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1.What or who inspired you to start writing?
I dreamed about being a writer as a kid but I never did anything about it at the time. Then after I was married with a couple of kids I started thinking about it again. I have always loved reading and one day I thought after finishing a book, I could do a better job than that. You see I am one of those people that could always figure out the ending of the book, long before I got there. I sat there and thought about it for three days before I picked up a pen and began my own story. The first time I wrote the story it was okay but the more I thought about it the more I wanted my story to be different than all the rest. It took me a while but I managed to find my groove. My first story turned out ok, but I found the more I wrote the better writer I became.
It took a long time for me to get the courage up to submit my work and when I did I really didn’t expect anyone to want it but they did.
2.How did you come up with ideas for your books?
I have no idea where the ideas come from. It can be an overheard conversation, something I see or a dream. One of my books was built on a question? I wrote the Prophet on the question, “Has he asked to convert yet?” Sometimes I can look at a person and suddenly an idea will come to mind. I’ll think about it for a day or so then sit down and begin an outline. As I write the ideas start flowing and before I know it I have an outline. Of course my books don’t always stay within the outline but it’s a good start. At some point in all my books the characters take over and finish the story.
3.What expertise did you bring to your writing?
I don’t have any expertise. The only schooling I have is high school. But I do like to watch people and I have a great imagination, or so I’m told.
4.What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
I am a simple person that lives a different life every time I open a book, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. I love to read. I think it’s an author’s job to take a reader into the pages of their book and allow them to experience the story first hand. If I can do that then I’ve done my job.
5.As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans? Are there any more books planned for this series?
I would love to become the next J.K. Rowlings. It may not happen but I can dream, can’t I?
6.If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would be the female character in all my books. I love the intrigue.
7.Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I haven’t hooked up with a critique group yet. I know I can’t please everyone, no author can but I have learned to take a critique and make my work stronger.
8.When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
My first submit was a short story. I found a contest and worked on a story I thought would fit and it did! They bought it. The feeling I got was wonderful.
9.What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing) My best advise- Your story could be better if you did this, blah blah blah.
The worst- I don’t think I ever got worst- I guess I look at a critique as a way to strengthen my work, not so much as dragging my work down.
10.Do you outline your books or just start writing? I start with an outline but by the end of the story it doesn’t resemble the outline. At some point my characters takes over and do their own thing. I like to add twists and turns that no one sees coming.
11.Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I love to read and may borrow ideas from others but I always change them enough not to take what another author made their own.
12.Do you have an all time favorite book? No, I love them all
13.Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
I just began another outline for a book titled, The Huntress. Her name is Willow and she’s part witch, part vampire. When she comes out age she begins a lifelong hunt for the man that sired her. He doesn’t know he fathered twins and she uses that knowledge to her advantage. She knows she has a brother out there but he has no knowledge of her.
14.Who is your favorite actor and actress?
Sam Elliot I think he’s sexy
15.Anything else you might want to add?
To all the want to be authors out there- never give up on your dreams about being a writer… It took me a lifetime to get there and it’s all worth it!
K. J. Dahlen
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com
When an accident turns out to be not an accident but murder Savannah must solve a double murder that happened over twenty years ago to find the truth. She was the only witness to her parent’s murder and now their killer is after her. She puts her trust into a man her aunt has known and all these years but evidence soon points to him being involved with the man she thinks killed her parents. Will she prove him innocent or fall prey to his intent? Her life and over two million dollars in diamonds is at stake.
As the dirt hit the casket, the sound it made echoed through the cemetery and caused Savannah to flinch. The sound was so final but then so was death. Savannah's heart was breaking as she listened to the thud of the earth hitting the wood of her aunt's final resting place. She glanced at the temporary headstone marker. Tears rolled down her cheeks when she read the name on the marker, Donna Marie Kelley.
A voice inside her head screamed at her that the name on the headstone was wrong. It should have read Donna Marie Weston, not Kelley. Donna had been the one person in her young life who protected her after her parents died. She was the one who held Savannah when she was sick or the nightmares got the best of her. Donna had been there to make her laugh and kept her safe all these years. It made Savannah sad that when her aunt needed her the most, she wasn't there for her.
Donna had died four days ago in a car accident. Her car plunged off the road and down into a ravine. The paramedics said she might have lived if help had arrived right after the accident, but Donna wasn't found until the next day. She had been all alone and in pain when death came to call.
Tears slid down her cheeks as she thought of how long Donna had suffered. The medical examiner's report told her that Donna suffered two broken legs and a fractured rib. The rib punctured her lung and eventually her abdomen filled with blood. The coroner had determined she bled to death internally. The police were looking into the accident, but she knew there was nothing they could do. There wasn't anything anyone could do. Donna was gone and now she was alone in the world.
Savannah thought back on her life. They had lived in twelve different cities over the years, but when they moved to Seattle, Savannah put her foot down and refused to move again. She had been sick of not staying in one place long enough to make friends. She remembered the look on Donna's face when she refused to move again. Donna seemed scared about something, but she would never tell Savannah what frightened her. It had taken Donna a few days to come to terms with not moving again but she had. Savannah was old enough to know they had been running for a long time, but when she asked Donna who or what they had been running from, Donna wouldn't tell her. She had made Savannah promise to keep their secret and Savannah would have been willing to promise her the moon at the time.
Savannah glanced at the temporary marker again. She knew Donna wouldn't want her real name on her final resting place but she was tempted to put it there. Savannah George wasn't her real name either. She had been born Georgia Michelle Corbin, but she hadn't been called Georgia for a long, long time, almost a life time, her lifetime.
Savannah looked around the cemetery. Green Haven cemetery was located on a slope overlooking Puget Sound, in Seattle, Washington. Donna had brought her here to Seattle seven years ago. Back then Seattle had been just another town. Savannah's eyes looked past the town to the edge of the water and the gentle lapping sound she could almost hear calmed her. It was one of the things about Seattle she loved. Whenever Savannah got scared or lonely, she would go down to the edge of the Sound and gaze out over the sea. The smell of the water and the soothing sounds of the ocean were Savannah's escape. All of her fears melted away by the sound of the sea.
Glancing toward the sky, Savannah could see the dark gray clouds. It looked as dreary outside as she felt inside. Donna's death had been the result of a car accident, and Savannah hadn't had time to think about her future yet.
K. J. Dahlen lives in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and dog. She can see the Mississippi river on one side and the bluffs where eagles fly on the other. She has two kids and two grandkids. Kim loves to people watch and she uses what she sees in her books. She loves to create intense situations for her characters and sit back and see what they do to get to get themselves out of trouble. Sometimes her characters even surprise her. Her characters come alive for her, and what starts out as just an idea becomes a story with unusual twists and turns. She loves to keep her readers guessing until the very last page.
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