Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Brandt Dodson Interview(Jan 08)

Regular readers of The Bedford Review know that I am a big Brandt Dodson fan. I consider him one of the best Christian and crime fiction writers in the field today.

Brandt has graciously agreed to a second interview. His first can be found by clicking here.

My reviews of his books are listed below.
Original Sin
Seventy Times Se7en
The Root of All Evil
The Lost Sheep

The Bedford Review(TBR): Your next novel, "White Soul", is your first book that is not a Colton
Parker story. Was this a harder book to write since you did not have the
established background to work with?

Brandt Dodson(BD): Yes and no. It was definitely a harder book to write because I am trying to
push the envelope with each one; always trying to improve and always
attempting new things. This book is also a very different book in the sense
that it is written in third person, more complex, etc. So all of those things made it challenging.
But as far as background goes, I was still able to draw on that for "White Soul" since it is, in essence, a crime novel. True, it is a bit more realistic and deals with some very topical issues, but the book still centers around crime and criminals. Never the less, despite having my personal experience from which to draw, I still had to do a significant amount of research for "White Soul". The plot centers on a real group known as "La Corporacion" - "The
Corporation". This is a Miami based, Cuban-American entity that was very successful in drugs, loan-sharking, and murder-for-hire schemes. Its founder was recently convicted in federal court, but that has raised concerns that the group may splinter into many - more dangerous - gangs, and that they will be even more powerful as time passes. If this comes to fruition, it
could be a real concern.
I've written a foreword in the book to explain some of this and to set the

TBR: Can you tell us anything about "Daniel's Den" (the book that follows "White Soul")?

BD: Like a lot of writers, I want to do something that will interest my readers and yet be different than anything I've done before. Daniel's Den is that book. Without giving too much away, it is not a crime novel. It is a high-octane suspense story that will center on a man and a woman, strangers, who meet serendipitously, and who must learn to lean on each other - and God - to survive their common threat.

TBR: Will your non-Colton novels feature stand-alone characters?

BD: I think so. At least, that is certainly the plan. But I've learned that characters can take on a life of their own. For example, in "Seventy Times Seven", Sean O'Connor, the IRA gunman, is a secondary character who appears largely as Colton's alter ego. In short, Sean is to Colton what Archie is to Nero Wolfe, or Hawk is to Spenser or Watson is to Holmes. That was the plan,
anyway. But then he took on a life of his own. I've had readers write to tell me that they really liked Sean and want to know more about him. I may have to do a novel that is devoted to him alone, someday.

TBR: Are you planning more Colton Parker novels?

BD: I have three planned right now. But I've signed for a few stand-alones and will complete them first, before revisiting Colton. I love the PI genre and I Colton is fun to work with. I enjoy being able to sit down after an exhausting day and see how he's going to react to a particular situation and what line is going to come out of his mouth next.

TBR: "The Lost Sheep" was the first Colton Parker novel that featured a different city (in this case, Las Vegas). Will future stories focus on Colton on his home turf?

BD: "The Lost Sheep" was in the planning stages when I began writing "Original Sin". I knew I had to bring his relationship with Callie to a climax and "Sin City" seemed like the place to do it.
But his home is Indianapolis and that will be where he lands most of the time. Being the eleventh largest city in the country, Indianapolis has its share of crime, back-alley brutality, and boardroom shenanigans to keep him busy for years to come.

TBR: What changes have you seen in the Christian Fiction field since you started?

BD: Quality. There was a time when someone mentioned a "Christian" novel even other Christians would snicker. The "message" was often a sermon, with poorly developed characters and only the barest hint of a plot line. That is changing rapidly. But I also see an increase in the breadth of offerings now. When I wrote "Original Sin", there was only one other writer, John Laurence Robinson, who was writing PI novels or any novel, for that matter, that had a noir-ish
feel. Now, I hear that several publishers are asking some of the writer's in their houses to write PI novels. Add to that, the fact that we're seeing more science fiction/fantasy (though not enough), more suspense, and more novels that appeal to men and that have more complex characters, and I think that CBA fiction is well on the way to carving its place on the bookstore
shelf. In fact, may librarians now tell me that there fastest growing segment is CBA fiction.

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