Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks: Brandt Dodson

Please allow me to introduce you to another author from Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks. The tales in Hoosier Hoops, the newest anthology from the Speed City Indiana chapter of Sisters in Crime, all involve one of Indiana's greatest obsessions: basketball.

Today, we're meeting Brandt Dodson, author of "Requiem in Crimson". Brandt is a man of many talents. Among his previous jobs: working for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, serving as a Naval Officer in the United States Naval Reserve, and even getting a doctorate in Podiatric Medicine. His passion, however, is for his writing.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for "Requiem in Crimson"?

A: Like most things in my life, it was happenstance. I stumbled into it.
I was in the process of beginning a new Colton Parker novel.  I did not have a title, but I knew the story would have to involve Colton doing a personal favor for Mary Christopher, his former FBI colleague and developing love interest.  Like most of the time when I write, I tend to put the piece down so that I can come back to it at a later time and see it with fresh eyes. While I was waiting for this novel to brew a little, I was approached by a member of the Indianapolis chapter of Sisters in Crime about doing a short story for the Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks anthology.  I was honored to be asked, so I dusted off the first chapter of the new Colton Parker novel and developed it into a shorter piece. I've never been a greater outliner when writing, preferring the 'seat-of-the-pants' approach.  I adopted that approach here, too.

Q: On your Web page, you say that your English teacher encouraged you to write. Tell us more about that.

A: I've been fortunate in that I've had a lot of encouragement in life. My parents were the kind that revered education and reading and read to me when I was a child. Their encouragement led me to the world of books. I'm convinced that my love of reading led me to writing.
At several points along my early school career, I had a succession of teachers who saw in me something that I didn't see in myself. Consequently, whenever we wrote short stories or essays in English class, the teacher would invariably pull me aside and encourage me to pursue writing. This happened in grade school, high school, and in college. In the latter case, my writing instructor knew I was looking at medical school but took the time to tell me: "If you don't write, you'll live to regret it." I didn't listen as well as I should have, but it's never too late. I'm writing now and have been blessed with the opportunity to traditionally publish several novels and short stories and to see a play adapted by a dinner theatre. I continue to write because I don't know how I could stop. It's part of my DNA.

Q: What do you know now that you are published that you wish you'd known before?

A: Oh, my. Where do I begin?
I wish I knew that marketing is as important as writing a good book. In my early years I was writing under the delusion that my publisher would produce the book I'd written and get it to the stores and libraries and organize publicity tours and all the rest.  They didn't. If I had known that, I would have started marketing the book while I was writing it. Nevertheless, it still did pretty well and has led to several others.
I wish I'd known that publishing was going to change as radically as it has.
I wish I'd known that editors and agents want to find writers as badly as writers want to find them. It would have saved me a lot of grief.

Q:  If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

A: What kind of story would you like to read, but can't seem to find?

Q: Okay, so you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?

Published by Blue River Press.
A: I read a great deal of non-fiction, particularly biographies. I'm reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, No Ordinary Time. But I also read a great deal of fiction. I just finished reading Michael Connelly's The Brass verdict (great book) and I am reading two other novels simultaneously: Black List by Brad Thor and Silent Night by the late Robert B. Parker and his agent, Helen Brann. I've even just started Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's outside the genre I normally read, but so what? It's good.

Q: What is your current project and can you share a little of it with us?

A: I am writing Chicago Knights, the second in the Sons of Jude series. The series debuted last year with the first novel, The Sons of Jude, for which the series is titled.  The novels feature a rotating cast of characters in the Chicago Police department. Chicago Knights is a character-driven story that tells a tale of sacrifice and redemption.

Brandt Dodson is the creator of the Indianapolis-based Colton Parker mystery series and is the author of several crime novels and short stories as well as play he developed for the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The play - The Bradley Bunch - opens on March 23rd and runs through the end of the year.
Brandt comes from a long line of police officers spanning several decades and was previously employed by the Indianapolis office of the FBI.
The Sons of Jude is his most recent novel and was published in September 2012.
You can find Brandt at: www.brandtdodson.com

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