PUYB Blog Tour: Interview with Brandt Dodson + Win a Kindle Fire HD!

Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he discovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.”
Later, while in college, one of Brandt’s professors would echo that teacher’s comment.

“But life intervened and I found myself working at a variety of jobs. I worked in the toy department of a local department store and fried chicken for a local fast food outlet. Over the course of the next several years I finished my college degree and worked for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, and served for eight years as a Naval Officer in the United States Naval Reserve. I also obtained my doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, and after completion of my surgical residency, opened my own practice. But I never forgot my first love. I wanted to write.”

During his early years in practice, Brandt began reading the work of Dean Koontz.

“I discovered Dean’s book, The Bad Place, and was completely blown away by his craftsmanship. I read something like 13 or 14 of his back list over the following two weeks. It wasn’t long after that I began to write and submit in earnest.”

Still, it would be another twelve years before Brandt was able to secure the publishing contract he so desperately desired.

“I began by writing the type of fiction that I enjoyed; I wrote edgy crime thrillers that were laced with liberal amounts of suspense. Over the years, I’ve begun to write increasingly more complex work by using broader canvases and themes.

Since securing his first contract, Brandt has continued to pen the type of stories that inspired him to write when he was a boy, and that have entertained his legions of readers.

“I love to write, and as long as others love to read, I plan on being around for a long time to come.”

Brandt Dodson’s latest book is the crime thriller The Sons of Jude.

Visit Brandt Dodson’s website at www.brandtdodson.com.

------------------------- Interview ----------------------------

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing is a joy for me. I've always liked learning new things, playing different roles, and since I can't act, that leaves writing. But it's also challenging if you do it right. I like to plow new ground; push the envelope. In that sense, writing can be an unforgiving mistress.

The Sons of Jude was a challenge because it could have become very pedantic very quickly. I wanted to avoid that so a lot of pre-planning went into the novel which is another challenge for me since I tend to be a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer.

There were days when the slogging seemed all uphill. When that happened, I would take time off to read the work of a favorite author. Not much, but a paragraph or two, maybe a chapter, and then I'd be inspired to continue. It's a trick I've learned over the years and one I pass on to new writers.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I have a new publisher for The Sons of Jude. Monarch Books, a division of Lion Hudson, is a British publisher. They were looking for an American crime novelist and one of their editors knew my agent. When they approached him and told him what they were looking for, he mentioned me. They asked me to submit a proposal and I ripped it off to them in a couple of days. As I mentioned earlier, The Sons of Jude had been laying in my head since the fall of 1986 so it didn’t take a great deal of time to put the idea together for them. I heard back a few months later with a contract offer and got to work writing the book. Although it's written as a stand-alone, I pitched it as a series.

And therein lays the trouble.

Series are great for readers, but they can be exceedingly difficult for authors. Like actors who play the same role all the time, a returning character can become a bit stale for the writer. I've experienced this before, so I decided I would do what the late Ed McBain did and feature a police district as the protagonist. This would give me a chance to create new characters while also giving the readers the chance to follow their favorites. It's a win-win.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I had written off and on for a number of years, but never submitted very much. After the first couple of rejections I knew I didn't have what it took, so I stopped submitting and began learning how to write. When I thought I had improved, I would submit another work and the rejection would be less caustic. Sometimes, there'd even by an encouraging hand-written note. This was the cycle I followed for a number of years. Write, submit, get rejected, learn more, write again, and re-submit. When I wrote my first novel, Original Sin, it quite literally poured out of me. I wrote it longhand in one week, and it resulted in a three-book contract the next. So although I spent time in learning how to write, when the time to publish came, it came quickly.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

It's like seeing your newborn child for the first time - on a smaller scale. I remember my publisher sending me a single copy by UPS on the day it came out. It arrived in a blue wrapper with a birthing announcement attached. I've long since forgotten the wording, but it mentioned how a new birth was exciting and they (the publisher) wanted to celebrate it with me and tell me how they would stand by me throughout its life. They did. They're a great group of people.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I'm currently writing Chicago Knights, the second in the Sons of Jude series. I don't have a firm publishing date yet.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

Wow. I never thought of it like that.

I hope it entertains the reader. That's sorely needed in a world filled with terrorism, financial collapse, disease, and crime. But I also hope it helps the reader to think. At its heart, The Sons of Jude is about making choices - moral choices. It's about the line - thin though it may be - that exists between them and us. Between those of us who play by the rules and those who think they have the right to do whatever they want at our expense. If the readers of the book take more time in assessing their decisions - or hold our elected leaders to the same standard - then this book will have contributed in some small measure to making the world a better place.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

To stand firm. Be true to your convictions. This doesn't mean we can't compromise, but there should be a set of core principles that we don't surrender regardless of the cost.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you and to meet your readers. I hope they enjoy The Sons of Jude.

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