Welcome, Terry. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
With a little analysis I realize I often write much of myself into certain characters and situations, but this is pretty much a subconscious thing. In other words, my conscious thoughts are not nearly as much in control as I presume.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
During basic training in the U.S. Army I volunteered to undergo hypnosis on stage. I ended up shadow boxing around a room with hundreds of soldiers in attendance for the hypnotist’s hilarious performance at my expense. Afterward, I denied having done any of that and more.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a senior in high school I copied verbatim my one-year previously graduated girlfriend’s English paper. This was for the same teacher who had given my girlfriend a grade of A. She gave me a D. Her comment, written in red ink read “This grade is better than you deserve, but you have the talent to write if you weren’t so lazy.” Three years later I married my girlfriend.
Tell us the range of the kind of books you enjoy reading.
In the sixth grade I read every science-fiction book in my small Midwestern town’s public library. As an adult I enjoy reading biographies, non-horror thrillers, mysteries, and Christian Bible studies.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I don’t run in the fast lane. Most days I don’t turn on my flip phone. I certainly don’t text, and unless I recognize the area code I don’t answer my land line. I am a poor listener, but I fancy myself a keen observer.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
My main characters name themselves. Even the minor ones have something to say about how they are called.
What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?
At the age of fifty-eight I accepted the concept of salvation by grace and justification by faith.
It’s never too late. Praise the Lord. If you were an animal, which one would you be? Why?
Recently, in an idle, fleeting moment I thought a songbird, but realization quickly crept in that any creation other than what God has made me to be would lead to a sorry end.
What is your favorite food?
Most things sweet. To be more precise, my most recent book (Fired with Enthusiasm) is an eclectic compilation of short stories, humorous comic illustrations, and pictorial recipes of my five favorite sweet treats, each accompanied by a relevant anecdote.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I have never had my writing road fully blocked, but anytime I hit a bump in the road I put myself into the shoes and mindset of my characters. They always take me down the path they would go.
Tell us about the featured book.
My protagonist, having divorced his way out of a miserably failed marriage, suddenly finds himself at odds with life in general. His ex-wife has moved away with their young son, his business is falling to pieces, and he has no spiritual relationship to which to turn for comfort. In desperation, he deceptively manages to meet a woman through a Christian dating service. She steals his heart on their first date, but refuses to see him again. In an effort to understand her description of him as a name-only Christian versus someone “walking with the Lord,” he enlists a remarkable counselor with an unlikely resource. In the midst of progress sudden tragedy compounds his burdens, dramatically testing both his original objective and his newly found faith.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Sign here and the contract is sealed,” the attorney said with a rueful note to his voice. Peter Wysong and his soon-to-be ex-wife were sharing the same divorce attorney, but she was not present.
“I will,” Pete said, nodding his head as he took pen in hand. To that he added, “I hope this is the last time I ever say those two words.” His divorce from a marriage of seven difficult years had thus officially concluded. He was now thirty-four years old and had just yielded custody of his six-year old son. He and his wife had been separated for a full year, and still he had absolutely no clue as to how they had failed so miserably in their marriage.
It was ironic, he thought, that although he now equated his failed marriage with a significant failure in life, why had he not made more of an effort to avoid that defeat? He still believed the blame was largely hers. So what could he have done about that? It was the eighteenth of December and he would have plenty of time alone over the coming weeks to think about the how and why of his unhappiness.
“You know, Pete, the attorney volunteered, “if you ever do say those two words again in a matrimonial sense you would be wise to first say it to your Maker.”
“Oh? Is that my gift from the man whose Christmas I have just financed? I share the same view I once overheard a friend say to someone about Christian faith: ‘I don’t care what you believe. Just don’t try to ram it down my throat.’”
“I’m sorry. Let me try putting it more palatably. You’re discouraged, you’re wrung out, and at this moment you also claim to have no direction for the rest of your life. But whether or not you realize it you have been greatly blessed in life. Take it from me and a lot of other guys who have found themselves at the bottom of life’s barrel at one time or another. There is a way up and out of your funk.”
“And exactly what would that road look like?”
“The cross of Christ.”
“I figured that’s what you were going to say. And that would solve all my problems? Gosh, I didn’t realize it would be so easy. Look, we took that route. We were married in a church, but that didn’t keep our marriage together. Dannie was never anything but a nag; first it was about money, then about her parents, then about my business travel, and finally about how to raise our son. You know something? I think I’m better off with Manianity than Christianity.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Web site is terrygdoddbooks.com. My books can be seen and are described there. They can be purchased directly from their various publishers, but the easiest route is Barnes & Noble or Amazon. For example, plug in “Books-The Seeker by Terry Dodd, Books-Fired with Enthusiasm by Terry Dodd, or similarly use the name of any of my twelve titles. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.THE SEEKER
Thank you, Terry, for sharing this book with me and my blog readers.
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