Interrogation—Dharma Kelleher

DharmaWho: Dharma Kelleher

What: She 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.

Where: Arizona

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Congrats on the upcoming release of your debut novel, IRON GODDESS! Can you tell us a little bit about how this story came together?

Thanks! I’ve been riding motorcycles for several years now. A few years ago, I saw a news story about a custom motorcycle shop that specialized in bikes for women. I’m 5’6” and there are a lot of motorcycles that are simply too tall for me, especially sport and off-road bikes. So I imagined a female biker that ran her own shop. That was the starting point.

Your protagonist, Shea Stevens, is billed as an “ex-con biker chick turned law-abiding citizen”. How much of you is in this character?

There are some similarities and a lot of differences. We’re both bikers who are willing to go to extremes to protect the people we care about. We both live outside the mainstream of polite society. We are both estranged from our families of origin, though for different reasons. And we both are adept at picking locks.

But you wouldn’t want me working on your bike or car. I don’t even change my own oil. And I’ve never spent time in prison. So far.

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