Author Spotlight Interview: Jodi Burnett
Today we’re chatting with Romantic Suspense Thriller writer Jodi Burnett, an Amazon Bestselling Author and a member of Sisters In Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. It was a real thrill to discuss Jodi’s motivations, and to learn about all of the research she puts into her novels.
HG: Your tagline is “Suspense with a spark of romance”. How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet? Fans of which author/type of book would like your stories?
HG: Fantastic! Concealed Cargo: Children for Sale is available for pre-order and releases on September 17th, so I want to take some time to talk with you about that. In fact, I checked Amazon today and it’s listed as a #1 New Release in the Women Writers category. Congrats! I understand Concealed Cargo is about human trafficking. What motivated you to write this book?
Jodi: Over the months prior to writing this novel I had the opportunity to speak with several different people who opened my eyes to the depth of the human trafficking problem in the United States. In fact, more shockingly, right here in my own back yard. The subject kept being brought to my attention and then one weekend some good friends that we hadn’t seen in years came to stay at our home. I told my friend what I had been learning and how it bothered me so profoundly. She then shared that she worked with an organization called Global Connection International. They work to inform the public on ways to stay safe and ways to help fight against human trafficking. She had a long list of books for me to research. The message was powerful. Weeks before I was unaware. Suddenly, I couldn’t escape the reality. It moved me to write the story so that hopefully more and more people will begin to see the horrible crimes going on all around us whose victims are children.
There have been some high-profile arrests in the news recently too and I’m thrilled to see the awareness gaining traction!
HG: Yes! I’ve seen it being talked about more often lately in the news and I’m glad awareness is being raised. I imagine it was a heavy subject to research. What sort of challenges did you face writing the book?
Jodi: It was difficult to read the real life stories of trafficking victims and to have to face the horrible reality of the abuse they face every single day. Every night when I go to sleep now, I can’t help but think about the terrified and hurting kids who are out there being used and abused. It breaks my heart.
Writing the book was equally hard. I wanted to get the horror across without being extremely graphic. That was a huge challenge. Early feedback from the book has been encouraging in this light.
HG: Oh, I can only imagine. That does sound like a challenge, and I bet you’re happy with the early encouraging feedback! With that being said, what do you hope readers take away from the book? What feelings do you hope they are left with?
Jodi: I want people to come away with a greater understanding of how broad and extensive this problem is in our society. I hope readers are moved in their compassion to take a look at their own communities and see where they can help. I include links to several organizations in the back of the book where people can get more information and find ways to volunteer or donate if they wish. Mostly, awareness of the problem and how to prevent it is my greatest message. I hope readers are left with the hope that we can work together against this crime and help save kids.
HG: That’s wonderful. I think this book needs a place on everyone’s bookshelf. Before we wrap up, let’s quickly shift gears so that readers can learn a little bit more about you! Where’s your favorite place to write? Do you listen to music or do you prefer the quiet?
Jodi: I have a cozy little office nook that I love, but in truth I do much of my writing on my laptop on my couch. I have a terrific view of the mountains, so it’s inspiring. I usually prefer to write in silence, but if I’m in a coffee shop or an airplane, I listen to thunderstorms.
HG: Ahh, that sounds perfect. Have you always been a writer? What was your dream job when you were growing up?
Jodi: I started writing about ten years ago. I have always had a vivid imagination and spent hours playing make believe as a child. As I grew up and playing “pretend” was not quite as socially acceptable I continued to make up stories in my head. As a mom of four, I had plenty of opportunity to tell stories to my kids, and when they grew up, I began to write those stories down. I still tell myself stories at night when I can’t get to sleep. I guess becoming a writer is a natural outcome of an overactive imagination! Ha!
My dream job was some twisted combo of being a lawyer/interior designer/spy who was a scientist and horse trainer on the side. I ended up being a mom.
HG: Haha! I love that! And I totally get the dream job thing. Spy is definitely my daughter’s dream job right now. She’s obsessed with Scooby Doo and “getting to the bottom of the mystery”. I really like the message that you can start a writing career at any stage of life.
Jodi: Yep – I started with Scooby Doo too! Great place to satisfy her interest in mystery. Next – Nancy Drew!!!
HG: I can think of countless reasons why readers should grab a copy of Concealed Cargo and check out your other books, so for readers that want to find out more about your stories and future projects, where should they go to connect or learn more?
I love chatting with readers!
Thanks so much to Jodi for taking the time to speak to us – and don’t forget, if you like her books, be sure to sign up with Hidden Gems and read and review your choice of thrillers, romance or others from over 15 different genres.