Continuing in our bimonthly Author Talk Series, SEAD Gallery is excited to host Rhonda Brinkmann, coauthor of the Darla King Mystery Series. Held at the SEAD Gallery and Bookshop, the event will be on October 19th from 6:30-8PM. Discussing topics such as coauthor collaboration and writing groups, Ms. Brinkmann will also include readings from the Darla King Mystery Series and an exclusive look into her upcoming project.
Rhonda Brinkmann is a fiction and nonfiction writer, coauthoring with Cyndi Riccio under the pen name Rosalee Richland to create the Darla King Mystery Series. Two authors with a passion for square dancing, Riccio and Brinkmann collaborate well to bring their love of dancing and of mystery to a vibrant series full of intrigue and friendship.
We asked Ms. Brinkmann a few questions to hear about her influences and processes.
What made you want to be an author, and more specifically write mystery novels?
My Rosalee Richland coauthor, Cyndi Riccio, and I enjoy both mystery novels and square dancing. Since square dancers often take long road trips to get to dances, Cyndi and I had a lot of time to talk. Just for fun, we started tossing around ideas about possible traveling mystery plots—and that’s what grew into the Darla King Mystery Series. I’ve been a freelance writer for years, but the three Darla King novels are my first book-length projects. I love being a book author, meeting readers, and sharing my imagination with others.
How has your passion for square dancing influenced your writing? When did you get involved in square dancing?
I started square dancing in 2000 and was immediately impressed with the friendliness of square dancers. In the books, Cyndi and I wanted to feature the warm and welcoming nature of square dance clubs. The square dance motto is “Friendship Set to Music,” and that’s what it is! Some parts of the plots in our novels involve understanding about square dance outfits, so I plan to wear one to make my presentation.
What are your greatest influences as a writer and how do those reflect in the Darla King Series?
I began reading—and loving—mystery novels early in life. Nancy Drew stories, Agatha Christie novels, and others. I’d say my current writing influences are Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries), Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum Mysteries), and Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries), although that’s certainly not a comprehensive list. I enjoy getting to know the characters in a series as much as figuring out “whodunit,” and you can see that influence in the Darla King books. Cyndi and I concentrated on developing both an intriguing plot and characters you care about. As far as writing influences, I have to give credit to Brazos Writers too. This regional writing group has some excellent writers, multiple published authors, and programs and activities that inspire me to write—and challenge me to write better.
In addition to writing novels, Ms. Brinkmann owns a freelance writing and editing business called Wordsmiths4u, where she is a freelance editor. Her roles include collaborating with other authors, writers, editors, and subject matter experts. She particularly enjoys working with academic manuscripts, start up business, and up-and-coming authors. Her background expanses from more than ten years of technical editing experience, to nonfiction and educational writing, and even publication in national, regional, and local publications, thus giving her a platform to speak into multiple topics at this author talk.
Rhonda is also an active member of Brazos Writers, the Writers League of Texas, and the Texas Association of Authors. Part of her talk will include the purpose of writing groups, and what it looks like to be in a writing community.
Included in her talk, Ms. Brinkmann will introduce and discuss the Darla King novels, as well as explain coauthoring in the writing process. A crucial part of the Darla King mysteries is the theme of square dancing and its influence in her writing. She will also introduce her current project, the Buffalo Beach Mystery Series, and answer any questions.
We hope to see you the evening of October 19th from 6:30-8 PM for food, wine, and a chance to meet our featured author, Rhonda Brinkmann.