By Robyn Smith
On Aug. 5, many Northern Virginians celebrated National Underwear Day by wearing panties, boxers or briefs. One Fairfax author published her second book.
“I celebrated by doing quite a few interviews, by wearing underwear and by releasing my book,” Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes, author of “Magic Fishing Panties: More Tales from a Crazy Southern Irish Gal,” says.
Upon hearing the news, Dalferes’ fans sent her over a hundred memes to celebrate the holiday, including one of the famous boy-wizard Harry Potter in his underwear.
But why underwear? It’s not necessarily an unusual topic for a comedic 50-something writer to approach, but her book’s name is dedicated to the unmentionables.
“There’s a story in the book called ‘Magic Fishing Panties’ that sort of encapsulates the overall theme of the book because it talks about women and fishing and gal pals, but it also talks about my family,” Dalferes says. “The title of my book comes from something that my stepmother said and did on a fishing boat in Alaska.”
While Dalferes wants to leave the fishing story unspoiled for her readers, she shares the scenario of one of the other stories teased on the back cover: How would you react to being in public during an earthquake? Oh, and you’re naked.
“My best friend Danielle, who is in several stories of the book, [and I] had both been given gift certificates to the Mandarin Oriental, a very chic, expensive hotel in downtown,” Dalferes says of her activities on the day of the earthquake in 2011. “So we go to get our massages and all of a sudden the room started to rock. [I grew up in] Florida, so I’ve never been in an earthquake in my entire life.”
Dalferes goes on to explain how she and Dani were forced to evacuate the building without getting dressed or even gathering their belongings.
“I have no clothes on. I’m naked and getting a massage, and [the manager’s] like, ‘Put your robe on and get out,’” Dalferes says. “So Dani and I put on our robes, we go outside, and we’re in the middle of downtown D.C. with nothing … Everybody’s coming out of the government buildings and carrying their briefcases and their papers, and we’re literally standing outside in a robe and nothing else in the middle of D.C.”
That’s just one of the several funny anecdotes in the 212-page book, which has already been dubbed a “beach or bathroom” read, according to Dalferes.
Dalferes’ first humorous story collection, “I Was In Love with a Short Man Once,”was originally published in 2011 and republished this past June. She has also kept a blog, The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats, for the past three-and-a-half years, as well as writing for local magazines.
One of Dalferes’ favorite parts of humor writing? The folks who sent her Harry Potter clad in just his skivvies.
“I have really loyal readers,” she says. “They’re really supportive and fun. When you write humor, you meet the best people.”
Dalferes loves to interact with fans by sitting in on local book club meetings.
“All they have to do is give me a glass of wine, and I’m there,” she jokes. “I really like the personal connections with folks. The Northern Virginia area is very well-educated, and they spend a lot of time reading. So there’s a plethora of book clubs in the local area. There’s a lot of opportunity there. But it’s also just fun.”
One of the best experiences Dalferes had with a local book club was based on a theme. Whoever hosted the meeting made food and a playlist following a certain theme based on whatever book the members read. When they reached out to her and asked for some lyrical suggestions, she was inspired to include a playlist in her second book.
Some of the songs featured in the “Magic Fishing Panties”playlist are “Tattoo” by Hunter Hayes, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and Florida State University’s fight song, since Dalferes is an alumna.
She also includes discussion questions for book clubs.