To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the eleventh, is of fantasy, mystery and suspense / thriller author and interviewee-to-be DV Berkom. You can read the others here.
DV Berkom grew up in the Midwest region of the US, 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
A huge fan of exotic locales, spy novels and thrillers, DV has always loved to read suspense-filled stories. Having written short stories throughout her life, (the first one at the tender age of seven) she finally took the plunge and completed her first novel in 2006. After that she was hooked and completed three more novels before turning to the shorter, more immediately satisfying novella.
Author of the Kate Jones e-thrillers Bad Spirits (Books 1-5), Dead of Winter, Death Rites and the just released Touring for Death, DV enjoys offering readers an immediate “suspense vacation.” The series follows Kate Jones on the run from her ex, a ruthless drug lord, from Mexico to Alaska, Hawaii and the high desert of northern Arizona. DV took it to heart when a writing instructor told the class to “place your protagonist in the most dangerous situation you can think of- near death with the bad guys closing in- and then throw rocks at her…”
When not writing, DV loves to travel, hike to obscure hot springs, take photographs and spend quality time with her friends and family. She’s held a variety of jobs including massage therapist, certified Feng Shui consultant, wine tasting manager, hot air balloon ride seller and fish monger, although now works full-time for a local community college.
She is currently working on a twisted new manuscript tentatively titled, Pieces of April, about a retired female assassin who ends up on the wrong side of a serial killer…
…or is it the other way around?
And now from the author herself:
I’ve written in several different genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery and romance, but hit my stride and found my voice writing suspense/thrillers. I love the fast pace and especially enjoy blowing things up. The more trouble I can throw at my characters, the better.
Here’s the description of Bad Spirits (Books 1-5) the first novella in the series: ”Kate Jones is on the run with a backpack full of money, intent on finding her way back to the United States from Mexico. Unfortunately, a ruthless drug lord named Salazar is just as intent on finding her, retrieving his stolen money, and making her pay for ever having left him. Is there anyone she can trust?” Readers have called Bad Spirits “…a fast paced, action-packed novella which reads like a high octane movie…”
Writing novellas suits my personality and lifestyle (read: I work full-time) and taught me to use words sparingly. Actually a prequel to two novels I’d already written with Kate as the protagonist, I wrote Bad Spirits at the request of my then e-publisher. After that, the stories kept coming. I first became interested in the escalating drug-war south of the US border when news stories started trickling in linking mass graves with various drug cartels battling each other for dominance. I spent time in Mexico and fell in love with the people and country. The thought of this fun-loving, family-oriented culture caught in the middle of such vicious violence made me angry and sad, and it spurred me to write Bad Spirits.
The next book in the series, Dead of Winter, follows Kate to Alaska, where she hopes to elude her dangerous ex’s reach, but doesn’t quite pull it off.
I lived in Alaska several years ago and when I was trying to figure out where Kate could go to get away from her ex I thought, where else? Alaska’s the polar opposite (sorry for the pun ) of Mexico and is known to be the place to go if you want to get lost. The romance between Kate and Sam, the man assigned to protect her, apparently hit a chord. I’ve gotten emails from readers saying how much they loved Sam, and would I please bring him back? (I already have a rough idea sketched out for that story… )
In Death Rites, when Kate has to leave Alaska (and Sam) behind, she runs to the last place she remembers feeling safe: the North Shore of Oahu. Against her better judgment, she re-establishes old connections, but soon faces a new problem in Alek, a gifted carver and avid surfer. When a brutal murder and theft of a priceless artifact from a museum is discovered, Kate’s thrown in the middle of what appears to be a violent ancient sect come to life. Her only chance of survival is to rely on her wits…
…and the ancient gods of Hawaii.
In my newest release, Touring for Death, Kate’s hiding out from her shady past while driving jeep tours through the rugged high desert of northern Arizona, and is determined to stop looking over her shoulder and find peace from her mistake of a gun-toting, former life. Testifying against a Mexican drug lord and a dirty DEA agent didn’t turn out to be a life enhancing choice and she’s been on the move ever since.
Now, five years have passed with no sign of trouble and Kate’s finally starting to believe she’s safe. Her current goal is to make enough money so she can get lost in the tropics when the tourist trade dies off. Unfortunately, it’s the tourists that are dying off and she may be next.
It’s been great fun writing this series. Judging from the emails and reviews I’ve received, people have fun reading them, too. To me, reader satisfaction is key. Everything else is secondary.
Absolutely, thank you DV. You can find more about DV and her work (she says she’d love to hear from you!)…
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow morning (UK time) with Christian suspense novelist and memoirist-to-be Rosie Cochran – the one hundred and thirty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks here.