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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

R.P. (Rebecca) Dahlke

Photograph of author R.P. (Rebecca) DahlkeRebecca Dahlke, is an established and successful author in the mystery genre, although her books come liberally spiced with humour and a small side of romance.

I have now read and published my thoughts about three of her books, including two from the innovative and highly entertaining, Lalla Bains series, plus her stand alone novel ‘A Dangerous Harbor’.

The official blurb on Rebecca’s website, gives you a taster of what this amazing person is all about, however I decided to invite her along to Fiction Books for a chat, so that I could ask her all those ‘need to know’ questions which were left unanswered …. If you are intrigued by any of the book images you see and would like to know more about Rebecca’s writing, clicking on any of the images will take you to a full synopsis.

First of all, Rebecca, I would like to thank you for agreeing to stop by Fiction Books to have this chat with me. I would like you to know just how much I have enjoyed talking with you over the last few months and what a great experience and privilege it has been to read your books.

‘A Dead Red Cadillac’

QI see that your first writing experience was with a writing group in the East Bay Area. Did this start out as something you did for enjoyment, or was the intention always to strive towards becoming a published author?

That’s a good question, and my answer may surprise you. I started out thinking all I wanted to do was be published, then as my granddaughters were born, I thought it would be something fun for them to associate with, since their daddy was a crop-duster. And then when he died in a work related accident, and their mother wouldn’t allow me to see them any more, I continued with the series in the hope that someday they might see my books on-line and remember me. And I always dedicate these books to their daddy and to them.

 

QDid a love of reading have anything to do with inspiring you to think of taking up the writing challenge and what was the catalyst which finally moved you to take up the pen?

Oh yes! As soon as I realized that I could sign my name, stand on tippy-toe to hand the librarian my card and enter the elite world of books, I was in heaven. I had that library card, worn and tattered and much loved for many years.

 

QYou seem to be heavily involved with SinC (Sisters in Crime) and I wonder how much encouragement you took from belonging to such a support and networking group, also would you recommend becoming part of a mentoring group to any aspiring new author?

Thanks for mentioning Sisters in Crime. This is the very best organization for women who write mystery and/or suspense! They do a tremendous job of mentoring authors … and I have to say that 25% of the membership are now men … yes! Equality is important at SinC. There is a national organization with plenty of state and regional chapters. I’m happy to have a Tuscon, AZ chapter which is close enough to drive to for meetings once a month.

 

QWas introducing a touch of humour to your stories intentional, or was it something which simply evolved naturally as the plot developed?

Humor … I cut my teeth on Janet Evanovich’s books, and I’m pleased and flattered when reviewers compare my books to hers.

 

QCan you foresee a time when you might consider switching genres away from the mystery/suspense and trying something new, or is that firmly where your heart lies?

Reader and reviewer comments are ten to one – humor to mystery. They all comment on the family dynamics and how much they enjoy the antics of my characters, as opposed to the mystery. Then again, every once in a while, a reader will say, “Didn’t see that coming!” So, I’m good with mystery. I Do think about the alternatives: Historical? .. Too lazy to do the research. Fantasy? .. I’d write about bad faeries and piss everyone off. Horror? .. I’m scared just thinking about it, much less the thought of writing it. The end result is, I have wonderful readers and reviewers who continue to write and tell me that they can’t wait until the next book. What more could a writer ask for?

‘A Dead Red Heart’

QFollowing your family tragedy in 2005, I can well understand why you decided to rest your pen for a while. It was interesting that you then decided to continue with the Lalla Bains series, by completing her second adventure ‘A Dead Red Heart’. So was writing about crop-dusting a catharsis, or just a story which needed to be finished?

I stopped writing because ‘I lost my sense of humor’. It was as devastating to me as if I’d lost my sense of smell. or sight. I certainly lost my sense of direction for five years, as writing was a needful, daily event in my life. I’m known to be a pretty happy person. I am seldom without a smile on my face and I’m happy to say that I’ve got my sense of humor back

 

QI notice that,  in 2012, midway through the Lalla Bains series, you switched publishers. Despite searching, information about Dead Bear Publishing is scarce, so I wondered whether that is a name under which you publish independently and if so, what made you consider the transition?

I went from a small publisher, books languishing on shelves of small bookstores and no sales to speak of, to being an Indie, independently published author, on Amazon. I have never been happier. I use Amazon’s Create Space for print books. There’s never been a better time to be an Indie author and I’m loving it!

‘A Dead Red Oleander’

QThe main protagonists in your books, all seem to be strong and fiercely independent women, is this something which has simply evolved as you have started to develop a storyline for them, or a deliberate style of writing and a calculated part of the plot development process?

I’m glad you noticed! Some people see Lalla as pushy, irritatingly tenacious and annoyingly tough … and others see her as a good friend, fiercely loyal and deeply caring. It all depends on your perspective, doesn’t it? And there’s Pearlie; Lalla’s Texas cousin in A DEAD RED OLEANDER. One reader thought she was terribly mean. Well … yes. But, she’s bound to grow on you later, right? I had a great time writing in Pearlie. So how did I come to write about this kind of woman? This is the kind of woman I never knew I wanted to be, since I didn’t start out this way in life, but now I see that certain characteristics, the ones that men take for granted, as something that should be an integral part of every woman.

 

QI have read that ‘A Dead Red Oleander’, is the final installment of the Lalla Bains story, which is a real shame. I hear that you already have the basic concept for a new series, based in Arizona, so does this include another feisty female lead character on the drawing board, ready to fill Lalla’s shoes?

I have a secret – shhhh – don’t tell anyone, but I’m moving Lalla, Pearlie, Noah and Caleb to Arizona … Caleb takes a job as Sheriff in the old mining town of Wishbone, and since California rules were crowding Noah’s goat farming, he goes with them. And then Pearlie is convinced that this is the perfect place to put out their shingle as private investigators. No worries that they’ll have to fight competition for this business (or any business) and besides, it’s Arizona, she can carry her weapon on her curvy hip and no one will give it a second glance.

‘A Dangerous Harbor’

QI can see how, with your obvious love of sailing, the premise for ‘A Dangerous Harbor’, was conceptualized. I have read however, that Katrina Hunter isn’t set to have her own series of adventures, so I wonder whether a series of stand alone novels, which reflect your love of the open waters and all things nautical, is on the cards?

I thought this would be a stand-alone, but when I wrote ‘THE END’, I realized that it should continue, so instead of continuing the characters, I’ve put Leila and Gabe on Pilgrim, the boat Katy sailed to Mexico, and moved the venue along into the Sea of Cortez between Baja and mainland Mexico. I’m presently writing ‘Hurricane Hole’ (2nd in the Pilgrim’s Progress), and hope to have it up on Kindle late 2012

 

QThere seem to be two schools of thought, about whether you should write about what you know, or not. Which side of the discussion and debate do you err on?

The Dead Red series is based on my experiences running my dad’s crop-dusting business, and of course, my son was a great sounding board for the flying. He even contributed a song, the lyrics of which are in ‘A Dead Red Cadillac’. So for me, writing about what I know, has been very successful.

 

QI love your painting, particularly the way in which your capture the sky, in its myriad shades and colours. I read that you generally paint from photographs, so I was wondering, do you set yourself time aside each day to paint, or is your art purely for escapism and something which you need to crave doing, before getting your brushes out?

Thank you so much! I’ve been painting as long as I have been writing, but I love writing. I presently have a triptych sitting on my shelf waiting for completion, but since I’m fortunate enough to have readers who buy my books, I guess it can wait – I’d rather write!

 

QYou already appear to have a busy and fulfilling social life outside of writing, but is there one thing that we don’t know about Rebecca Dahlke that you can share with us … what do you like to do to relax after a busy day?

I love the outdoors and walking my dogs early in the morning or late afternoons (when it cools), is a relaxing time for me. I also really enjoy cooking dinner for my friends and husband. He does so enjoy eating!

I am so pleased to hear that Lalla isn’t going to be consigned to domestic wedded bliss just yet. I am certain that moving to Texas isn’t going to hold her back any, and with cousin Pearlie on home turf, I am sure it won’t be long before the two of them are up to their pretty little necks in trouble once again!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, it has been a pleasure to have you visit Fiction Books and I am certain that my readers will enjoy our interesting little chat.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to post here to your readers. And, mentioning readers, I love to hear from anyone who has questions or comments: rp@rpdahlke.com https://rpdahlke.com/

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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24 comments
  • Dear Yvonne, gosh that was fun! Your questions were new ones, and some I hadn’t even thought about until you asked! Still I’m glad that we had our “chat”… even if it was from across the big ocean.

    Thanks again for having me!

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for stopping by and I am glad that the ‘final cut’ interview meets with your approval.

      It is always so difficult to come up with a slightly different angle on the questions, but I can’t see the point in simply doing a virtual re-print of someone else’s interview … that’s pretty boring, both for the reader and for yourself!

      I shall be keeping a good lookout for the next book to hit the shelves and love the idea of a ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ series, what a great title!

      Thank you once again for your time and the candid answers you gave, I appreciate both.

    • Hi Marilyn,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and check out the interview.

      I have read and reviewed three of Rebecca’s books now and always look forward to her emails, letting me know that a new title has hit the shelves.

      Much of the appeal for me is the laid back and completely natural style of writing which Rebecca has, it is almost as though she is the same room, talking to me.

      I also like the fact, that although her books may technically form part of a series, they can just as easily be read as stand-alone stories. I am notoriously bad at following a series in any kind of logical order, so Rebecca’s delivery works well for me!

      I always try to find a new and unique angle to an author, when agreeing to interview them, as no-one wants to read exactly the same questions and answers regurgitated again and again. It isn’t always easy, as there are some excellent interview and review sites out there, so I am glad that you enjoyed my chat with Rebecca.

      Thanks for deciding to leave a comment, I always appreciate them.

  • Rebecca, i remember reading that you owned a crop-dusting business, but didn’t know you also painted. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but unfortunately can’t draw a straight line, so it’s only a dream that fell by the wayside.

    Love your Lalla, by the way. I don’t find her obnoxious at all. Spunky, yet endearing, I’d say.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    • Hi Morgan,

      I hope that you checked out the link to Rebecca’s artwork page, some of her pictures are truly amazing.

      I’m definitely with you though … I would love to be able to paint or draw, but my art skills never left my primary school classroom unfortunately … even then I used to have to decipher exactly what my artistic efforts were supposed to represent!!

      Thanks for stopping by, taking the time to read the interview and leave your comments, I appreciate it.

    • Hi Tracy,

      It is always a pleasure to talk and work with Rebecca, she has such a naturally friendly way about her, it’s as though I know her personally and have done for years.

      Her books are also fantastic, if you like your mystery with a good portion of cleverly introduced humour and a smattering of romance, that never gets too intense.

      They are well worth the read, if you can get your hands on a copy of them. I don’t know if you have a Kindle or not, but if so, then all her books are available at under £2 each, which is a real bargain!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have a good weekend, the weather is looking good for Saturday, down here in Somerset!

  • Hi Yvonne and Rebecca,
    I love Rebecca’s “Dead Red” series, and especially her latest, “A Dead Red Oleander.” Cousin Pearlie and the rest of the clan are a hoot! And I think Rebecca’s plan to move them out of California so they can find new adventures in a new setting is brilliant. Keep up the great work RPD!

    • Hi Joann,

      Cousin Pearlie certainly livens things up, doesn’t she? … not that Lalla needs much encouragement to kick up a storm!

      I suspect that relocating the family onto Pearlie’s home turf, is going to bring a whole new focus to the series.

      Rebecca told me in her interview that she is a pretty happy person, so I wonder if she has injected any of her own personality traits into either Pearlie or Lalla?

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment, all visits and comments are very much appreciated.

  • What good questions and answers. This is probably the best interview I’ve ever read!!

    I haven’t read any of Rebecca’s books, but checked her website out and am adding her books to my WL. They all look good and mystery/thriller is my favorite genre, and humor makes everything better!

    Thanks for a great interview!

    • Hi Vicki,

      I am certainly glad that Rebecca contacted me to read and review ‘A Dangerous Harbor’, her stand alone mystery, which it transpires is now going to be the first in a new series, named ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’.

      That review was the start of what has been a great relationship and has afforded me some excellent adventures to read, in the Lalla Bains series.

      In my earlier reading days, long before blogging, I probably wouldn’t have considered reading a book which contained anything remotely humorous, however with the setting up of Fiction Books, I have completely changed my reading habits and I am now more than willing to try something new. As a result, I have been introduced to some fantastic new authors and some excellent writing.

      I really wanted to carry out an interview with Rebecca before now, however I didn’t want to re-hash the same old questions, so it has taken me all this time to work out what to ask her and hope that I hadn’t overstepped the mark and offended her with anything I wanted to include in the discussion.

      I can’t believe the lovely things you said in your comments, I am totally overwhelmed by the kindness, although the interview wouldn’t have amounted to anything very much, if it hadn’t been for the friendly, candid and responsive comments which Rebecca came back with. She was a fantastic interviewee!

      Your visits and comments are always much appreciated and I hope that you have a great weekend.

  • It sounds like you enjoy Rebecca’s book Yvonne. Very nice interview. The author sounds like quite the creative spirit. It’s always nice to learn a bit about the author behind the books.

    • Hi Naida,

      Reading Rebecca’s books is a great way to lift the spirits and always leaves me with a smile on my face, long after I have turned the last page.

      Although I have only ever had written correspondence with Rebecca, I think that your phrase ‘creative spirit’, probably sums her up quite well, with ‘free spirit’ also coming to mind. I am so jealous of people like Rebecca, who so obviously have tons of artistic talent and vision.

      She also sounds to have a wicked sense of humour, despite the terrible personal tragedies which life has dealt her and I can only admire her innate ability to look life straight in the eye and just get on with things the way she feels most comfortable with.

      Personally, I find that spontaneous conversations are so much more pleasing and fulfilling than a too formal interview and Rebecca made this such an easy accomplishment for me.

      Thanks for your valued comments, I always respect and appreciate your opinion.

    • Hi Peggy,

      Rebecca is definitely a name to be reckoned with in the world of slightly humorous mystery writing and well worth checking out if you get the chance.

      Her characters are all well formed and each of them has their own unique personalilty, although until now Lalla has always been the one calling the shots. I suspect that when the family is relocated to Arizona, cousin Pearlie will have more than her fair share of success, with of course, the corresponding amount of trouble coming everyone’s way!

      Thanks for the nice comment, your opinions are always welcome and valued here!

  • I didn’t know you painted either. You are surely a multitalented woman. I admire your overcoming adversity and going on to become an inspiration to those of us in the mystery field. I love all your protagonists and am happy to hear you’re moving them to Arizona. I look forward to seeing what trouble they will cause there!.

    • Hi Lesley,

      I am sure that Rebecca will be stopping by at some point, to check out the many comments and lovely messages she has received from everyone and I am sure that she will appreciate your thoughts.

      Like you, I can’t wait to see just what trouble Lalla and Pearlie can whip up between them in Arizona. Whatever happens, it is sure to be poor Caleb who ends up by having to bail them out time and time again!

      Thanks for checking out the interview and for your valued comments.

    • Lesley,

      I have just been across to your site and checked out your great books. There are some excellent storylines and fantastic cover art and my reading wishlist is now slightly longer than it was an hour ago!!

  • I’ve been privileged to meet Rebecca in person and she’s as delightful as she seems on paper and through the various loops we all inhabit Yvonne, you almost gave me a heart attack when you said Lalla was retiring from my life. It will be fun to see the gang adapt to their new home in Arizona although since I live in the gold country of California, it’s easy for me to picture those central valley settings.

    And relate to the heat!

    • Hi Cindy,

      I should think that meeting Rebecca is like a breath of fesh air, she seems like such a bubbly character.

      Before I put any of my questions to Rebecca, I checked out some of the great interviews she had already done and it was on one of these I read that Lalla had completed her last adventure, but that Rebecca had some new characters all set to head off on a new series of adventues in Arizona. It wasn’t until I directly asked the question of Rebecca for this interview, that she revealed that her Arizonian characters, were indeed a relocated Lalla and her family …. Whew!!

      I don’t think that the heat is going to get less for Lalla and her family, in more ways than one, Texas is every bit as hot as California, isn’t it?

      Thanks for taking the time to drop by Cindy and I appreciate your comments.

    • Cindy,

      I have just spent a lovely few minutes visiting your site, which is so vibrant and fresh looking.

      Your books sound like great fun reads and have therefore extended my wishlist to almost almost impossible lengths!!!

    • You are most welcome Rebecca. I always enjoy reading your books and to interview you was a real pleasure and made so easy and enjoyable by your relaxed responses and enthusiasm in taking part.

Written by Yvonne

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