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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Spotlight on Brandt Dodson and The Lost Sheep


Brandt Dodson comes from a long line of police officers and was formerly employed by the FBI. He is the author of the Colton Parker Mystery series from Harvest House Publishers and lives in southern Indiana with his wife and their two sons.

By Brandt Dodson


1. This is the 4th book in your Colton Parker mystery series, one that's been highly recommended. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The plot for The Lost Sheep has been lingering in the back of my mind since I began the series. Colton has struggled with his inadequacies as a father since the untimely death of his wife, and given his stubbornness, I knew I was going to need a big canvas on which to portray his story. There wasn't any one thing that inspired this particular book, other than I knew I would need to set this book in a city known for its larger-than-life reputation. Las Vegas filled the bill.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Colton and Mary? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

I was employed with the very office of the FBI that Colton was employed at and I rely heavily on that for his background. I understand how the FBI works, the mindset of the many good men and women who make up the bureau, and I have an appreciation for the value that any law enforcement officer has for the rule of law. It (the law) isn't a concept for them. It is a real, breathing thing that keeps society together. You'd have to have that kind of belief if you were going to agree to lay down your life to defend it. I've tried to portray that part of a cop's sense of duty, especially when I'm writing about Mary and Colton. This particular aspect becomes especially poignant in The Lost Sheep.

On the other hand, Colton tends to rely on Mary as much as Mary relies on Colton. The two have developed a bond that can often exist between to cops who work together as closely as Mary and Colton. That is where they differ from me. I tend to be a loaner. I may work closely with my coworkers, but I tend to keep my thoughts to myself and act on them when I think it's appropriate. With Mary and Colton, we often see them talking things out, and often disagreeing. But when a decision is made, they usually support each other and then move ahead.

3. What themes exist in The Lost Sheep that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I tend to write from the base of a theme. In fact, I had developed the theme of "Original Sin" before I had the characters, setting or anything else. In The Lost Sheep, I want the reader to overtly see how much God loves them and how far He will go to redeem them. In a sense, Colton's pursuit of his lost daughter takes him on a paralleled journey which gives him a better understanding of what Jesus did for him. But on a more subtle level, I hope that the reader understands (and this has been the overarching theme of the entire series) that you can't wander so far away that God can't reach you. In The Lost Sheep, Callie falls into a pretty dark hole. But Colton doesn't care where she is, he'd going to save her regardless of the cost to himself.

4. What were your favorite parts to write? Your most difficult?

The first chapter is absolutely critical for me. If I can't hook the reader with that, I've lost them. Usually, I don't have much of a problem with the opening scene, but in The Lost Sheep, I had an extremely difficult time. My problem was in getting the reader to care about Colton's situation. I wrote and re-wrote that chapter a dozen times before I got it right. The next hardest, was the last chapter. After all, if you hook the reader with the first, you have to let them off the hook with the last.

My favorite parts? That would have to be Marty. I saw him fully conceptualized before I wrote him. His sense of being fully comfortable in his own skin intrigued me from the outset.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book will be out in March of 2008 and will be my first stand-alone. It is titled "White Soul" and will feature Ron Ortega, an undercover DEA agent who penetrates the Cuban "mafia" in Miami. This book was far more difficult than any I've written. Part of the problem was in keeping the names of my protagonist straight. Since he's undercover, he has two names; his real one, and his undercover identity. But I love the story and I've tried to capture the detached brutality with which organized crime operates, and the risk that undercover work can entail.

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Thank you, Brandt, for being in the spotlight. Readers, feel free to leave a comment for your chance to be entered in the drawing for a FREE, autographed book. This week, the contest is open anyone worldwide.


Deborah said...

awesome i have the other 3 books in my TBR pile. please enter for this one!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Deborah. I'm so pleased to hear that you've gotten the first three in my series.
I think you'll find The Lost Sheep to be the logical next choice in the series. Although anyone can come into them at any point and do well without having to read them in order, my hope was that The Lost Sheep would offer something extra for those who have followed the series.

Robin Bayne said...

You have been tagged!!!! Check out the rules at my blog, Between Sundays.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Well, this week is easy. Deborah, since you're the only one who left a comment, you win.

Email me with your mailing address and how you would like the book to be autographed, and I'll have Brandt get it right out to you.