Friday, April 4, 2008

Meet Brandt Dodson - Interview & Book Giveaway

Brandt DodsonToday we’ve got another first! I’m thrilled to welcome my first male guest, author Brandt Dodson, whose new book is White Soul. Let’s meet Brandt!

THE BIO

Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is a board certified Podiatrist and the author of White Soul and The Colton Parker Mystery series from Harvest House Publishers. He resides in southern Indiana with his wife and two sons and is currently at work on his next novel. You can visit Brandt at www.brandtdodson.com.

THE INTERVIEW

JA: Your latest novel is White Soul. Please tell us about it.
BD: White Soul came about because I have a fascination with crime fiction and that’s especially true when the novel deals with organized crime. I think it’s one of the greatest scourges we have and one of the greatest drains on our economy that we’ve ever faced. Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that these groups make their money and grow their influence because they prey on the weaknesses of others. In short, because they know the temptations that many people face and are all to willing to capitalize on them.

Satan works the same way. Every one of us has been - and will be - tempted. Now we are not all tempted to sin by the same thing, but we all have our weakness. Even the most solid among us, will crumble if we do not keep our guard up as Paul warns us to do. Undercover officers face temptations as a matter of course. So when I decided I wanted to write a novel that confronts this issue, I could find no better vehicle than a novel about a Christian undercover officer who must deal with the temptations that surround him. To further add to the luster of the lifestyle he’s investigating, I set the story in Miami, the capital of flash and materialism.

In White Soul, Ron Ortega penetrates a group that is run by a ruthless drug lord name Ricardo Estevez. Estevez is trying to rebuild The Corporation (a real entity, by the way) in order to seize control of the drug flow into the U.S. and build new opportunities in the new, post-Castro Cuba. (Which we’re beginning to see) As his investigation proceeds, Ortega must answer the basic question: “Do the right thing? Or do the desired thing?”

JA: Your hero, Ron Ortega, is a cop torn between his family and his professional ambition. As someone who comes from a long line of police officers, how much of your personal experience were you able to put into Ron?
BD: In the sense that I grew up in a family of police officers and clerked with the FBI, I’ve been able to build the story off the psyche that cops seem to share as well as my own experiences. But other than that, the novel is built wholly off a mix of speculation and research. Which is not unusual, by the way. Mario Puzo is alleged to have once said he got everything he knew about Sicilian crime families from the public library. (Unfortunately, he didn’t have the internet)

Brandt Dodson - White SoulJA: What do you hope people take away after reading White Soul?
BD: That temptation comes at us when we are at our most vulnerable and that if we going to resist it, we must live close to God. “Abide in me,” Jesus commanded.

In White Soul, Ron Ortega is a what I call a “functional” Christian. His conversion is real, he attends church services, and might even pick up the Bible on occasion. But he is not maximizing the opportunities that God has provided. He isn’t living as close to God as he could and therefore, like a moth, he is drawn to the flame.

JA: By the way, I love book cover art, and I have to say the cover of White Soul is just great. Is that a gun I see in the clouds, or are my eyes playing tricks on me?
BD: I had the same question when I first saw it. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks. It’s a gun. I had an opportunity to meet the cover artist during the last ICRS (CBA for all of us oldies but goodies) and to tell him how much I have enjoyed and appreciated every cover he’s done. He just happened to have a mock up for White Soul with him and when he showed it to me I was ecstatic. When you write (or at least, when I write) I have an imaginary cover in my head. But I must say, the covers I have mentally pictured are in no way as good as the ones he does. He’s a very talented artist. I’m very fortunate.

JA: There are four books in your popular Colton Parker series. Do you have any more adventures planned for Colton? Is White Soul the beginning of a new series?
BD: I have several Colton Parker novels in my head, ready to go. But for the moment, my publisher has asked for some stand alones. White Soul is written as a stand alone, but could also be part of a series. I’ll have to see what develops. My next release, Daniel’s Den (January 2009) will be a stand alone and a straight suspense novel.

JA: I read that you were contacted by a porn actor after he read you first novel, Original Sin. What an awesome thing to be able to reach someone who isn’t the stereotypical “Christian fiction” reader! What’s the overall response been to your books?
BD: Very good. Very solid. My intent was to write for a male reading audience, an audience that has largely been neglected. In that sense, we’ve been successful.

My personal mission statement, as it relates to my writing, is to generate enough thought in the reader to have them go back to the Bible for more information. If I can direct my readers to become God’s readers, I will have completed the task that I feel He’s given me to do. The awesome thing about writing is that it covers the spans of time and space. I had a missionary in China recently contact me about an article I wrote over eight years ago. So you never know who your writing is going to touch, where it’s going to touch them, or how. I’m convinced that God meant for his people to be a reading people. After all, He wrote the greatest bestseller of all time.

JA: Besides being a successful fiction author, you’re a husband, father, and board-certified podiatrist. What does your family think about your literary life?
BD: They’re supportive. If they weren’t, I couldn’t do this. And I think they’re proud of me, but it hasn’t reached the point –yet- where my wife is willing to stand next to my chair while I have dinner and fan me with a big feather. (I say, “yet”. She’s says, “Never”) Karla and I have been married for almost 28 years. She still tells me to take out the garbage. To my sons, I’m just dad. And that’s a good thing to be.

JA: What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
BD: That I like poetry. I read Dickens, Eliot, and local Hoosier favorite James Whitcomb Riley. I think poetry adds to life and it can add to a better, more economical use of language in nearly any writing endeavor.

I also like to cook.

JA: What authors have had the biggest impact on you?
BD: Chandler, Hammett, and Robert B. Parker, for obvious reasons. But it was Dean Koontz who got me to reading again. I had just opened my solo practice and since patients don’t exactly beat a path to your door in those early years, I went to the mall and bought a copy of The Bad Place. I read it and was impressed enough to read something like 12 or 15 of his backlist titles over the next two or three weeks.

I’ve also been influenced by Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins, Ed McBain, and recently, Brad Meltzer and David Baldacci. From the classics, I like Poe (nobody, I mean NOBODY creates mood better than him), Dickens, Twain and London. (Dennis “Doc” Hensley turned me on to Jack London by opening up his work for me in a way I wished they had done when I was in school)

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
BD: I have a website which is probably the best way. I can be reached at www.brandtdodson.com. I answer all correspondence and keep the site updated. I also blog on Amazon and on Keep Me In Suspense at www.keepmeinsuspense.com.

I enjoyed speaking with you, Jennifer. Thank you for the opportunity.

Thank you, Brandt, and continued blessings to you in your writing journey!

JEN’S REVIEW

This is the first book I’ve read by Brandt Dodson, and I became an instant fan. When I picked up White Soul, I had just finished reading three chick-lits in a row, so I was ready for some serious action… some testosterone, if you will. Man, did Dodson deliver!

In undercover agent Ron Ortega, Dodson creates a character who wants to do what’s right, but is constantly reminded of what he perceives as his shortcomings. Entrenched in the decadent and dangerous subculture of drugs and organized crime, Ron is surrounded by temptation. Through twists, turns and non-stop action, Dodson delivers a compelling, energetic story that is sure to challenge and entertain readers.

WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of White Soul just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on April 11th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck!

17 comments:

luv2read said...

I'm glad I get to be the first one to leave a message. This sounds like a great novel. Enter me in the drawing.
spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Brittanie said...

Enter me please. :)
www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com

Carole said...

Okay, this is not the type of novel I usually read; but after Brandt's interview and Jen's comments, I'd love to try it. Brandt mentioned Ed McBain, one of my favorite writers of the police procedural. So thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

windycindy said...

Very interesting man and book. I completely agree with him about organized crime! It is hard to believe that it still exists today. I enjoy reading suspense books. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks very much.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Lesha said...

Very interesting! :)

tetewa said...

Would enjoy reading a good suspense, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

Janna said...

I've read one of Brandt's Colton Parker books and it was good - but I kind of like the fact that this one is stand alone, please enter me...

Janna
ryanx6[at]msn[dot]com

Audra Marie said...

What a fun interview. This sounds like a great book. :)

pootieposh said...

I would love a chance to read this book. Thanks for the contest!

Katie said...

this looks great!
kt_dug@yahoo.com

Susan Stitch said...

I would really like to be in the drawing for this book. I like Brandt's goal to turn his readers into 'God readers' by inticing them to investigate what the Bible says about issues. I think my husband would like this book, too. We love many of the authors who were inspirations to Brandt.
Thanks!
likes_to_stamp(at)sbcglobal.net

Carolynn W. said...

I love suspense, this book sounds really exciting, please enter me, thanks!

anne said...

Interesting novel that would be wonderful to enjoy. Thanks for this great giveaway. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

flchen1 said...

I'd love the chance to try this one!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Cee Cee said...

Enter me too!

Jennifer AlLee said...

And the winner is... Janna! Thanks to all who stopped by, and sorry it took me so long to post the winner. This one kinda slipped through the cracks!

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic