Monday, November 29, 2010

Author Chat: Kimberly Derting

We have with us today Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder and its soon-to-be-released sequel, Desires of the Dead!

-For starters, could you give us a brief bio?

The Official Short Bio: I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is the ideal place to be writing anything dark or creepy. I live with my husband and our three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who serve as an endless source of  inspiration. You can find out more about me at!

-What was your inspiration for The Body Finder? It’s such a spine-chilling, imaginative story. 

I always feel like everyone knows this already, but the idea actually came from my husband…who likes to call himself (jokingly, I think?) the co-author or the “wind beneath my wings”. We were driving one day when he threw out the idea: “What if there was this kid who could find dead bodies?” In his head, “the kid” was a 13-year-old boy, but as soon as he said it, I changed the 13- year-old boy to a 16-year-old girl. I also decided she needed a crush (Jay) and started working on the concept of the “echoes.”

-Did you talk about the plot of the book with your husband? Did he have any input?

In the beginning, I talked with him about Violet’s ability, hammering out the details of how it should work. But after that, I worked on it myself. He is—always—my very first beta reader, though, and I want him to be surprised when he reads it so I rarely tell him anything about where the book is going.

-Out of all the TBF characters, who do you think you relate to the most?
Sadly, it’s Chelsea. I’m not sure what that says about my relationship skills or my inability to think before I speak, but out of everyone in the book, I definitely felt like she was the easiest to write because she is the most like high-school-me...and sometimes adult-me too.
-What was it like, imagining the mind of a killer? Did it creep you out at all?
I wish I could say that it did creep me out, but unfortunately it was just the opposite…I loved it! When I first wrote the book, there were far fewer chapters from the killer’s point of view because I was worried that they were too dark for YA. So when my editor came back to me and asked for more, I was thrilled. In a non-sick and twisted way, of course.
-How did you come up with the characteristics of the crush-worthy Jay? Is he your image of the ideal
boyfriend, or were you inspired by someone?
I’m not sure I spent that much time thinking about it at first, because he was originally intended to play a much smaller role in the story. Violet was going to develop a crush on her best friend (Jay), but it was going to take a backseat to the story of the killer in her town. But as I was writing him, I realized that I really really liked him and just couldn’t keep him out of the story, or away from Violet. From there, the romance storyline just took on a life of its own.
-What are some of your favorite books or authors? Do you think they influence your writing style?
My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. But as far as overall writing influence, I’d definitely credit Stephen King with making me want to be a writer! I grew up devouring his books: The Shining, Christine, Pet Semetery, Salem’s Lot…really good, really creepy stories that made me fall in love with horror. In my opinion, he’s one of the best storytellers of our time!

-In your opinion, what are the most essential elements in any great story?
This is one of those questions that everyone has a different answer for. For me, it’s essential to have good pacing. There’s nothing that drives me crazier than reading a book with a great premise, good writing, and fabulous world building that just fizzles out on slow pacing. Maybe that’s just because I get bored so easily.

-Do you think you will write more young adult novels, aside from The Body Finder series?
Absolutely! And I may even have a thing or two already up my sleeve. ;) I guess you’ll just have to wait to find out!
-Anything else you’d like to add, Kimberly?
Thanks so much for having me! I had a blast!!
Thank you so much, Kimberly! To check out my review of The Body Finder, click HERE.


Eliza Mellark said...

Great interview! I loved The Body Finder and I can't wait for Desires of the Dead!!

Unknown said...

I loved both The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead. Great interview! One question for Kim. Can I have book 3 yet?

Unknown said...

I loved that answer about pacing. I get bored easily if nothing seems to be happening for ages in a story.