Interview with David K. Dodd

What's the story behind your latest book?
Fatal Sword tells the heartbreaking, true story of a deadly fight between two friends on Christmas Eve 2001. The two men each were each fun-loving in different ways but suffered from personal setbacks and disappointments. Although the fight was spontaneous and startling, readers will be able to see how the life paths of the men led up to the disastrous event.

The book also includes a riveting, detailed presentation of the seven-day trial in a small community in Wisconsin. The judge, jurors, attorneys, the defendant, and courtroom observers were all acquainted with each other, at least to some degree. The maneuvering of the prosecutor and the defense attorney was fascinating, and the jury's verdict dramatic.
What was your first book of true crime?
In 2014, I coauthored (with Harvey W. Rowe) and published Furnace Murder. It tells the fascinating true story of the horrific murder of an 85-year-old woman in 1948. The crime shocked the small town of Sturgeon Bay, WI, and catapulted the city into the national spotlight. The story is told primarily through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy who lived in the sheriff's quarters of the county jail.

Furnace Murder provides a close look at life in a small, midwestern town nearly seventy years ago, and how a brutal murder forever changed the town. First author Harvey Rowe wrote and developed the original manuscript over a ten-year period, but he died in 2004 before his work could be published. As I read Harvey’s original manuscript and explored further the events of the day, I became hooked on the story and wanted to discover more about the underlying motivations of everyone involved in the case. The victim, her murderer, the police officers, and even young Harvey are all intriguing characters. I revised and modified Harvey’s the manuscript, adding several chapters to show the true nature of victim’s killer and his possible involvement in the death of his first wife.

Readers will be captivated by 35 candid photos from the crime scene, trial, and related events.
What are you working on next?
I have just completed and published my most recent book, Fatal Sword. The project took me twenty-two months, so I'm treating myself to a well-deserved break!

I can't help from being forward-looking, though, and I plan to publish a collection of short stories I've written over the years. They are fictional but based on real-life events. Like most of my fiction, the stories will have generational themes - grandparents, parents, and children. One will be from the 1940s, others from the 1960s and 70s, and still others during current times.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small, rural town in the Midwest. My first two novels, Star Shooting and Star Dawning, are based in small towns in Kansas and draw heavily from my own experiences of youth.

I have attended many criminal trials as a spectator. I'm always amazed at how little of the whole story is told in the courtroom, and even more is excluded from the jury. It's no wonder that verdicts often baffle those who are aware of so much more about the case than are the jurors. In writing Fatal Sword and Furnace Murder, a main goal was to present the whole story, rather than merely the courtroom version.
When did you first start writing?
I remember always writing, from about third grade onward. I took my English classes very seriously and still remember many of my early writing assignments (including all those book reports in grade school!). I learned how to diagram sentences in ninth grade and loved it!
Who are your favorite authors?
Elizabeth Strout, Richard Russo, Wally Lamb, Anne Tyler, and John Irving. I've read all their books, many twice!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing is such a solitary, sedentary endeavor. When I'm not writing, I'm very active: running, golfing, and refereeing soccer.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When writing true crime, I try to experience the critical events from the perspective of both perpetrator and victim, as well as their surviving families. There is always so much more to a crime story than the crime itself. When I write fiction, I love developing characters. It is almost like they are new friends to me, as I learn of their personalities, hopes, and fears. For me, writing is an emotional experience, and the hardest part of writing is when my characters, real or fictional, experience great distress. Writing is very fulfilling but definitely causes insomnia!
Published 2017-09-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Fatal Sword: Tragic Clash of Two Friends on Christmas Eve
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 50,190. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » True Crime » Murder, Nonfiction » Psychology » Interpersonal relations
A young man knocks on a friend's front door. He is welcomed in, and the two spend hours playing video games, strumming guitars, and drinking fine brandy. A silly dispute turns into a brawl. One friend dies, the other is charged with murder. Readers of this true story are challenged by questions of motive, mental health, and justice.
Furnace Murder: True Story of the Horrific Murder of Mrs. Cody
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 54,800. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » True Crime » Murder
Furnace Murder is the true story of a horrific murder that catapulted Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, into the national spotlight in 1948. Told through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Harvey Rowe, son of the local sheriff, it treats readers to an insider’s view of small-town life, and crime. Probes the tragic life of the victim during the decades leading up to her brutal demise. For readers of all ages.
Star Dawning: A Novel
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,600. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
A young man walks out of prison after serving eleven years for murder. He joins a young woman who is trying to break free from chains of her own—a lifelong physical disability. They become family and interconnect with two others families, also struggling to survive. Unpredictable and heartwarming, a fascinating psychological story of individual redemption and the restorative power of family.
Star Shooting: A Novel
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 134,040. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Courtroom
A coming-of-age novel that tells the story of a star adolescent in rural Kansas. His future appears bright but a series of misfortunes sends him spirally downward, ending in a shocking act that stuns his community. An intense trial ensues, with opposing attorneys battling for the boy's future. A compelling story of youthful promise, friendship, and family that will captivate readers of all ages.
NOY World: A Futuristic Tale of Devastation and Devolution
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,810. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Climate change has scorched the planet. Survivors live a dystopian existence dominated by NOY, the ruling class.This novella will captivate readers, as they witness the survival of the human spirit amid environmental and societal ruin.