To round out this week, here is the #3 spotlight. We haven't had a lot of comments so far, and there are THREE FREE BOOKS to give away. So, tell your friends and spread the word. Encourage them to enter for their chance to win. What a great gift to start off the New Year right. Winners will be announced on January 2nd.
Today's guest has made a name for herself through her encouragement and friendly nature. She is always there for her readers and fellow authors who need a little pick-me-up from time to time. With such a sweet spirit, how could anyone not love her? She's been a dear friend to me, and I'm honored to feature her here today. Of course, I'll also be joining her now as a fellow Heartsong author. :)
Brandt Dodson is the author of the Colton Parker Mystery series from Harvest House, and comes from a long line of police officers. His upcoming novel, "The Root of All Evil" will be released in January, with a fourth in the series, "The Lost Sheep" to be released in July of 2007. Brandt lives in southern Indiana with his wife and their two sons, and serves as an elder at The First Christian Church.
1. This is the third book in the Colton Parker Mystery series, a set that seems to be doing very well for the suspense genre. Where did you get the inspiration behind this particular story?
We seem to live in a culture that is very materialistic. People judge each other on the basis of the car they drive, the house they live in and the school that their kids attend. Unfortunately, none of that matters in the scheme of things and it isn't a problem that is confined to the wealthy. With that in mind, I was reading an article in the paper about a wealthy family in New York that was fighting over an inheritance. Eventually, one of them hired a hit-man to kill the other. The story was so fantastic and unbelievable that I knew the old adage "truth is stranger than fiction" was true. So, I wrote the book.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced the character of Colton Parker? What aspects became traits that were his and his alone?
Like Colton, I was employed by the Indianapolis office of the FBI. Unlike Colton, I was never fired for beating a confession out of someone. But beyond that, a good deal of my life experience is used to shape his character. I've thought as he does (prior to giving my life to Christ) but I wasn't raised in foster homes as he was. I think that any character has some of the writer's DNA in them. After all, I thought them up and they come out of my experience as it is filtered through my imagination. But that doesn't mean they are self-portraits. I don't have Colton's temper, for example, and I'm not a single father raising a rebellious daughter – and I thank God for that.
3. What themes exist in Root of All Evil that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
I hope, as I do with all my fiction, that the reader comes away with the understanding that the Bible is correct. When God's word says something, or counsels us in a certain way, we need to pay attention. So when we read that the "love of money is the root of all kinds of evil," we can take those words at face value. Of course, that's the theme of the novel. But I also want the reader to know that this problem isn't confined to the wealthy. It is a disease that can afflict all of us, especially when we let ourselves get caught up in the pursuit of things, rather than the pursuit of God. Even the poorest among us, can love money to the exclusion of everything else. One of the unanticipated themes was that "the meek shall inherit the earth." After all of the jockeying and scheming that the characters go through, that theme becomes very clear.
4. What was your most difficult part to write? Your favorite?
I had a hard problem with Pork Chop's daughter. Without giving too much away, I wanted to capture the challenge of Down's Syndrome while also showing the innocence and the open heart that most Down's Syndrome patients have. They are absolute joys to be around. No subterfuge, no ulterior motives. What you see with them is what you get. The most enjoyable part is Pork Chop himself. His character was fun to develop and more fun to put on paper. I had a really good time with him.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
I have been signed by Harvest House for more in the Colton Parker series and for another series as well. The next Colton Parker novel is titled "The Lost Sheep" and will be released in July of '07. In the book, Callie and Colton's relationship finally come to a head, as she runs off with a charismatic cult leader and ends up in Las Vegas where most of the book is set. The novel will put Colton face-to-face with evil in a way he's never imagined. It will also force him to answer the question of his relationship with Mary, as well as his own spiritual standing. Of all the books, this one was the most challenging - and the most fun!
In March of '08, Harvest House will release the first novel in a new series. The novel is titled, "White Soul" and will be set in Miami. The current plan is to release two novels a year; one in the Colton Parker series and one in another series. Needless to say, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Thank you, Brandt, for joining us today. Hope everyone enjoys the interview. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chane to win a free copy of The Root of All Evil.