This week’s author interview features Debra Purdy Kong. She brings her practical experience on the periphery of law enforcement and her degree in criminology to her writing. Her interview is enjoyable and revealing. I hope you enjoy this latest interview in the series.
On a side note, though the initial response was gratifying, I find myself running out of interview subjects by mid August. If you haven’t been interviewed, or even if you have and you have a new release coming out, please feel free to contact me to be interviewed at email@example.com. I will send you the information and get you scheduled.
You can check out the 210 author interviews I’ve conducted thus far on my Author Directory page.
Now, let’s meet Debra Purdy Kong.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
It’s a combination of both for me. I try to be original in my plots and character development, but I implement a basic three-act story structure that is familiar to fans of the mystery genre. I incorporate Canadian settings that few people have ever heard of, such as my home in Port Moody, British Columbia. But my publisher decided to use American spelling because she thought it would be more appealing for American readers. I’m still not sure about that one, as American readers tell me that it wouldn’t have made any difference to them.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to be confident. There will be more setbacks than successes, but you define what those mean, and don’t let anyone else do it for you. The only failure in writing is giving up because insecurity and negative self-talk took over.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Well, author Fannie Flagg isn’t up there with John Updike, or Philip Roth, or others, but her novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café is one of the most entertaining and memorable novels I’ve ever read. It’s an exquisite blend of humor, drama and superb storytelling set in the tumultuous background of the American south in the first half of the 20th century. Even though the book was made into a movie (which I also really liked) it’s not likely to be considered an American classic. It should be, for what it says about family, culture, social values, racism, feminism, and many other things.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I used to read reviews, good and bad, but reading about my work always makes me uncomfortable. The good ones make me blush, and the bad ones means that I have to work on developing a thicker skin.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
They’re not secrets, really, but I sometimes incorporate references to events and places that only local readers would appreciate. For example, we have an NHL hockey team in Vancouver, the Canucks. They’ve not been doing great in recent years, so if I write a scene showing Casey’s boyfriend watching the Canucks’ game on TV and Casey snickers and rolls her eyes, local folks will understand why.
Do you Google yourself?
I used to, but after publishing nine books over a twenty-five year period, it’s not that important to me anymore. I think one can become a little obsessed or paranoid about stuff like that. Sort of like the people who methodically check their Amazon rankings every hour. I could be wrong, but checking up on myself or my rankings isn’t the best way to squander the small amount of writing time I have.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock. It was the first in the series and got me hooked on mysteries. Nearly 50 years later, reading mysteries is till one of my favorite things to do.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would have started networking with other writers and going to conferences much earlier than I had. For a long time, I wrote completely on my own, without feedback or even personally knowing anyone else who was writing. It was an exciting and enlightening experience as I took my first course and joined a writers’ group.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The first book took me ten years, but I was also writing short fiction at that time and starting a second book. Given that I’ve rarely had an opportunity write full-time, it still takes me 2 or 3 years from start to finish. I’m not prolific, just tenacious.
Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Evan Dunstan mysteries, as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels. More information about Debra and her books can be found at www.debrapurdykong.com
Links to Knock Knock (Casey Holland Mystery #5):
Apple (itunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1296703895
Links to A Toxic Craft (Evan Dunstan Novella #2)
Kobo Books : https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-toxic-craft
Connect with Debra:
WordPress blog: https://debrapurdykong.wordpress.com/