We recently chatted with New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd about her new release, Dead Girl Running, available wherever books are sold.
1. What inspired you to write Dead Girl Running?
Many years ago, I went to a writers' meeting and the speakers were two public defense lawyers who worked with abused women. The stories they told haunted me, and ever since I've wanted to write about a woman who escapes her abusive husband and, though still pursued by the past, becomes a woman of strength and courage. That is Kellen Adams's story.
2. Why does Kellen Adams take a job as an assistant manager at a remote vacation resort?
She's looking for a home, one where the past has no place and the future smiles on her. "Home" is a theme in my books; that one place where a person feels comfortable, where the people are her people, she understands the landscape and she (or he) belongs. If you've ever lived in the wrong place (for you) and moved to the right place, or lived in the right place and moved to the wrong place, you know what I mean.
3. How does she assimilate into her new environment?
Kellen has been in the military for six years, and without a real home for eight years. She's used to making a place for herself, even while she holds herself apart and keeps her secrets. After all, the opening lines of the book are:
I have three confessions:
1. I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don’t remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams … and that’s half a lie.
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4. What goes through her mind when she discovers a woman's dead and mutilated body?
Yearning Sands Resort immediately struck a chord in Kellan's soul: the looming mountains, the wild Pacific Ocean, the ferocious storms, the sense of isolation and freedom from the fears of not knowing what happened in the year she doesn't remember. To find a mutilated body makes her wonder if her past, known and unknown, has caught up with her.
5. As every guest and employee becomes a suspect, how does Kellen remain sane amid the chaos?
Kellen spent six years in the Army, in and out of war zones. She's blessed with unusual powers of observation and the well-honed ability to react immediately in an emergency.
What I tried to incorporate into Kellan's personality is a sense of what every woman would feel/think/experience when facing similar crises: abuse, homelessness, love, war, murder, deception. Do you crumple when the world is against you, or do you rise to the challenges and become a better you?
To write a character that speaks to many readers, I have to try to walk in Kellan's shoes and bring the reader with me. It's a case of one mind/one heart, which is why I feel such a bond with my readers; they think like me and like my characters. They feel my emotions and the emotions of my characters.
6. Are you currently at work on your next novel? If so, what can you share with us?
WHAT DOESN'T KILL ME is the next Cape Charade thriller and will be out in February 2019. It's up for preorder on many of the online stores.
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