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Designed to Frighten

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?

The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.

I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.

I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?

I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.

This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?

I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Not Dead by [Dickason, Anita]

A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.

Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.

When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.

As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.

This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.

Buy Now From B&N.com

Not Dead

Not Dead by [Dickason, Anita]

Mandy Norton loves her dolls. Every day, she likes to play with them in her yard. She names them and serves them tea. Mandy is in her own world–and she is being watched. From just beyond the bushes and out of her line of sight, she is being studied, and her every move is being noted. A man she cannot see is planning to take her from her yard and away from her family. He will use one of her favorite things to bring his plan to fruition–a doll. After carefully selecting a doll that matches her taste, he makes his move, and Mandy’s life and the lives of her family will never be the same.

Not Dead, by Anita Dickason, is the harrowing tale of the abduction of young Mandy Norton and the efforts made to bring her home. Mandy’s aunt, Ashely Logan, becomes involved from the moment she hears that her niece is missing. Ashley, also the editor of the local newspaper, deems herself an investigator and questions the local police department’s ability to handle her niece’s case. As the hours quickly begin to pass, Ashley forges her own path through the town from one suspect to another.

Dickason has managed to provide readers with a tale of horror–every parent’s nightmare. As the story progresses, readers are given more insight into the frustrating and heartbreaking process of trusting law enforcement to bring their daughter home safely. The introduction of Ashley, Mandy’s aunt, is more than helpful in driving home exactly how difficult the process of searching for a suspect can actually be. Ashley is the reader’s guide into the investigation process.

The insight the author gives into the mind of little Mandy’s abductor is chilling. I can’t accurately describe the terror I felt as I read how Mandy’s abductor targeted her and methodically planned her kidnapping. What was even more terrifying was the background information readers are given at the outset–this man is a repeat offender and has honed these skills over time. 

Not Dead, though fiction, provides a thorough look into police procedures and the rigorous work that takes place when a child has disappeared. The bulk of Dickason’s work in this book is focused on the investigation itself and Ashley’s part in that process. As a reader, I would have liked to have seen more of the experience from Mandy’s point of view. From one chapter to the next, readers watch the clues multiply, the suspects narrow, and the case grow closer to a conclusion, but we aren’t as privy to the life to which Mandy is subjected while she waits to be rescued.

Readers who seek a mystery with rich characters and prefer frighteningly realistic plots will be more than satisfied with Dickason’s work. Dickason’s characters are highly-developed and memorable. The twist ending is an added bonus to Dickason’s meticulously crafted mystery. I highly recommend Not Dead to any mystery fan looking for a new author to follow.

Pages: 238 | ASIN: B07ZMHYMDB

Buy Now From B&N.com

Not Dead – Trailer

A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.

Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.

When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.

As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.

This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.

Buy Now From B&N.com

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