Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ken Dalton: My Writing Journey

Welcome to the The Tartan Shroud blog tour!  Ken Dalton is here to share the tale of how he became an author of the amazing The Tartan Shroud and numerous other novels.  Sit tight until the end, there's another giveaway!

About Ken Dalton:
Ken Dalton was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up with his parents, his older sister, Pat, and younger brother, Richard in Los Angeles. The year 1938 informs the quick reader that Ken’s older than a lot of people, but younger than some.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken.

At the end of World War ll, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustratedin August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines includingGolf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.  Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.

My Writing Journey...
I began writing twenty-two years ago, after I received a fortunate early retirement  package.  For the first time in my life I had the hours to do what I wanted and I was determined to make the best use of those moments.  I sat back and looked at my life—what did I do that I had fun doing? The answer was golf and travel.  From there it was a short step to write golf and travel articles so I could enjoy what I was doing and get paid for my efforts.

The first article I sold was titled, Scotland’s Secret Golf Treasures. I was able to combine golf and travel and see my name in print, a heady combination. During the next ten years I wrote golf and travel articles, including a monthly column, for magazines, the web, and television.  But toward the end of that decade, I begin to wonder if my writing, i.g., golf and travel, was good enough to write a novel.

So I unwound my golf commitments and began the educational process involved with writing a novel that readers would buy and enjoy. After years of learning the craft of writing novels, I created the first Pinky and Bear mystery, The Bloody Birthright.  Along the line I realized I could write more than one Pinky and Bear mystery a year, but I decided one a year was enough due to the extensive travel—Rome and Tuscany along with Los Angeles and Eureka, Nevada in The Bloody Birthright—Quebec City, Canada and Needles, California in The Big Show Stopper—The Northern California wine country in Death is a Cabernet, and Boston and Scotland in The Tartan Shroud.  Finally, I should note that Pinky and Bear work out of Carson City, Nevada, a location I feel symbolizes that the two could be avoiding success by living in one of America’s smallest capitol cities.

In The Bloody Birthright, Pinky, while downing his third gin and tonic, tries to justify basing his law practice in Carson City. “We both know Carson City is a dump, but at least we’re surrounded with real people.”

Bear responds, “Right! This town’s loaded with patsies, but we've got a lot less than Reno, Vegas, or LA.”

Ken and Tribute Books are hosting a huge giveaway!! Enter the giveaway by using the form below.  Ten people will be winning a paperback copy of Ken's novel!  Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tartan Shroud Book Blurb:
A bulldozer unearths a young girl’s body on a golf course in Scotland but for some reason, Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Tayside seems unwilling to pursue the case. Fergus contacts Willow Stone, his American cousin and pleads for help. Willow, Pinky’s favorite ex-wife, calls in all her chips and convinces Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Ettamae to go to the small Scottish town of Pitlochry to help her cousin find the killer. Along the way the American’s come across a forester with a wonky eye—haggis—the occasional bad weather spring day—various Scottish policeman all named McSomething—mutton pie—a near new, sixty-year-old Austin Taxi—a bathroom that could double for a freezer—the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent—many glasses of whiskey and beer—ancient records—a broadsword—and a real Duke! Ride with Bear, Flo, and Henry during their final mad dash across Scotland to try to stop the murderer before he kills again inside the hallowed halls of Blair Castle.

Copies can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and from Ken's website.  Follow the rest of the tour stops here.  Keep up with Ken and The Tartan Shroud on Facebook, Goodreads, the website, and the blog.

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Hilary, thanks for inviting Ken to stop by and chat about how he became a mystery writer!