Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I don’t have favorite spiritual themes, as the theme for each of my suspense novels grows naturally out of the protagonist’s characterization and her predicament. Often when I start writing the story I don’t know what the spiritual element will be. I concentrate on the suspense plot, and the theme shapes itself in the writing.
With Deceit, it was a little different. Because of the plot and characters, I knew it would be about deceit and how we all can let it creep into our lives. The protagonist, the antagonist and the victim are all Christians. But what is going on beneath the surface in their lives? And what spiritual lessons can the reader draw from their weaknesses? The fast-paced plot works naturally to drive home the message of the story.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Final Touch, third and final in the young adult Rayne Tour series, released in May. (This series is co-written with my daughter, Amberly.) I just turned in a novel titled Over the Edge that’s a suspense centered around Lyme Disease. It’s the story I was born to write, given my own experience with the illness. Over the Edge will release in May 2011.
Yes, we fetured Final Touch on this blog. And I want to feature Over the Edge. As you know, my very good friend, Lisa Buffalo, also had Lyme disease, so it's close to my heart. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Dean Koontz. I love his characterization and metaphorical writing. And I’d enjoy talking to him about the underlying themes of good and evil in his novels.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Gandhi. He was a fascinating blend of religions and ideas, many of them Christian. My father did meet Gandhi while my parents were in India. I’ve heard my mom talk about the day Gandhi died. All that day Indian people came in and out of their house to listen to the news on the radio. They’d quietly slip in, listen, then leave. No one talked. It was like a wake as they listened to that radio, which was the only one for miles around.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I was talking to someone just this morning. She told me how she was once again writing on her manuscript and was almost done. This manuscript has seen numerous forms, and she’s been working on it for years. She’s had rejection after rejection from agents and publishers. The last round of rejections did her in. She quit. All of the usual cynical questions plagued her. “What am I doing this for? No one cares! There’s no point. I quit, quit, quit.”
Now she’s back at it.
I said to her, “That is the mark of a real writer. We get rejected, we quit, but at some point we get up and get back to writing. We can’t not write.” And that is what I say to all those who are rejected. (And all us writers are at some point or another.) If you’re born to write, you’ll write. You may quit, but you’ll go back to it. And eventually you’ll see some reward.
Tell us about the featured book.
Sometimes the truth hides where no one expects to find it.
Joanne Weeks knows Baxter Jackson killed Linda—his second wife and Joanne’s
best friend—six years ago. But Baxter, a church elder and beloved member of
the town, walks the streets a free man. The police tell Joanne to leave well
enough alone, but she is determined to bring him down. Using her skills as a
professional skip tracer, she sets out to locate the only person who may be able
to put Baxter behind bars. Melissa Harkoff was a traumatized sixteen-year-old
foster child in the Jackson household when Linda disappeared. At the time
Melissa claimed to know nothing of Linda's whereabouts—but was she lying?
In relentless style, Deceit careens between Joanne's pursuit of the truth—which puts her own life in danger—and the events of six years' past, when Melissa came to live with the Jacksons. What really happened in that
household? Beneath the veneer of perfection lies a story of shakeable faith, choices, and the lure of deceit.
A very interesting premise. Please give us the first page of the book.
Some evil shouts from rooftops, some scuttles in the dark. The greatest evil tips its face toward light with shining innocence.
Baxter Jackson shone with the worst of them.
In my sister’s kitchen I focused out the sliding glass door to her backyard. Relentless rain pummeled the night. The weather matched my mood. The Vonita Times, our town’s weekly paper, lay on the square wooden table across from me. Its front page headline glared. Skip Tracer Accuses Police Chief of Shirking Duty.
My sister followed my gaze to the article. “Maybe it really was an accident, Joanne.”
I shot her a look of accusation and hurt. “You, too?” As if the rest of the town weren’t enough. “I thought you agreed with me.”
She drew a long breath. “I don’t know what to think. Two wives gone does look suspicious, but there’s no proof Baxter did anything. Once Cherisse’s death was ruled an accident—”
“How many people fall down stairs and die, Dineen, even if they are hardwood? That only happens in old movies.”
“But that’s what the coroner said.”
“The Sheriff-Coroner’s up for reelection next year, and who do you suppose gave the most to his last campaign?”
“I know, but I just can’t believe any coroner would find signs of a murder and look the other way, especially this man. I mean, I know Bud Gidst. So do you.”
I pushed back my chair, picked up my plate and stacked hers on top. Marched them over to the sink and set them down none too gently. I loved my sister like crazy, always had. She was twelve years younger, and I’d always looked after her. I steered her clear of bratty, bully girls in grade school, the wrong guys in high school. I urged her to fight her self-serving ex in court until he paid the two years’ worth of child support he owed for Jimmy. But the fact was, Dineen had always been too trusting. She just couldn’t believe bad about anybody until it hit her in the face.
“Sometimes people don’t want to see the truth, Dineen.” I rinsed the plates, the water hissing. “Autopsy findings are open to interpretation. To say all those bruises and contusions on Cherisse’s head didn’t match a fall down the stairs would be calling Baxter Jackson a liar. Maybe Bud didn’t want to believe that.”
Or maybe his ruling was far more sinister. Baxter Jackson was the richest man in Vonita and practically ran the town. He sponsored a Little League baseball team every year and personally paid for Vonita’s Fourth of July fireworks. He was everybody’s best friend. Nobody in the county ever spoke against Baxter.
I love that hook. I can hardly wait to get my copy of the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Oh, it not’s hard. Try these places:
Web site: http://www.brandilyncollins.com/
Thank you, Brandilyn, for the intersting interview.
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