Getting personal with Roy Harper

Who is better cut out to write about escaping from Maximum Security and being an outlaw than someone who has lived through it all?

Roy Harper has been incarcerated in Mississippi since 1981 for armed robbery. He has gained nationwide notoriety for two highly publicized escapes from a maximum security prison in 1983 and 2000 and for his efforts in the courts to reduce brutality and injustice in American jails.


Please help me welcome Roy Harper to Roadie Notes……


This is Harper’s debut novel, the story of David “Tool” Roney, an outlaw on the run. SHANK is a novel of struggle, adventure and the complexities of justice.

1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

I finished the Tool’s Law series in the summer of 2008. 1,162 handwritten pages. I was 49, housed in Parchman’s Unit 32 supermax.

2. How many books have you written?

I’ve written three books so far. Two are published and one is being polished up. All crime fiction. Don’t know, at this point, if there is anywhere else I’ll venture to. They say “Write what you know”, and, hey, I know crime and prison.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc.

Me? I’m 59 years old – lucky so far – never married, no kids which may be my greatest downfall. Actually, I’ve never had a job in the free world. I’m a kitchen worker now. I hate it! Trying to get into Foundations and later welding or panel shop. Life could be better but right now it’s far better than a cell in Mississippi.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?

You know I think my favorite book is Heist. It’s like I turned myself loose – robbing and stealing. Got shot at and chased, shot back and ran for my life. Found a beautiful woman and she saved me… Was any of it real? What do you think?

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

My life and my mother inspired and encouraged me to write. From her and friends it was always “Write what you know about”. So I did. And I will do more.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I like magazines. Especially ones you learn from, like Discover, National Geographic or Men’s Health. I enjoy the content and sometimes keep an article or information for later use.

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?

Not really a tradition but a finished book is a major accomplishment and calls for a pat on the head and a tad of excitement. Get high or drink and jam the radio. For me its classic rock or old school country. It’s a celebration!

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

In the cell. That’s where I write. Sometimes with music or sometimes not. The main thing is to focus. Sometimes I can do it and sometimes not.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

You know what I’d change about my writing? A means to record it. Yeah, like a word processor or something. Something to record and check my spelling, thesaurus, dictionary, etc. What an improvement that would be.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

I would love to have met and known Louis L’Amour. Hey, the man was bad ass with westerns. One of my sisters, her kids and my mother in her final years lived in the Tennessee, the Cumberland mountains. Mr L’Amour wrote much about the area in his Sackett series. Beautiful piece of the world.

12. Where do you live?

My name is Roy Harper and I’m a prisoner here in Colorado.

13. Pets?

Wish I had pets. Birds and a dog. I have thing about birds and the dog? Well, I need a Welsh Terrier. Why? Read Heist and you’ll see.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is you can say, be or do anything you want without fear that someone might find out you’re lying. And me? Yes, I will tell you a whopper or two.

15. What is coming next for you?

ext will be the prequel to Heist. Dustball needed a life.

Sorry about the time off, folks. I know it’s been quite awhile I’ve been out of touch – the transfer to Colorado has been long, trying and disruptive. But for now… I’m back.


ROY HARPER has been incarcerated in Mississippi since 1981 for armed robbery. He has gained nationwide notoriety for two highly publicised escapes from a maximum security prison in 1983 and 2000 and for his efforts in the courts to reduce brutality and injustice in American jails



Heist’s law 2

2 thoughts on “Getting personal with Roy Harper

  1. This interview doesn’t really show it, but Roy Harper is a brilliant writer. I hope readers will give his books a chance and not reject them because of his address. You’ll never meet a guy more loyal to his family, friends and standards.



    Roy is an expert at his craft and has something to say. His incarceration restricts all online access, which is incredibly unfortunate for those of us interested in the lives and minds of talents like Roy.

    Get to know this man, not just as a writer but as a person. He’s a rare human being. And he needs a friend or two. You may have to go to the antique shop to find a Bic and writing tablet, a few of those square sticky thingies folks in the last century used to send mail. But you won’t be disappointed.

    Roy Harper
    12750 Hwy 96 LN13
    Ordway CO 81034


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