Interview with Ray Ellis, author of 'N.H.I.: No Humans Involved'

Ray Ellis began his law enforcement career with the Orange County Sheriff's Department in Orange County, California. After working for a number of years in the maximum security facility, he transferred to patrol working along Orange County's coast as well as the inner canyons and barrios. After 8 years he moved to Idaho and continued his law enforcement career, serving as an instructor for the Idaho POST Council.

Ray was first ordained into the ministry while living in Orange County and now serves as the Associate Pastor in his home church in Nampa, Idaho. A former United States Marine, he is a public speaker, communicating to groups of all sizes on the topics of community and personal safety. Since 1999 Ray has been a primary instructor for the Idaho POST Academy – Police Training Institution for Idaho- instructing on subjects of Arrest Control, Cultural Diversity and for the last five years exclusively on the topic of Instructor Development, where he teaches other officers to be POST certified instructors. He is currently serving as the lead sex crimes investigator for the agency where he works. He has been married to the same woman for 27 years and has three children; two sons and a daughter. Ray lives with his family in Idaho.

Ray’s debut novel, a work of urban fiction, N.H.I.: No Humans Involved, was released in March of this year.

You can visit Ray online at or connect with him on twitter at or Facebook at!/pages/Ray-Ellis-Author/116322698426928.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Ray. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, N.H.I.: No Humans Involved?

I began writing back in 1995 after serving a few years as a law enforcement officer, but like most writers, I had had the dream of writing since childhood. As for my current novel, n.h.i., the germ of the story began percolating in my heart in the spring of 2007. Looking at the world of law enforcement from the inside, I began to wonder what it would look like to have a storyline that explored the conflicts of emotion experienced by cops, the contradictions and prejudices that go hand in hand with the profession.

Can you tell us why you chose your title?

n.h.i.: no humans involved deals directly with one of the pervasive prejudices of law enforcement. Like most professions, law enforcement also has its own language. As police officers we have the tendency to think of ourselves as that thin line of protection standing between society and its criminal element. Along with that mindset can come the ‘us verses them’ mentality.

I chose n.h.i. as my title because it high-lights one of those basic prejudices we as cops can fall prey to. The thought that there are certain types of people or people-groups that is of a somewhat lesser quality, no humans involved.

Why did you believe your book should be published?

From its inception I believed that n.h.i. was a story that needed to be told and published. As an active duty police officer I asked myself the question, “What would it be like to experience a really bad guy doing something really good; or if a really good person did something really bad?” The answer to that question stuck with me. I felt that as a society we have a dearth of police shows and books about police officers and law enforcement, the question for me was what would it be like to have a story experienced from a real life perspective, the feelings of anger which battle against the need to restrain one’s self in the face of the inhumanity done to man by man. To not only ask the question what does it feel like, but bring readers inside the cop’s head and allow them to see and experience those struggles and feel with him the victory and sometimes the defeats that accompany it.

We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

One word, well actually two, social media. The first step was to create a presence on Facebook. My publisher created an author’s page on Facebook then created a blog and linked those together. After this he instructed me to create an identity and make a presence in the e-world.

As a result I created Urban Fiction Unleashed and began to explore the world of urban fiction as told from one, a position of inspiration, and two, from the perspective of an active duty sex crimes investigator. Between Facebook, Twitter, and blogging I have had a little time leftover to do speaking engagements to local groups. Starting in June I will do my first ever blog tour, which I am very much looking forward to doing.
What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

I’ve heard it compared to the writings of James Patterson from the police story aspect and a little like Ted Dekker from the inspirational side. But it is different from both these in the sense that it comes from inside the cop’s head and emotions. It asks and deals with the why and the what were you feeling at that moment kinds of questions.

Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Page 157: Nate has walked into the ICU of the local hospital; his partner is unconscious due to a bullet lodged in her brain. He’s struggling with guilt over not having been there when the shooting went down and adjusting to the rookie partner the department has placed with him. At this juncture of the story Nate is in a low point, his partner’s hurt, the case has stalled and he is beginning to question his faith on a level he’s never had to before.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, n.h.i. is book one of the Nate Richards series which is planned for six books total. The second book, d.r.t.: dead right there, is due out in the fall of this year and book three, i.a.i.: internal affairs investigation, is being written as we speak.

Thank you for your interview, Ray. Do you have any final words?

Yes, thank you very much for your time. I hope the readers find my work as exciting and fulfilling as I found it in the creation of them and that these characters will become old friends that they revisit time and time again.
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