Christina Dodd, author of Because I'm Watching, shares what she's currently reading, some of her favorite fictional sleuths, and writing characters with PTSD in this exclusive Q&A!
Describe Because I’m Watching in five words.
Best book I've ever written.
What was the last book you finished reading? What are you currently reading?
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz—highly recommend. Great fun and the start of a series I'll follow.
Brain Rules by John Medina—also highly recommend. Fascinating info about the brain and how to get more out of/control your mind.
Who is your favorite fictional sleuth of all time?
Books: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser.
Movies: Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun series. (Bingo.)
Both Maddie and Jacob have PTSD. What research did you do in order to depict this condition?
My interest started years ago when I watched a program featuring interviews of Vietnam veterans who had been prisoners of war. I can't forget it. The tortures they survived was, for me, eye-opening.
I came away with the understanding that no one can understand that experience except the person who survived the horrors. Every person's experience is different. Every person's recovery is different. And, no matter how much help a person receives, not everyone is going to recover. I tried clumsily to express that when Maddie says to Jacob:
“It's a rare and wonderful therapist who can view each individual's behavior as his or her own. …They give you a list of how you should recover from grief, from pain, from broken hearts and broken dreams and a mind so broken by what you've seen you can never forget it. …About this I am the expert, and right now I tell you—you recover when and how you can.”
As a final note, my critique partner, proofreader, and friend is retired Air Force Major Roger B. Bell, who advises me on all matters regarding cars, planes, firearms, and the military. He gives me real-life feedback I can't get anywhere else. Virtue Falls is alive because of him, and his counsel was invaluable in the writing of Because I’m Watching.
Because I’m Watching is dedicated to Roger.
What was the most rewarding part about writing these characters who are dealing with such dark pasts and circumstances?
Jacob and Maddie both suffer such mental anguish; both are frightened to sleep for fear of nightmares, their time awake is spent fearing hallucinations and memories, they live daily with guilt and depression, and no one understands what they're going through. (Snap out of it!) Yet, they are so funny and, in the end, their understanding of each other brings strength and they save each other—and themselves.
What would be your murder weapon of choice?
Flying sidekick followed by a reverse turning kick. If that's ineffective, I'm good with a cutting phrase.
What are 3-5 things you must have or do before sitting down to write a new Virtue Falls story?
Research, research, plot, :headdesk:, drink.
To learn more or order a copy, visit:
Readers become writers, and Christina Dodd has always been a reader. She reads everything, but because she loves humor, she likes romance best. She is married to a man with all his hair and no Corvette, but many Craftsman tools. They have been married since the earth’s crust cooled.
For more information, visit ChristinaDodd.com