|Robert D. Calkins|
Tell me about yourself?I’m a search and rescue dog handler in Kitsap County, WA, west of Seattle across Puget Sound. In our state that’s a volunteer role, and I have worked everything from routine missing person cases to homicides. Prior to my retirement I was a Public Information Officer (i.e. spokesman) for the Washington State Patrol. That gave me great insight into the world of law enforcement which I use in my books. About a year ago I did something I’m learning is unique: I’m writing a “spectrum” (not a series) of books for different age groups with all the same characters.
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Tell me about your current Book:When bodies start turning up in the woods of western Washington, Bryce Finn and his cadaver dog Sierra must sniff out the evidence, lest more of society’s most vulnerable women fall victim to the Chimera Killer.
“Digger” is a story of sweet dogs and serial killers. Washington state’s youngest search dog handler, 17-year old Bryce Finn, is up to his fanny pack in a series of murders that some political leaders deny is happening at all. He and his cadaver dog Sierra continue to be one step behind whoever is dumping bodies and one step ahead of detectives trying to unravel the mystery. As the body count grows, Bryce risks his career in SAR, and eventually his life, to resolve the Case of the Chimera Killer. Along the way Bryce meets and nearly loses his first love, and learns the manly art of saying “yes, dear” at all the right times.
Released simultaneously with Digger, Sierra Becomes a Search Dog and Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred introduce pre-school and early readers to the world of K9 search and rescue. They provide some backstory for adults who read Digger and, in turn, adults learn things in Digger that will help them explain concepts in the children’s books. The literary industry hated my idea, but parents are telling me it’s generating some great discussions.
What are you working on now?The sequel to Digger will be unique and barely believable. In it, Bryce’s nose will play as much of a role as K9 Sierra’s.
Where is your favorite place to be when you write? I break writing into two components: creating and typing. My favorite place to create is in the woods with my current search dog K9 Ruger. I come up with ideas, many based on actual searches, and flesh them out in my mind. Then, when I’m back in the home office I do the mechanical typing of what’s in my mind’s eye..
What is your favorite Website?My favorite web site is the Weather Underground, a weather forecasting service. I don’t hang out there for long periods (no games, etc.) but it’s the best managed web site in or out of its niche. Great weather info, often at odds with the “official” forecast, and they’ve allowed users to link in their personal weather stations. I can actually see what’s happening in real time at six or eight weather stations in my community. https://www.wunderground.com/