I plan to start on another book. Soon.
Know more about our author, Frederick Douglass Reynolds, and his book via the following links: