Kimberly “Kimba” J. Dalferes ––a former Justice Department official whose publications, until recently, focused on criminal and juvenile justice issues. Then a transformation took place she let her humorous side come to the surface and her writing became funny!
I definitely believe Kimba has achieve in her writing what Erma Bombeck said, “Hook ’em with the lead. Hold ’em with laughter. Exit with a quip they won’t forget.”
This seems to be a good overall life goal, don’t you think?
Yes, I do agree Kimba. Thank you for joining us on Authors Visits today. We wanted our readers to know more about you and your writing and books.
Tell me how each book: Crazy Southern Irish Girl, I was In Love With a Short Man Once and Magic Fishing Panties came about.
My first book, I Was In Love With a Short Man Once, was inspired, in part, by my nana’s apple pie recipe. Nana was a great cook, and like most cooks of her era, almost all of her masterpieces were created from scratch. That woman was no friend of Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. In particular, Nana made the most amazing apple pies. Serious stuff of legends. The problem is that no one ever wrote down her recipes or techniques. Nana left this world with the instructions for creating this most treasured of family desserts tucked away securely in her minds’ memory vault. We’ve tried for years, but no family member can recreate Nana’s flaky crust and tart yet sweet and juicy filling. This got me to thinking about stories from my life that I would like to make sure are remembered and handed down. Consequently, many of the stories in Short Man are from my childhood or young adult life.
This first book also came about because I wanted to leave something behind for my son Jimmy. Jimmy is an only child and until he was ten years old it was mostly just the two of us. There are stories about his birth, the time he came home with a rabid bat, and how he got a concussion at the White House that I found myself needing to commit to written form.
Now those are definitely stories worth writing down.
My second book, Magic Fishing Panties, came about by very different inspirations. Whereas Magic Fishing Panties is a humorous essay collection similar in structure to Short Man, many of the stories are inspired by my gal pals. When I earned my membership card to Club 50, I became acutely aware of the importance of the women in my life. I would be forever lost without my gal pals. Magic Fishing Panties, in a way, is a love letter to all the women in my life, both near and far.
What did you find most interesting as you wrote each story?
Stories from my childhood always surprise me. I’ve found myself remembering the most interesting details: the smell of my nana’s White Shoulders perfume. The rough scrape of my Grandpa’s beard stubble when he gave me a hug. The feel of the hot gritty sand under my feet at a south Florida beach. I’ve recalled in great detail the homes of my childhood and even penned an entire story about my GeeGee’s house entitled Peas Behind the Washer.
It’s also interesting to see the life lessons that have sometimes emerged as I’ve worked through the story development process. For example, when I began to write the story about getting a tattoo, I had no idea it would evoke the challenges faced by those who stay behind when our loved ones go off to war. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a very funny tale, but I hope the essay title – Exposed Temptations – entices the reader to want to find out how the Hubs reacted to my newly inked hip upon his return from overseas.
Does humor come easily to you when you are writing?
Yes and no. Humor writing is a funny thing (pun very much intended). One person’s belly laugh is someone else’s not so much. Because I write nonfiction, my writing tends to be based upon observation and personal experiences. I “collect” story ideas at odd moments. For example, I wrote and entire essay about being stuck on a Northern Virginia city bus in a blizzard based on my Facebook postings during the ordeal. Recently, after perusing the back-to-school sales at the local mall with my husband, I was inspired to write an essay about the five types of male shoppers. I think the humor part comes easy in that perhaps I view the world through a kind of quirky lens. I remember Eddie Murphy once noting that comedians are wired differently as compared to most people. Comedians see the ridiculous in very mundane situations and then play out in their minds how things could turn out differently. An Elvis song playing in the background at the big box store might cause a humorist to wonder: what would Elvis buy at Walmart? What would happen if Elvis lost his toddler at the mall? What would it be like to have Elvis as your sales clerk at check-out?
What is a typical day of writing like for you?
Well, for one thing, it’s usually dark outside. I have a day job, so most of my writing is relegated to any free time I might have in the evenings or occasionally on weekends down on the dock at the lake house. I keep a folder of story assignments and inspirations or ideas on the desktop of my computer. The process that often works best for me is to create a story outline, fill in the observations, and then work the essay into a cohesive story arc. I come back to Erma Bombeck often here: Hook ’em with the lead. Hold ’em with laughter. Exit with a quip they won’t forget. I even have this quote posted on my website.
Some people may not know but you are a fisherwoman. Tell us about your Sitka fishing.
Back in 2005, the women in our family stomped our collective feet and demanded that we be allowed to tag along on the annual “boys-only” Alaska fishing trip. We had heard so many wonderful stories from the boys: husbands; fathers; brothers; and sons all blissfully sharing tales of beautiful Alaska. We gals wanted a shot at the glory. The push-back was in fun, but a little serious too: there would be no girly girls allowed. We would be expected to pull our own weight, be down on the dock at o’dark thirty – no time for hair or make-up, manage our own poles, and basically “woman-up.” The boys never expected us to survive more than one trip. Well game on/fish on! I’m happy to report that eleven years later we gals are still going strong. We’ve seen some amazing sights: breaching humpbacks, pods of killer whales, sea lions the size of VW Bugs. I’ve felt the distinctive tug of an Alaskan kind salmon on the line and the thrill of landing a 35 pounder. It just goes to show you, if you tell a strong southern Irish gal she can’t do something, you better get out of her way.
You have a new book out, Crazy Southern Irish Gal. I understand this book it dishes on a wide variety of topics. You have woven what may appear to be dissimilar themes into a tapestry that invokes your life’s motto: live out loud, laugh often, and ‘occasionally’ drink tequila.
Yes, from days of my youth spent blissfully on the shores of Florida’s beaches to menopause and empty nests. Together, these books offer descriptive and colorful essays on subjects such as getting a tattoo in midlife, unique uses for kitty litter, handling a rabid bat, public speaking gone wrong, and naked hot-tubbing in Vegas. Dalferes skillfully weaves what at first glance may appear to be dissimilar themes into a tapestry that invokes her life’s motto: live out loud, laugh often, and ‘occasionally’ drink tequila.
These are delightful books that our readers will enjoy reading.
Thank you so much for coming to visit. Keep us posted on new books releasing.