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SunLit Interviews

SunLit Interview: An expert advised Peg Brantley that her book “Trafficked” shouldn’t take place “over there”

Brantley thought Colorado would provide sparse research for her novel, but she was sadly mistaken

Peg Brantley.

Peg Brantley, author of the book “Trafficked,” is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy; participated in the Writers’ Police Academy; has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, and human trafficking experts; obtained her concealed carry permit; studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria; and hunted down the real life locations that show up in her books.

Here is an interview with her:

What inspired you to write this book?

I made a list of topics that intrigued me and kept returning to human trafficking. One afternoon, Dr. Susanne Jalbert and I were at the home of a mutual friend, M.L. Hanson, when I mentioned I was noodling with the idea of writing a book in my Mex Anderson series involving human trafficking. Susanne looked me in the eye and said, “Peg, promise me if you write this book you’ll make it about here and not ‘over there.’” That’s really where “Trafficked” found its footing.

Who are your favorite authors and/or characters?

Do we have time? In genres other than crime fiction, my favorite books include “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden, “A Man in Full” by Tom Wolfe, “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” by Rebecca Wells, and “Kindred” by Octavia Butler. Under the vast crime fiction umbrella, I love Tim Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty series based in Bangkok, just about everything Michael Connelly has ever written, and I continue to be influenced by Mary Higgins Clark.

Why did you choose this excerpt to feature in SunLit?

Although I love each one of the three girls featured in this story, I especially love Jayla. She’s smart and tough and vulnerable and compassionate. The novel begins with Jayla, and except for a last scene between Mex Anderson and Cade LeBlanc (his partner and love interest), it ends with her.

What was the most fun or rewarding part of working on this book?

The most rewarding part of working on this book was bringing attention to a very real problem in a non-threatening way. Because I write fiction, I can bring a certain amount of justice into a story that might not be there in real life. I enjoy my role as a conversation starter.

“Trafficked,” a book by author Peg Brantley. (Handout)

What was the most difficult section to write in this book? Why?

I can’t say that one section was more difficult to write than another. I can tell you that the hardest part of writing this story was doing the research. The pain and suffering I was reading about was happening to real people, and those who do survive do not all find their way back to a normal life as easily as my characters do.

What was one interesting fact you learned while researching this book?

Researching human trafficking was an eye-opener. When Dr. Jalbert first suggested I write about it happening here, I was pretty sure my research options would be sparse. If you Google “human trafficking in Colorado” you’ll get more than ten million hits. Ten million.

What project are you working on next?

I’m working on a manuscript for the Aspen Falls Thriller series that involves hate groups.


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Buy: “Trafficked: A Mex Anderson Novel” at BookBar.
Excerpt: “Trafficked: A Mex Anderson Novel.”

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