DV Berkom is the creator of the Leine Basso and Kate Jones thriller/mystery series. Here she talks about her writing career.
How did you get started writing?
I’ve written short stories since I was a kid: the earliest one I can remember was an illustrated tome on the joys of housework when I was seven (yes, I was into satire even then J). It wasn’t until 2005-6 that I tried to write a full-length novel. “Tried” is the operative word here. I finished it, thought it was great, and sent it out to publishers and agents, gathering a bunch of form rejections. Once I got over my disappointment I decided to try again. And again. I learned how much I didn’t know by writing and re-writing, attending workshops and classes, etc. The one thing that became clear to me was that I had a LOT of work to do before I could even consider submitting. I’m still learning, which is one of the many things I enjoy about being a writer.
What motivates you?
Money. (LOL. Just kidding. Publishing is so not the business to be in if that’s what motivates you J) In all seriousness, my main motivation is to entertain readers. I want them to finish one of my books and immediately want to read more. I want them to feel as though they lived the story with the characters and were able to escape into another world for at least a while. That’s what I like to have happen when I read a novel. I’m always so grateful when a reader lets me know how much they enjoyed my books.
What is your favorite genre, and why?
Crime and suspense. I’m fascinated by what makes people do the things they do, especially when it’s outside the norms of polite society. But I also need fast-paced action and minimal description in what I read and write, or I’ll get distracted. I LOVE to write action scenes—probably because I love to read them, and I really enjoy writing dialogue—both elements that move the story along at a good pace. That’s not to say I don’t read slower-paced books—I do—but my absolute favorite genre is suspense.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Everywhere! News stories are particular catalysts for my overactive imagination, as are vivid dreams, but a snippet of a conversation, or someone on the street, or an online article, are enough to get the hamsters in my brain running…For instance, Bad Spiritsand the Kate Jones Thriller series came out of news reports about the escalating violence in Mexico due to the rise of the drug cartels. Yucatan Dead was in response to the homegrown militias forming there. Serial Date was the result of a vivid and seriously freaky dream I had. And Bad Traffick was inspired by a documentary on child trafficking. A One Way Ticket to Dead, the latest Kate Jones novel, has some news references, but it grew in a more organic way from what had happened in the rest of the series.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing the third in the Leine Basso thriller series. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Leine’s head, and it’s been interesting getting into her character again. I re-read both Serial Date and Bad Traffick to refresh my memory and to help me get back into that specific voice. It’s also a point of view shift for me, as the Kate Jones books are all first person and Leine Basso’s books are all in third. Both POVs have their challenges, and both have their strengths. I especially like to be able to tell the story from another character’s POV. There’s a little more freedom than with first person.
I’ve also been working on the audio versions of Cruising for Death and Bad Traffick.Cruising for Death has recently been made available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes, and I expect Bad Traffick to be in a couple of weeks.Serial Date and the Kate Jones Thriller Series (Vol. 1) are already available in that format. Both narrators are fantastic, and both ‘got’ the characters. I can’t really ask for more than that!
Where do you see yourself in 5 – 10 years, regarding your writing?
Good question. I hope to have several more books completed, with a solid reader base for both existing series. I also expect to start another series in the near future. Beyond that, I have no idea. As long as I’m still writing and people are still reading my work, I’ll be one happy author.
Anything you’d like to say to my readers about writing?
The only thing I’m certain of in this business is if you want to be a writer, or if you want to continue to be a writer, then write. That’s it. Keep writing, keep learning the craft. Learn from your mistakes, and for heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid to make them, either. One more thing: keep the faith. Because I can guarantee you will wonder at times why the heck you’re writing and possibly even consider giving up. Don’t. Take a break, come back to it when you’re ready. But Don’t. Give. Up.
Leine Basso is a former government assassin who is being framed by her former boss for murders she didn’t commit. LAPD detective Santiago Jensen, her lover, is determined to prove her innocence. When Leine is hired by a movie star to be his bodyguard when he suspects someone is trying to kidnap him, she finds herself immersed in the world of human trafficking and facing a greater threat than a frame-up.
This tightly woven, suspenseful novel is full of action, twists, and gritty human emotion that will keep you sitting on the edge of your chair as you root for Leine as she tries to rescue 12-year-old Mara, who has escaped the clutches of the traffickers who plan to sell her to a rich pedophile, and who will stop at nothing – including murder – to achieve their dastardly ends.
Author D.V. Berkom’s Bad Traffick, takes us into a world that might seem hard to fathom for the average person, but a world that is all too real. Tight dialogue and nonstop action marks a novel that establishes new benchmarks for action thrillers. This is a solid five-star novel that you won’t want to miss.