Thursday, April 16, 2009

Local Authors, Local Books
column and radio shows debut

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing author John Duncklee and his wife Penny, who edits and illustrates his books. John has written 17 books, all with a Southwestern theme. Our interview was on KSNM radio, on 570 AM, and was my debut as the host of Local Authors, Local Books, which will air monthly. The show ties in closely with Southwest Senior, a local newspaper for which I just started writing a monthly book review column. The focus of both these efforts will be New Mexico writers writing on local themes, and I expect no lack of excellent subject material.

My first Southwest Senior column came out last week, with an article about David Hoekenga. Here it is:

Local authors, local books

By Bob Sanchez

Thanks to Southwest Senior and Editor Cheryl Fallstead for giving me such a great platform for writing about local authors and their work. We have a lot of talented writers in the area, and the goal is to tell you about as many of them as possible. We'll cover fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and we will gladly highlight self-published authors. The main criterion is that the writer be local or have strong local ties.

And what better person to begin with than my friend David Hoekenga? With three books already published by Xlibris—Santa Fe Solo, Placitas Particular, and The Hampton Court Murders, David shows strong signs of becoming a prolific author. "I have always read voraciously and after retiring had the time to spin some stories," he says. His tale-spinning continues every day "including holidays" from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m., and then he mulls over the story line for the rest of the day as he goes about his other business. "Make time to write regularly," he advises aspiring writers, "and join a writer's group."

Hoekenga has lived in New Mexico since he began his medical internship at UNM in 1971. After ten years as a professor of cardiology at UNM, he went into private practice until his retirement in 2005. So he writes medical thrillers, right?
Well, no. "None of my stories are based on my medical career," he says. "After nearly 40 years in medicine, over three hundred talks and dozens of medical articles I wanted to try something different." He drew on his Danish heritage to create a police heroine named Signe (pronounced "Seena") Sorensen, whose services the city of Copenhagen has kindly loaned to the New Mexico State Police as part of an exchange program. Signe isn't a by-the-book kind of cop, but she's bright, tough, and sexy. As Hoekenga puts it, "smart, saucy, fair, intuitive, appreciates good food and has great legs." In addition to eye-popping Danish gams, plenty of New Mexico's scenery shows up in Hoekenga's southwest mysteries, so readers get a strong sense of the beautiful state we live in.

Don't expect an easy time figuring out whodunit, though. Several readers reported back to the author that they couldn't identify the killer even ten pages from the end of both Santa Fe Solo, and a computer engineer said he skipped work one day to finish reading Placitas Particular. This fellow may have to play hooky again soon, when Jemez Hijinks comes out--think isotopes and government secrets. My, where will Signe's legs take her next?

Hoekenga, a member of Mesilla Valley Writers, has also written The Hampton Court Murders, a murder mystery set in Tudor England. You can purchase any of his books online at or catch up with him at one of his local book signings. His next appearance will be at Picacho Market on Sunday, April 26 from noon until 4 p.m.

If you are a published local writer and would like me to review your book, mail a copy to:
Southwest Senior
P.O. Box 1053
Las Cruces, NM 88004
Attention: Bob Sanchez

Be sure to include your contact information.

Bob Sanchez is the author of Getting Lucky, available from Amazon at, and he blogs at


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congratulations and wishing you much success, Bob!

L. Diane Wolfe

Ruth D~ said...

Sounds like fun . . . the monthly talk show, and a great venue for local talent.