My guest today is a fellow horse and dog lover! Please help me welcome Jodi Burnett to the interview hot seat. A quick peek at her bio and then we’ll dive in.
Jodi Burnett loves writing thrillers with a spark of romance from her small ranch in Colorado. She is the author of the Flint River Series and the FBI-K9 Series. In addition to writing stories and enjoying in the country with her horses and dogs, Jodi fosters her creative side by watercolor painting, quilting, and stained glass. She is a member of Sisters In Crime and Novelists Inc.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Jodi: I published my first book in 2014. It was a women’s fiction called Letting Go.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Jodi: It took me five years to write Letting Go. I continue to hone my writing skills every day.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Jodi: I fell in love with thrillers in my twenties reading Robert Ludlum. I still love a good spy thriller.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Jodi: My kids growing up and leaving home both gave me a story to tell and the time to tell it.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Jodi: My first book was women’s fiction.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Jodi: Now I write thrillers with a spark of romance that include dogs and horses. This combination covers all the things I love; a gripping plot, great characters in complex relationships with smart animals working together to catch murderers.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Jodi: Creative writing courses, conferences, craft books, workshops, and lots and lots of practice. I also have mentors that help me learn and grow in the business of writing.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Jodi: Mostly I wish I would have started writing earlier.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Jodi: Mary Burton and Sandra Brown
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Jodi: I felt called to write a story about the hidden and heinous crime of human trafficking. It’s a problem that invades all levels of our society. I can think of nothing worse than the wholesale marketing of people for abuse and torture. My heart broke when I learned what was going on and I could not help but respond. Through the use of story, my desire is to inform readers about human trafficking and show how we can recognize the problem in our own communities and offer help. It was a challenge to bring my readers a story that was honest without being graphic, and that depicted the horrors of trafficking while leaving them with a sense of justice and hope.
When Special Agent Clay Jennings and his K9 partner, Ranger, take to the streets of Denver to fight human trafficking, he is shocked by the inordinate number of stolen innocents who’ve been forced into the sex trade. With each new face, his resolve to help these children escape their personal horror grows stronger.
El Clark, a social worker who dedicates her life to rescuing exploited kids from the streets, works valiantly to locate their families or find them a safe place to live while they recuperate. She understands the plight of these young victims more than anyone knows.
When these two champions of enslaved children team up, they discover a web of deviant corruption that reaches into the upper echelons of US politics and society. Adding to the nightmare, a vicious serial killer focused on murdering female prostitutes threatens to pull Clay and El away from unearthing the man behind the treacherous, Colorado-based, child prostitution ring.
For Clay, working to solve these crimes is like taking one step forward and three back until El shares her story with him. Inspired by her bravery and fortitude, he is re-committed to the fight for justice. Clay and El battle against a mountain of power and money the height of which they’d never conceived, and end up building a powerful bond with one another along the way. El teaches Clay that every life they change matters—that they must do what they can, even when it’s only one child at a time.
“What is it, boy? We’ve got something in that trailer, don’t we?” Clay followed the beam of his mag-light. He checked the hitch and the tires on his way to the back opening. He called out to the trooper. “Hey, you got any bolt cutters in your squad car?”
“Yes, sir. Hold on.” The trooper secured the man in the back seat of his silver-and-black Charger, then hurried to his trunk. He jogged over to Clay with the requested tool.
“Snap that lock.” Clay pointed to a padlock holding the door closed.
The trooper cut through the lock and removed it. Clay undid the hinge and pulled the trailer door open. A putrid odor oozed out from the compartment. He took a step backward, wrinkling his nose against the offensive smell. Bile burned the back of his esophagus, and eyes watered. He coughed as he flashed his beam inside the trailer. Five pairs of startled eyes stared out at him from the dark. Clay’s gut tightened as if someone punched him, and his throat thickened. “Oh my, God.”
The cop next to him covered his nose and mouth with his hand and took two steps back. Ranger sat down next to Clay’s left boot.
“Okay, all of you, come on out of there.”
No one moved.
“Come on. One at a time.” Clay passed his light to his partner and held his hand out to the nearest, smallest child. A little girl.
Buy links: Amazon
This crime is indeed terrible and I’m glad you’re using your storytelling to help raise awareness about it. I imagine this story is packed with emotion, too.
Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays, folks!
Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories
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