Dawn Kirby lives in West TX with her husband of 17 years and their three children. Thanks to Twisted Core Press, she has published two of the seven novels planned in the Serenity Series, Secrets and Deceit. The third, Tribulations is slated to be released sometime this spring.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Lisette. It’s always such a pleasure to chat with you.

Lisette: It’s my absolute pleasure, Dawn!

What is your latest book?

My latest is Tribulations. It’s the third book in the Serenity Series. Edits are forthcoming so I hope to be able to announce a pub date sometime soon.

In the meantime, I’ve begun work on a new book. For once I’ve decided to steer clear of vampires and werewolves. This one is all about finding your destiny in the most unlikely place…Dreams.


Is your recent book part of a series?

Heaven on Earth is going to be a stand alone title. I’m enjoying it so much, it won’t be my last.

What else have you written?

I’ve written several shorts for 7DS Books. The first, Sinful Pleasures (LUST) in Seven Deadly Sins II is probably my favorite and dearest to my heart. Others include stories in Seven Deathly Soles, Seven Dress Sizes, A Man’s Promise and Linger.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

The part I enjoy the most is finishing it so I can hand it off to my betas. I love the relationship I have with mine. They aren’t afraid to tell me what they like and what they don’t. At the same time they know I won’t change the storyline simply because they don’t want a specific character to go through a specific thing. It is fun to see my characters from different POV though. One reader may connect with one while another might connect with another. Either way, both betas are passionate about the ones they love.

The part I hate is probably waiting on edits. It’s a nerve-racking experience no matter how many times you’ve gone through it.


Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

The title? Yes. The ending? Not so much. I’m a punster. Most of what I write I write on the fly. If I do plot out the ending it usually turns out to be the ending I want to avoid.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

For me it depends on how the flow happens to be that day. If it’s good I keep going. There’s always tomorrow to go back and check for mistakes. If it’s a stare-at-the-screen kinda day I tend to go all the way back to the beginning and slowly torture myself.


Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Don’t quit. This is a tough row to hoe. Connect with people who are as passionate as you are. Seek out people who can teach you how to navigate all the different paths that lie in front of you. Never assume you know everything there is to know. This is a constantly changing profession. Something new will always be right around the corner.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I’ve met some fabulous people through Social Media. Some I’ve met, some I hope to meet in the future. These are the people that have really helped me put my writing career on the right track. Some have touched me personally and I can’t imagine not having them in my life. Distance be damned. There have been a few people who I’ve had to block, but for the most part I’d have to say I’ve had a great experience—so far.

Meeting people is my favorite part. Trying to keep up with all the different outlets is the hard part. Sometimes you just don’t have anything to say. Other times writing takes precedence. It’s taken me a few years to realize that having a presence online doesn’t mean having to post something every single day. It means posting something relevant. Something people can discuss. An image that makes people smile or think. Sure we need to toss in a link now and then to our work, but I honestly believe building a rapport with people is a lot more important than blasting them with one link after another.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

Until five years ago I never considered writing. I’d had my hands full taking care of my kids, my nieces and nephews and daily life in general. The last thing I needed was something else drawing on time I didn’t have. I loved to read when I was in school, but I hadn’t picked up a book in over ten years at that point. Then this idea I had when I was in school started to grate on me. Over the course of months I couldn’t shake it. It woke me up at night until I finally sat down and put it on paper. By the time I finished I’d been sitting at the kitchen table for 8 hours and was determined to write more. Once I finished it I knew writing was something I had to do.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Handling a bad review is as easy as realizing that not every book is for everybody. Good reviews are great. Bad reviews can be too. Especially if the person reviewing the book takes the time to explain what they didn’t like. Look at them as another beta. If it’s something a writer can fix while writing their next book (editing, plot holes), work on it. If it’s the genre or an element of the story the reviewer couldn’t get into, shake it off. At the end of the day our books are our stories. Only we can tell them. We can’t control what happens once they leave our protective hands.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I’m a night owl. There’s something about the dark that helps the words flow. Add a little music to the calmness of the night and you’ve got the most magical environment possible to create a new world.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in West Texas. I honestly don’t think I’d ever leave for good. My family is here. BUT there are so many places I’d like to visit. If I could, I’d start here in Texas and work my way out to other states. After that—look out world!

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Automobiles definitely. Planes just scare me. It would take one hell of a journey to get me on one. Boats? Unless the water is crystal clear and I can get out quick, count me out. I want to see what I’m swimming around with or possibly away from. Trains could be fun, but they aren’t really an option here in Wt. Texas.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

My favorite is Hot Tamales. Pure cinnamon heaven.

Least favorite? Potato chips. Any kind of chip.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

I would go to my favorite park and spend the day there. With three kids to keep up with it’s not often I get to slow down and really enjoy the beautiful things that surround us everyday.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty. Give me that and you have a loyal friend for life.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

Country music makes me cry. Whether the song is happy or sad doesn’t matter, it brings me to tears every time.

What makes you angry?

Political Correctness. I understand where it came from in the beginning, but it is so far out of control it’s led to most of the people in this country wearing their feelings on their shirtsleeve. Are we entitled to have our own opinions? Yes, as long as those opinions come with a filter that wipes out anything that could possibly offend another person.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

An office. I’d love to have a place that I could write, leave and come back to find everything as I left it. Research as you know takes up a lot of space. Kids take up even more. Those two things tend to clash when your office space consists of a corner of your living room couch.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Being lied to.

What music soothes your soul?

I listen to all types. In a way it all speaks to me in some way. Lately though I’ve been listening to more instrumentals. Classical or contemporary, it doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely amazing to me how much a single song can change your whole perspective.










Darcia Helle writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.  Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind.

Time to chat with Darcia!

What is your latest book?

On June 1st of this year, I published Killing Instinct: A Michael Sykora Novel. This is the third book in the series. No Justice is book #1 and Beyond Salvation is book #2.

I love to explore the darker side of life, and Killing Instinct is one of my darkest. The plot involves obsession, revenge, a bit of madness, and a love story, though not in the traditional romantic sense.


What else have you written?

I have 10 published books, including the three in my Michael Sykora Series. My other titles are:

Enemies and Playmates

Hit List

Miami Snow

The Cutting Edge

Into The Light

Quiet Fury: An Anthology of Suspense


All of my writing falls somewhere within the suspense genre. Enemies and Playmates is my first and leans heavily into romantic suspense. Hit List is more psychological suspense. The Cutting Edge is dark humor suspense, if that’s even a genre. It’s also the only book I’ve written in first person. Into The Light is my only book (so far) with a paranormal aspect.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love writing the first few scenes. This is the period when I’m discovering the characters and their stories.

I get very cranky when I reach the final edit, before sending the book off to my editor. By then, I’ve lived and breathed the story to excess. I’m tired of my own words, tired of the routine and drudgery.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I usually fall somewhere between these two parameters. A normal routine for me is, when I sit down to write, I first reread the scenes I wrote during my previous session. This helps me get into the mindset of the characters and the mood of the story. In the process, I do some minor editing. Occasionally, I find myself completely rewriting scenes or even tossing them out. Typically, though, I finish writing the entire book before doing any major edits.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

A lot of my research is done before I even know what I need or why. I read a lot of nonfiction books on sociology; studies in human behavior, how the mind works, true crime, etc. I also read a lot of random articles, such as research studies on criminal recidivism, the effects of isolation in prison, and assorted, obscure tidbits of information. When I come across something of particular interest, I file it away for reference.

Both of these factors came into play with Killing Instinct. I’d read an article on the Internet underground and knew immediately that Michael Sykora, my main character in this series, had to explore this vast part of cyberspace unknown to most of us. During the writing process, I was also reading an early review copy of The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime by Adrian Raine. A big part of this book’s content involves looking at and understanding the fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) of sociopaths. This helped me give a realistic feel to the protagonist’s character, and also sparked the idea for something that happens to shape the man he becomes.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I was definitely born to write. I’m pretty sure I’d require a padded cell if I was forced to stop.

I wrote my first story in kindergarten. Over summer breaks from school, I’d create word search puzzles, each with a specific theme. I loved doing phonics workbooks, and was probably the only 10 year old in my town who got excited about conjugating verbs. During my teen years, I wrote a lot of dark poetry. Even back then, I preferred the dark side.

When I wasn’t writing, I was creating stories in my mind. I’d lie awake half the night with a story playing out. When those stories became so invasive that I could no longer sleep, I sat down and wrote a scene. Then I wrote another. Soon I had my first novel

Writing is not something I decided to do one day; it’s an inherent part of who I am.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I despise mornings. My brain cells don’t talk to each other before 9 a.m., and even then they’re not happy about being called upon. Creativity is impossible before noon.

When my sons were young, I did all my writing late at night. Sometimes I’d be up until four in the morning writing, despite having to be up at 6:30 to get the kids off to school and myself off to work. Now that my sons are grown and I no longer have a day job, I do most of my writing in the afternoon when the house is quiet. Once my husband gets home from work, there is noise and various distractions. I don’t do well with noise and distractions when I’m trying to write. My dream home will have a soundproof room.

My must have is silence. White noise doesn’t bother me. The dogs can bark, providing they aren’t barking at someone pounding on my door. But, to write, I need to immerse myself in the characters and their story. Voices take me out of the moment, whether they belong to a person in the house with me or are coming from the TV. (Or my loud neighbors.) And, as much as I love music, it’s far too distracting. I find myself singing the lyrics. Even music without lyrics seeps into my being and alters my mood.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

Cover design can be crucial, since it’s often the first thing a person sees. The cover design reflects the genre, the content, and, more importantly, either entices readers or gives them a subliminal cue to move along.

I’ve personally passed on countless books based solely on the cover. For instance, I don’t like Harlequin romances. No offense intended to the authors or the readers; I simply don’t like formulaic romance novels. Certain covers give me the immediate impression of this sort of novel, and I won’t even stop to read the description. Other times, I see an obviously amateur cover, sometimes almost cartoonish, and again I won’t bother to look further. I could be missing out on many books I’d enjoy, but the cover design acts like a flashing caution sign telling me to avoid the story ahead.

We can never know what appeals to any one person. The best I can hope for is that my covers manage to reflect the story within and capture the attention of the majority of readers looking for the kind of books I write.

Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?

This question made me laugh. I have absolutely no control over my characters. They are in full control from the time they pop into my head, which tends to happen spontaneously and sometimes at inopportune moments.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

My favorite comfort food is ice cream. In fact, I’m a bit of an ice cream snob. I prefer organic, such as Stoneyfield Farms. Cold Stone Creamery is absolutely addictive. I like Ben & Jerry’s, partly because they don’t use hormones on their cows and also because it’s creamy and tastes really good. I’m not a big fan of the typical grocery store brands, such as Breyers. The flavor is a little generic and it’s not creamy enough. The one oddity in my ice cream snobbery is that I could probably overdose on Dairy Queen.

My least favorite food is, without a doubt, peanut butter. The smell alone makes my stomach quiver.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I love to write from the POV of a deranged killer, but I’m a total, unapologetic peacenik.

What makes you angry?

I’d need to write an entire book to answer this question. On second thought, I’d probably need to write a series of books!

Some things that anger me: lack of respect, animal abuse, child abuse, narrow-mindedness, insurance companies, greed, and the hackers who hijacked my website for use in a bank scam.

What music soothes your soul?

Almost all music soothes me. I have an eclectic, obsessive, out-of-control collection. Certain styles of music work better to soothe me, depending on the situation and my mood. Overall, there is nothing like a blues guitar to make my spirit vibrate. A few chords is all it takes for the music to creep under my skin and touch me to the core.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

My dogs make me smile, even on my worst days.




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