1.Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a woman with a story to tell. I live in a small town in Wisconsin and I love to create unique situations and people to capture my reader’s interest and take them on a journey where only they know the ending. My characters become almost real and the situations they find themselves in are situations we all can relate too.
2.What event triggered you to become a writer?
I learned to read when I was a child and that love of reading has carried through to my adult years. When I pick up a book I want to be transported to another world, or taken on an adventure until I close the book. I wanted to be able to transport my readers to that kind of excitement and adventure. It wasn’t just one event but a whole bunch of them.
Any major inspirations?
I took a little bit of everyone that I liked to read and tried to instill it in my writing. I tried a few different genres until I found the one that worked for me. I love the solving the crime genre more so than the crime itself or the horror of the crime. Most of the books I write involve a killer of some kind and the men and women who stop him. I love the psychological angle of thinking like a killer in order to stop him. I make my characters just a little smarter than the killer and give them what they need to stop him. At some point in all my books the characters take over and take the story in a different direction than what I had planned but that’s ok. It adds the twists and turns my readers have come to expect from my work and each story is different and unique.
3.How many manuscripts did you submit before you were published?
Quite a few, I began writing short stories and got some positive comments but I didn’t sell anything. Then I began to really look at some of the comments and they began to make sense. I took what other writers were saying and turned it around and rewrote the stories. I still didn’t sell anything but the comments showed me my stories were getting better. That gave me hope that someday I would write something that would sell. I knew what wasn’t working then I had to find out what would work.
How did you feel when you got “the call”?
I remember very well. When I got the email telling me someone wanted to publish my book I yelled out loud, “Hot Diggity Damn.” My husband came running into the office and asked me what was wrong. I was stunned and every time I get another email telling me that someone is interested in publishing my story the feeling is the same.
4.What’s the very best thing about being an author?
The best thing I can think of is that somebody out there likes the way I write. I may not be making much money right now but I’m hoping that someday one of my books will hit the right audience and turn that around.
5.Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep doing what you are doing and never give up on your dream of being an author. Learn from your mistakes and listen to what other writers are telling you. Don’t take a critique as a personal attack. Not everyone is going to like what you write, instead take it as a way to improve your story. Every story is someone baby and even though we don’t want to hear what’s wrong with it we have to understand there might be a better way out there to tell our story. Learn to listen with an open heart. And keep writing!!!
6.Would you share your links with us so we can find you on the web?
My books can be found at: www.kjdahlen.com; or any of my publishers websites. www.roguephoenixpress.com; www.buckscountypublishing.com; www.solstice.com; and www.avalon.com. They can also be found on Amazon.
7.We’d love to read an excerpt from Bones. (Excerpts should be pg in nature.)
Max squatted near the opening in the rocky outcrop and took off his sunglasses. He was hot and tired and had just about given up finding this place. He wasn’t eager to go inside since the inside of the opening was dark and uninviting. But Max knew he had to go in there. The small hole in the side of the cliff was barely big enough for a child to scramble into let alone a full size man, but he knew he didn’t have a choice. God, I hate small places, he thought as he crawled inside. The hole was small and cramped and Max had to bend over to get through. I really hate small places, he emphasized as he struggled to get through the cramped opening. The hole in the cliff had been harder to find than he expected. The directions given to him by two young boys hadn’t been all that clear.
The boys said the opening was straight up from the dam below and a little left of the big oak tree. What they failed to tell him was which big oak tree. The whole hill was littered with oak trees right up to the base of the cliff.
His hands and face were scratched up from pushing brambles and brush out of his way. The thought had also occurred to him that the seldom visited, rocky part of the side of a cliff just a little ways north of the town Max was sheriff of, might be just the spot to run into a snoozing wolf or worse yet a rattlesnake. He heard something scramble out of his way a couple of times, but he hadn’t heard the symbolic rattle of the snake so whatever remained hidden from his sight wasn’t a snake. He’d tried to make enough noise to ward off unexpected company and hoped he hadn’t sounded like a complete idiot in the process. If anyone had spotted him, they would have thought he was drunk in the middle of the morning and that would never do for a sheriff.
The flashlight he held in his hand did little to penetrate the utter darkness that surrounded him. The cave walls and floor were slimy with what Max didn’t even want to hazard a guess and it smelled even worse. It smelled like something crawled in this narrow opening and died. The boys who found the cave might think this little venture was "neat", but Max didn’t. He’d lost his sense of adventure for little games like this a long time ago. He couldn’t believe he was here now.
He braced his hand on the cave wall but it slipped and he almost fell on his face. Swearing, he crawled through the last few feet of the small crawl space. The boys told him that the crawl space opened up into a much bigger cavern…at least he hoped it did. When he reached the larger cavern, he was able to stand up. He took a moment to stretch his back and glance at the scene. He had worked up quite a sweat and he could feel the salty sting on each and every little scratch on his hands and arms. As he shined his flashlight, Max could hear the sound of scampering rodents. Rats. He should have expected that.
Max closed his eyes. He hated rats. They made his skin crawl. Ever since high school when a bully locked him in the janitor’s closet and dumped in a box of rats, he’d hated them. The fact that the cave had rats only made it worse, but at least this place was bigger than a janitor’s closet. He supposed rats wouldn’t be the worst thing he could have encountered in here. He tried not to think about the fact that the cave could also have bats. Bats, in his opinion, were nothing more than rats with wings.
Opening his eyes again he shined his light on the floor of the cave. At last he found what he was searching for. In the dust were the boy’s footprints. The prints went into yet another room of the cavern. Squatting down he surveyed the scene before him. He tipped his hat to the back of his head.
Human skeletons, in varying degrees of decomposition, littered the cave floor. The light from his flashlight cast an eerie shadow as it danced across the bones. The scene gave Max a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was a feeling he’d hoped he’d never have again. Some of the skeletons still had fragments of clothing draped around their bones and from where he was, Max could see insects and rats crawling through the menagerie of bones. The sight and smell of decomposing human flesh was worse than the crawl-through cave. He took his hat off his head and wiped the bead of sweat from his brow. It was all he could do not to vomit. He swallowed the bile in his throat and tried to steel himself against the overwhelming need to run away from the horror in front of him. He had a job to do. He could understand why the boys found this fascinating. Their imaginations would have been blown away by the sheer number of possibilities of what this place could be. He doubted they even realized these bones were once human beings. He hoped they wouldn’t realize this place was not a treasure trove but a cavern of horrors.
He’d only seen this sort of carnage one other time back in Dallas when he was with the FBI. He’d been a rookie in police work back then but that case had been similar to this one. Twenty years ago in Dallas they found a number of skeletons in an out-of-the-way place such as this.
Max still had nightmares from that case. He had a hard time accepting that some people kill just for sport. Now, gazing at the scene in front of him, he knew this wasn’t an Indian grave site; it was a crime scene. This, he was afraid, was the handiwork of a serial killer.
Super excerpt! Readers, this one sounds like a winner to me. Don't forget to pick up your copy today.