Sunday, July 20, 2014

Getting to know Bob White

My guest today is Bob White, the main character in Jan Dunlap’s Birder Mystery series. Let’s get to know him.

Patricia: Bob, what’s your occupation and how did you come to choose it?

Bob: I’m a counselor at Savage High School in Savage, Minnesota. At least, that’s what I put on my tax returns, since that’s my paying occupation. My REAL occupation, or maybe I should say pre-occupation, is birding. I live and breathe to go birding, to track down and see or hear every bird I can find. Unfortunately, in the last few years, I seem to be developing a bad habit of finding bodies when I’m birding – as in human dead bodies. I guess you could say that the ‘mystery’ of nature has taken on new meaning for me, because every time I find a body, I invariably end up having to solve a crime and find a murderer, when all I wanted was to find a new bird for my life list!

Patricia: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?

Bob: Bird. Bird. Ah…bird. Eat my wife’s cooking. She’s an excellent chef. Bird.

Patricia: Are you married or involved in a serious relationship? Tell us about that.

Bob: Yes, I am married now, and it’s a very serious relationship, although the first time I proposed to my wife, it was because I was thinking about ducks that mated for life more than about getting married myself. You can find that story in my first adventure The Boreal Owl Murder, by the way. Luce, my wife, is also a birder in her free time. In fact, we first met on a group birding trip in northwestern Minnesota, looking for a Northern Hawk Owl. We spent two days crammed into the back of the group leader’s little car, so we couldn’t exactly avoid each other.

Patricia: Tell us about one of your most memorable “adventures.” What drew you into the mystery?

Bob: The mother of one of my students was murdered, and it was my mother who found the body when I took her birding as a Mother’s Day surprise. The day didn’t quite turn out as I had planned. Then my student almost got me arrested and her brother punched me in the nose. I had my car tires shot out, and one of my 10th grade girls’ softball players finally mastered her home-run swing to save her Prom date from getting killed. That was pretty memorable. That was my second adventure Murder on Warbler Weekend.

Patricia: Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go and/or what was your favorite vacation? Have any of your travels involved solving a mystery?

Bob: I love traveling! Generally, my traveling is around Minnesota since I’m working on setting a record for seeing the most bird species in the state, but whenever I have a chance to go out-of-state and see more birds, I take off. In Falcon Finale, my fourth adventure, I headed to Flagstaff, Arizona, but my new habit followed me, and I ended up solving a cold murder case from twenty years back. Right now, I’m finishing off my seventh adventure, which took place along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last winter, and I’ll tell you right now, it involved a lot more than just fresh grapefruit and sunshine! Birding is always a wild ride when I’m in town…

The Bob White Birder Murder Mysteries

Jan Dunlap is a writer, speaker, birdwatcher, and mother of five children. A former Army brat, she currently makes her home in Minnesota while she devises plot twists in her humorous Bob White Birder Murder Mystery series. Jan holds a BA in English from Regis University in Denver, an MA in Theology from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, and an MA in English Studies from Minnesota State University-Mankato. Her humorous spiritual memoir titled "Saved by Gracie: How a rough-and-tumble rescue dog dragged me back to health, happiness, and God" recounts how her dog helped her overcome a growing anxiety disorder and explores current research into pet and nature therapy. Jan welcomes visitors to her website at and hopes you’ll subscribe to her monthly newsletter for laughter and book news.