Sunday, September 29, 2013

Getting to know Jan Dunlap

I’m pleased to have mystery author, Jan Dunlap, with us today. Let’s get to know her.

Patricia: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?
Jan: I love to swim. I’ve never had lessons, so I’m not very good, but something about moving through water is so calming and blissful for me. I also really like walking outdoors. I’m fortunate to live very near the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and I walk their three-mile loop at least once a week with friends, and in the winter, I go snowshoeing there. I set my fifth murder mystery there, too, so I guess I find walking time to also be my creative thinking time, which is another reason I like to walk!
Patricia: What’s your favorite color? Why?
Jan: Bright or pine green. It makes me think of growing things and the freshness of life, and it connects me to nature, which I find so healing.
Patricia: How would you describe yourself, personality wise?
Jan: I’m kind, polite, and a creative introvert – I love spending time alone to think, create, pray. Alone time recharges all my batteries, which makes me wonder how I ever had the energy to raise my five kids! I think a lot of my brain cells shut down during that time to divert the energy into parenting, which is both exhilarating and exhausting, mentally and physically. Now that my kids are grown and on their own, I’m enjoying pouring my energy into my writing career and developing adult friendships. We got a dog two years ago – I’d been terrified of dogs my whole life – and she not only helped me overcome my fear, but now I do dog-owner things and I love talking with other dog owners everywhere I go. It’s made me more outgoing, since I used to be pretty quiet and shy. I think I’m also less concerned about what other people think of me, too – how can you worry about what people think of you when you’re carrying a bag of dog poop?
Patricia: Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go and/or what was your favorite vacation?
Jan: I grew up as an Army brat, and we traveled all around Europe while my dad was stationed there. I had a multicultural education long before it became an educational buzzword! My favorite place was Venice – it was unlike anywhere else we visited with its gondolas and gorgeous architecture. A few years ago, we went to the western coast of Costa Rica on vacation, and it was fabulous. I really liked Dublin and the Irish people when we visited there recently, so that may merit a return trip, too.
Patricia: How would you complete this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would  ------
Jan: Set up a foundation and give the money away. I’d like to give college scholarships to promising students who would otherwise not be able to go on to college, so they can have the opportunity to fulfill their potential academically and make their own contributions. I think a good education is a gift that never stops giving to both the student and everyone around them.

Jan Dunlap is the author of the humorous Bob White Birder Murder Mysteries (all five of which have been nominated for the annual Minnesota Book Awards) that follow the adventures of a really nice guy who finds dead bodies when he’s out birding. With readers across America and Europe, Jan’s brand of humorous storytelling has earned her accolades from critics and readers alike, along with fans of all ages. Her characters are sketched from real life and real people; as a weekly humor columnist for her local newspapers for five years, Jan polished her skills of observation and human insight that continue to win her new readers of both her mystery series and her online blog. Currently teaching English online as an adjunct for New Mexico Junior College (thanks to a master’s degree in English Studies from Minnesota State University-Mankato), Jan frequently speaks to book clubs, community service organizations, writers’ groups, birders, and senior living communities about birds, writing, and the importance of humor. Jan is the mother of five children and lives in Chaska, Minnesota, with her husband Tom, her daughter Colleen, and their dog Gracie.

Links to Barnes & Noble (both print and Nook available for each book)