Welcome to our weekly feature,
Yep, you read it here first. We’re going to the dogs. Oops, make that “dog.” Singular. And make that one very special dog: a collie named Dakota who is the hero of the series Emily Dahill, CID by author Lindsay Downs. The latest in the series, A Body in the Attic, was released during February, and we’re happy to have Lindsay with us this week to tell us about her remarkable series as well as her other novels. So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!
We encourage all readers to leave a comment because one lucky commenter will win an e-book copy of A Body in the Attic in either Kindle or Nook format and ten trading cards for the series! In order to be eligible to win, readers must include their e-mail address with their comment. Lindsay will then contact the winner by e-mail to obtain the address to which to mail the set of trading cards. Thank you to Lindsay for this generous offer!
Lindsay, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? For years I’d played around with writing, but not until my late 50’s did I even think about writing a story for publication. That happened in 2008 when my first book, a WWII romance, was released. Since then I’ve gotten that particular contract back, will retitle the book, change the character names and add more to the story. I’ll then put it back on the market, starting with my publisher Astraea Press.
Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? It was my parents who had the most influence in me wanting to be a writer. Even in school, they backed me when I’d write a story for class and did it my way. They never interfered with the teacher but stood behind me and let me fight my own battles, which most of the time I won.
There are two very unique aspects in your current series, Emily Dahill, CID: 1. Your protagonist is not the stereotypical romance heroine — she’s not only in the Army, but she’s in the CID (Criminal Investigation Division); and 2. Your protagonist’s partner is a collie.
What influenced your decisions in choosing these particular characters? Also, what kinds of challenges do you face with Dakota being a voiceless major character? I’ve always found it more interesting and fun, for me the writer and you the reader, to have a strong female lead character. If you’ve read any of the series, which I hope you have or will, you will notice I don’t have a male lead, human that is, who would tend to trample on her as so often is found in books and TV.
When I created the character of Emily, I wanted someone who wasn’t the typical heroine. She had to be tough but at the same time feminine — don’t forget she’s in the Army. An independent thinker who has no problem mouthing off to a superior and one who leads not only by example, will get into the thick of things, but will teach those around her. She is also more than willing to learn from her other team members.
I created a female role model for women and especially teens who are looking for that one person, real or fiction, they can or want to relate to. And by giving her a fear or weakness, if you will, which she and everyone knows about helps add to making her real.
The biggest challenge I have with Dakota is keeping him out of my head when I’m writing. Seems he wants to be in all the scenes and has complained about that on more than one occasion.
But seriously, when I write in his POV I have to put myself in his head. See what he sees, feel what he feels. Act or at least write the way he would act. It takes a lot of imagination on my part to try to keep his behavior true to dogs in general and collies specifically. I’ve also given him several traits that not only make him more collie, the protective nature of the breed is unbelievable, but I’ve added a few that lets the read think that he’s more than just your average collie. To paraphrase Yogi Bear, Dakota is “Smarter than the average collie.”
Out of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
A Dog Gone Christmas, so far is my top favorite book. The story brings together two very important elements; very young children who have lost a parent in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and collie puppies being led away from a life of cruelty by their mother.
To say the book is a tear-jerker is putting it mildly. Even I, as the author/creator, get teary-eyed at the end.
One thing I’d like to point out about the story, it has two heroines, one of which is Kebi. She was a rescue collie and I’m donating a portion of the royalties to my local collie rescue group, from whom I adopted her.
Who are your favorite authors? I don’t have any particular favorite authors. I keep discovering new ones every day.
Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? Someday I might try writing a Regency period book, my way of course. By that I mean leaving out all the boring, in my opinion, descriptions of what the characters are wearing, especially the women.
And it goes without saying that the heroine would save the day and there might even, forget it there will be, a collie in the book. Got to have my collies.
You’re obviously “a dog person.” What kind of canine assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? My collie, Kebi, was and still is the inspiration to Dakota. Many of the traits I give Dakota I got from her. That plus years of having dogs and learning their behavior has contributed to creating a character people can and do believe in.
You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival. What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? Since I seriously doubt I’ll make it past the Pearly Gates, that’s a tough one. But here goes: my mom, Kebi ( she maybe a collie but to me she’s still human), as a group of one all the women and men of our Armed Forces who have fought and died to keep us free so we can write without fear of censorship, all the women and men of the Armed Forces who, to this day fight for our freedom. Finally, any author who wants to come and party.
Where can you be found on line?
Blog- Murders and Mysteries
LinkedIn- Lindsay Downs
Facebook Page- Dakota-Hero
Goodreads- Lindsay Downs
If you could pick another author’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel of your own, who would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? I’ve never even thought about this and reading the question I still can’t think of a character I’d ask permission to borrow.
You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words would they list? Unusual, Realistic, Dakota, Heartwarming, Tears
Author Biography for Lindsay Downs: It was from my parents that I developed a love for books. My father, a medieval scholar, collected the works of Sir Walter Scott with “The Lady of the Lake,” then and now, my favorite. My mother collected the works of Thomas Hardy — no comment on him.
When I was in high school, I used to infuriate my English teachers by wanting to write my way, not the way they taught the class. Needless to say, I didn’t quietly rebel and usually won my argument.
Later when I started writing, with a focus toward being published, I remembered what I’d learned in school. All that is except for commas, which I still can’t figure out.
After much trial and a lot of errors I developed my own, I sincerely hope, unique style or voice. Of course, my style now includes writing parts of my books in a POV which threw my editor for a loop until she realized that a collie was the hero of the stories
We thank Lindsay, and Dakota, too, for joining us this week and remind all our readers to leave a comment, including their e-mail address, so they can have the chance to win an e-book and read more about Emily and Dakota!