At the young age of 21, David Watts began his career as a patrolman in New Jersey, not knowing what kind of adventures and challenges would lie ahead, including becoming a published author.
"After a year on the job, I was drafted and went into the Army. Because I had that experience of just a year, they put me into the military police for two years," he said.
After returning, Watts went back to the police department and a year later, when a new squad was set up, he became part of the special investigation unit for a few years. His job changed once again after moving to the prosecutor's office.
"Approaching 30, I looked around and decided that maybe there was a better way," Watts said.
Without a full college degree, a requirement of a claims investigator, he fought to obtain the job. Four hours of interviews and tests later, he got the job and remained there for six years.
"That has sort of been the story of our progression. That is why the title of the book is 'Accidental P.I.,'" Watts said. "We seem to have run into and overcome obstacles throughout our life. Many times we were told you cannot do that, or no, and sometimes even that is not appropriate and we would find a way to get it done and we would do it."
In 1976, he had the investigation itch again, and the couple obtained their private investigation license in New Jersey. They worked together, Watts drove and took the still shots, while his wife, Linda took the video.
"Then we would come back home, she would throw some laundry in and I would dictate and she would type," he said. "We gradually began to hire people and worked that to a very viable business. We had 12 full-time employees."
The couple's clients included major insurance companies, and large corporations that were located in New Jersey. They worked the New York to Philadelphia corridor.
That mentality of always pressing forward led the couple to building a house on Captiva in 1999, and then selling it after Hurricane Charley in 2004. It was an true accomplishment for them, due to the couple starting their journey with only $230 at their wedding.
"We are married 54 years in a lifetime of facing challenges and doing our best to overcome it," Watts said.
Last April he decided to sit down and write "Accidental P.I.," which took a year and a half to write. The book offers vivid descriptions of his life as a private investigator highlighting his cases and perspective on the legal system.
Join Watts at MacIntosh Books & Paper, 2330 Palm Ridge Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 for a book signing.
The book came to fruition because Watts felt they had an interesting life to share.
"I'm in my late 70s. I don't work at the pace that I did, so there is more time for reflection," Watts said.
With the experience of writing articles for the Lee County Bar Association's magazine, and Southwest Florida Business Today, it dawned on him that if he added to the articles he could create a book.
"You have my life in your hands. Every word is true," Watts said, adding that some names changed and some stories were construed because of contractual agreements.
The Watts reside on the island during the winter months. He still works, as well as provide volunteer presentations about identity theft.
Watts is currently working on his first murder mystery novel.