“Adapting is HUGE in publishing today. Things are changing at warp speed and if you don’t keep up, you’re left in the dust.”
I’m really excited to have DV Berkom, best-selling author with us today. I had trouble deciding what to ask you today, DV, since there’s so much to talk about. You’ve published two Leine Basso thrillers as well as a slew of Kate Jones thrillers. Her books are available on Amazon, BN, Smashwords.com, iBookstore
Like me, you’ve moved around a lot. We’re in the minority—less than 12% of Americans ever move out of the state they were born in. How do you think living in different parts of the world has influenced your writing?
Hi Susan, and thank you for having me.
Living in several different places has helped me in so many ways—for one thing, I learned how to adapt to change. My family moved A LOT when I was growing up, and it was a challenge, to say the least. When you’re a kid and you have to leave what you know (friends, routine, school, etc.) you learn really fast how to reinvent yourself or life becomes a major sucklet. Apparently, I grew accustomed to adapting to new circumstances, as I continued to move every 8-10 months once I’d graduated from high school and could make my own choices. Moving actually became a habit, if you can imagine. It wasn’t until I was quite a bit older that I realized I needed to slow down and build a life. Adapting is HUGE in publishing today. Things are changing at warp speed and if you don’t keep up, you’re left in the dust.
I think the biggest plusses to living a nomadic lifestyle would have to be all the experiences, people, and places I’ve encountered. Everything I’ve done and seen, everyone I’ve met, all play an integral part in my writing. The old trope about travel broadening your mind is spot-on.
I agree totally and besides, I’ve learned a new word—sucklet. But tell us about Kate Jones.
Kate Jones is a really fun character to write. When I first decided to tell her story, I was living in Arizona and wrote what became Touring for Death (the 4th novella in the series). She had a murky past to which I alluded, but didn’t really go into why she was on the run. A couple of completed Kate manuscripts later, a friend of mine suggested I write a prequel, describing the fateful decision she made that started her on her current path, running from her ex—the ruthless leader of a Mexican drug cartel. That became Bad Spirits, and it was published in the fall of 2010 by a boutique e-publishing company. I found I enjoyed taking care of all the facets of self-publishing, so went out on my own in the spring of 2011.
Interesting question, Susan. Which point of view to use comes easily for me. It’s all about the story. Kate has always been first person. I find it much easier to write her stories in that POV. It’s very intimate and I find that often I’m as surprised as the reader how the story turns out, since I try to limit myself to seeing what’s happening from Kate’s viewpoint. For my other series with ex-assassin Leine Basso, I found I wanted to be able to write from other characters’ POV, so started writing in 3rd. I LOVED writing Santiago’s (Leine’s love interest) thoughts, as well as the other characters. As for pantsing versus plotting, I started out as a pantser but then took a great class on plotting, so now use a hybrid style.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given about writing?
“Pick a horse and ride.” In other words, you gotta write and finish the damn book, not get distracted by all the shiny new ideas floating around in your head.
Do you have a constant theme or an overarching concern?
Strong female characters who can actually help themselves rather than rely on someone else to rescue them, redemption, and second chances.
When did you discover your passion for writing?
I’ve written stuff (short stories, comic books, etc.) since I was 7 years old, but I finished my first full-length novel in 2006 and holy cow, was I hooked!
Can you remember the title of the first book you REALLY loved?
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. Loved, loved, LOVED that book.
Oh, me, too. What’s your favorite James Bond and why?
Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. In my mind, he is the quintessential James Bond. Rough around the edges, passionate, dangerous, and wow, can he take a beating. Did you see that torture scene with the chair? Yowzers.
Yup, memorable! What are you currently working on and when do you plan to release your next book?
I’m currently working on the 6th book in the Kate Jones Thriller series where she ends up back in Mexico, and not because she’s on vacation. There’s going to be a little showdown with an arch-nemesis. And that’s all I’m going to say J I’m aiming to publish the end of April, fingers crossed. I was originally going to try to have something finished by the end of February, but life had other ideas, so there it is.
If there’s one thing you could change about self publishing, what would it be?
You know, I hear complaints every day from writers about how much work it is to be self-published, but think about it: just a few years ago, writers didn’t have as many options for getting their work out into the marketplace. Now, you can do or die on your own initiative. That’s incredibly cool. And, incredibly hard work. I’ve had one kind of side business or another since I was in my teens, so the hard work doesn’t faze me. It’s exciting to be in the middle of the soup we call self-publishing. The only thing I’d change is to have even more companies like Amazon competing for my work.
Wouldn’t it be heaven? Who are your favorite authors?
The list is long. Hemingway, Dostoyevsky and Twain are classic favorites. For contemporary, I’d have to say Carl Hiaasen, Daniel Silva, Joseph Wambaugh, John Sandford, Philippa Gregory, Lee Child, etc.
Have you ever thought of collaborating with another author?
I’m always open to new things.
Thanks so much DV! I look forward to reading the excerpt tomorrow from BAD SPIRITS.
Author of the bestselling Kate Jones Thriller series, DV Berkom is no stranger to reading and writing fast-paced, exciting stories. Having grown up on a steady diet of spy novels, James Bond movies and mysteries, her natural inclination is to keep the reader on the edge of their seats and guessing until the last page.
She grew up in the Midwest, received her BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. Several years and at least a dozen moves later, she now lives outside of Seattle, Washington with her sweetheart Mark, an ex-chef-turned-contractor, and writes whenever she gets a chance.
Links to her books:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/DV-Berkom/e/B004EVOYH6
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/15XaQd5