This is my stop during the blog tour for Iron Goddess by Dharma Kelleher. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 18 till 31 July, you can view the tour schedule here.
Iron Goddess (Shea Stevens Thriller #1)
by Dharma Kelleher
Genre: Noir Thriller
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 28 June 2016
In this gritty, fast-paced debut thriller, an ex-con biker chick turned law-abiding citizen risks everything to save her new life—and confront the demons of her past.
Shea Stevens is biker royalty. Her father was the president of the Confederate Thunder Motorcycle Club. Under his watchful eye, she learned how to pick locks, disable alarms, and hot-wire cars like a pro. But all that is ancient history. Or so she thought . . .
After a stint in prison, Shea has worked hard to make a quiet, happy life for herself in Arizona. She spends her time bonding with her big-city girlfriend and running her bike shop, Iron Goddess Custom Cycles, with her dedicated team of misfits. But when one of her employees is shot and three of her specially commissioned bikes are stolen, Shea’s new life collides with the criminal underworld she tried to leave behind.
Shea knows better than to trust the police. So, with her Glock on her hip, she takes the investigation into her own hands. Shea’s search for the bike thieves leads her straight to her father’s old gang—and her estranged sister, whose young daughter has been kidnapped by a rival club. The last thing Shea wants is to be caught in the middle of a war—but if she learned one thing from her old man, it’s that when someone comes at you, you push back. Hard. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do.
You can find Iron Goddess on Goodreads
You can buy Iron Goddess here:
- Barnes & Noble
About the Author:
Dharma Kelleher writes gritty tales about outlaws, renegades, and misfits. Her hobbies include riding motorcycles, picking locks, and getting inked. Her debut novel IRON GODDESS will be published by Penguin Random House’s Alibi imprint on June 28, 2016. Learn more about her and her writing at dharmakelleher.com.
You can find and contact Dharma here:
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but have lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for the past twenty years.
Tell us your latest news?
My debut novel IRON GODDESS was released in June. It’s a noir thriller about a lesbian motorcycle builder who risks everything to rescue her niece from heroin dealers.
When and why did you begin writing?
I dabbled in creative writing when I was a teenager and even worked in journalism for a few years, but eventually drifted away from it. Then about ten years ago, I decided to try it again, primarily because I wasn’t finding the books I wanted to read.
I’m a lesbian and I wanted to read thrillers and other genre fiction with a lesbian protagonist, but which didn’t focus so much on the her sexuality. Nearly all the lesbian novels I could find were either coming out stories, romances, or erotica. So I decided to write my own, where the main character’s sexuality was the least interesting thing about her.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first short story as a teenager. A writer is someone who writes.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Primarily, I was inspired by the amazing diverse community I discovered when I started riding a motorcycle about seven years ago. And women bikers face some unique challenges such as discrimination and bikes that are too tall for a lot of us. I learned there are a select few bike builders who specialize in lower bikes for women.
And when I found Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy television series, which I absolutely fell in love with, I decided I wanted to tell stories about the biker community from a female perspective.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I probably do, but I wouldn’t know how to describe it. I’m just too close, you know?
How did you come up with the title?
Iron Goddess Custom Cycles is the name of the motorcycle shop that the protagonist, Shea Stevens, runs. Since the shop specializes in motorcycles for women, Iron Goddess just kind of fits. But at the same time, the term Iron Goddess describes Shea herself. She has been through hell countless times—surviving a dog attack as a kid, losing her parents as a teenager, going to prison, and yet she’s strong as steel. She is an iron goddess. Like a steel magnolia, but grittier.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
At its core, the story is about family. Not just family of origin, but the other familial bonds we form. Family of friends. Family of co-workers. The story explores estrangement and the challenges of reconciliation.
How much of the book is realistic?
I’ve tried to make it as realistic as possible. I draw heavily on my experiences as a biker and a member of a number of biker groups. As a member of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths, I have made friends with a number of law enforcement officers, including several retired detectives. I’ve learned how to shoot guns, pick locks, and other skills relevant to the story. I’ve also done so much online research about explosives, drugs, and other illegal activities, I’m probably on Homeland Security’s watch list.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not directly, thank goodness. I have based aspects of characters on people I know in the biker community and to an extent myself. Shea and I both have experienced loss and estrangement, but unlike her, I have never been to prison and you wouldn’t want me working on your bike.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder series were a big influence. I love the grittiness of the character. Likewise, I fell in love with the character Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have several. Lawrence Block as I’ve mentioned before. Jim Butcher is also a big influence.
What book are you reading now?
Barbara Seranella’s No Human Involved, which is about Munch Mancini, a recovering heroin addict and gifted auto mechanic. Although I just discovered the series, I’m surprised to see some of the similarities between Munch and my protagonist Shea Stevens.
It breaks my heart that Seranella died at age 50 in 2007, just as I got interested in writing again. And now, here I am, turning 50 this year, with my debut novel out. I aspire to fill her shoes.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Alexandra Oliva just released her debut novel The Last One, which is about a woman in a wilderness survival reality TV show where things go horribly wrong. It’s gritty and surreal and a real page turner. I normally crash around nine o’clock, and I stayed up past midnight to finish it.
As someone who has done a lot of solo backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, I can confirm she really brings to life the mental challenges one faces in these live-and-death situations.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on a sequel to Iron Goddess titled Snitch. Due to circumstances that take place in the first novel, Shea Stevens finds herself working as a confidential informant infiltrating an all-women’s motorcycle club, looking for someone who’s dealing drugs laced with strychnine.
What would you like my readers to know?
If you like exciting, gritty fiction with a strong female lead, I encourage you to check out Iron Goddess. Even though the main character is a lesbian, it’s not what I consider lesbian fiction. There’s no romance, no sex scenes. It’s a hardboiled noir thriller set in the world of outlaw bikers and drug dealers.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Iron Goddess. This giveaway is US and Canada only. Below are the prizes you can win:
- a 25$ amazon gift card
- earplugs with the Iron Goddess shop logo
For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway