As the protagonist, readers easily know Lillian Dove’s wants, dislikes, struggles, urges, and misadventures in the Lillian Dove Mystery series. But Dahlia—Lillian rarely refers to her as mother—is only known through Lillian’s eyes. Yet, Dahlia’s actions and reactions are just as complex as her daughter’s. It’s why I thought interviewing Dahlia Dove might be eye-opening.
Q: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, Dahlia. I understand this is the first time you have agreed to speak to someone about your relationship with Lillian.
A: Nothing much else to do today but sit and count the flies on the window. Got me jailed here at Oaks Manor. But, I plan to break out and be on my own, soon.
Q: I understand you had several strokes and had to come here to live. It’s why Lillian moved to Frytown, wasn’t it? To take care of you?
A: I can die just as well here as well as in my condo. (looks away) Didn’t ask her to come.
Q: Yes, well, many who have read Admit to Mayhem and Suppose feel you come across abusive to your daughter. How do you see your relationship?
A: Abuse’s me? (nods sharply) You can say that again. Like I said, she keeps me imprisoned, but I’m breaking out. I’ve got it all planned.
(sucks on her bottom lip, looking out the window)
That girl came into the world wailing, thinking life’s unfair. Well, take it from me, Lillian June Dove, (now she leans slightly out of her wheelchair and stares directly across the room as if Lillian were with us), life isn’t fair. No matter what you want, you’re going to get something different. (stares over at me) If you could have picked your life, would you picked the one you got?
Q: Well, I…um…I understand your husband had problems, and Lillian has struggled with alcohol most of her life. But, I bet you’re very happy about her recovery.
A: Is she saying stuff about her Dad? Let me tell you, missy, Elvin Dove did the best he could with what he’d been given. You can’t ask for more than that from any human being. If he could pick, do you think he’d ask for the same life?
(she puffs air out from between her smacked lips.) I did the best I could, working two jobs, raising three kids. What do you do for a living?
Q: (Apologetically) I’m sure you were a good mother.
A: Does Lillian say that?
Q: (Nervously) Well, I….
A: (puffs air again between her lips, leans bent over in half, close.) I tried to keep bad things from happening to that girl. Don’t think I didn’t. No matter what I did, she was bound and determined to ruin her life. Doesn’t listen any better today.
(leans back, a bit puffed up like an old hen sitting on her nest) I warned her to stay away from Edgar Pike, don’t think I didn’t. The girl’s lucky she didn’t get herself killed. (shrugs) What do you do with a girl who lives in her mother’s condo, won’t get out, and a then you find out a guy winds up dead in the kitchen? My kitchen!
(gives me a few seconds to think about the question, then, she squints one eye and stares at me with the other, nodding.) Didn’t think you’d have a good answer. Let me tell you, it ain’t been easy.
Q: Do you see a time when you and Lillian will be close?
A: Who says we ain’t close?
Q: Well…ah…there are difficulties between the two of you.
A: What’s your name?
Q: D. J. Adamson. I am the author of the series.
A: Author? (smacks her lips as if she doesn’t approve of the profession) Mothers and daughters don’t always see eye-to-eye. Do you get along with your mother?
Q: Actually, she is a lot like you, except…
A: See there. Told you. (begins to wheel away out of the room)
Q: (hurrying to hold her) I have just one or two more questions.
A: (turns) Well, hurry up. I’m wasting heartbeats sitting here.
Q: (waiting two beats, so the question has effect) Do you love your daughter, Dahlia?
A: (appears shocked at the question, head rises on her neck, eyes widen, she begins wheeling her chair back over to me, slowly, purposefully, and I begin worrying what to do if she should attack)
Love her? (she is now inches away from me, so close, our knees almost touch.)
What a hell of a question to ask me. She’s my daughter.
Without another word, Dahlia Dove whirled her wheelchair around and left the lobby where we held our conversation. I will say this, she is a formidable woman. Like Lillian described her, of German heritage, she comes across like a woman who when she came home from working two jobs could hold a kid under each arm, fold the laundry and still kick Lillian in the butt.
Brusque, snappy, but there is also something tender and affecting about Dahlia. Like her daughter, she is a survivor.
I am more curious now than I was before whether she will eventually find a way to get out of Oaks Manor and how she and her relationship with Lillian will progress.
D. J. Adamson is the author of the Lillian Dove Mystery series, and Outré, a science fiction-suspense YA which has won three Indie awards. She is the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and blog, L’Artiste with offers authors speaking on craft, marketing, and the creative mind .
D.J. teaches writing and literature at Glendale College. And to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she is the Membership Director of the Los Angeles Sisters in Crime, Vice President of Central Coast Sisters in Crime, a member of the Southern California Mystery Writers, California Writers Club and Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society.
Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or newsletter go to http://www.djadamson.com. Make friends with her on Facebook or Goodreads.