I am very excited to have an author interview with Kimberly Derting on my blog to share with you today. Kimberly's debut novel The Body Finder is released in the UK on November 11th 2010. It is a fabulous and creeping paranormal YA novel and you can read my full review here. Without further ado on to the interview:
The Bookette: So thinking about the sinister tone of The Body Finder, my first question is: How different was the experience of writing the chapters that tell us Violet’s story and writing the chapters that follow the man with dark and hideous intentions? Is it difficult to switch between the two narrative tones?
Kimberly Derting: Without sounding too twisted, I LOVED writing from the killer’s perspective, so switching wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, when I’d get to the point that it was time to get “inside his head” again, I’d get kind of excited. Okay, yes, that sounded entirely too twisted, didn’t it???
The Bookette: Erm... Well yes Kimberly that does sound a little disturbing. But I understand that switching perspectives can also be very liberating because you get to think of your own story a fresh. Thinking about Violet, I found her to be a hugely likeable character (if a little stubborn) and a great representation of a teenage girl. Did you make a conscious choice to write about a strong, independent minded character?
Kimberly Derting: Absolutely! One thing I hate—in real life and in literature—is the simpering girl who cowers in the corner, always looking for someone to save her. And having been a teen girl myself (and having raised one), I know that teens tend to be a little impulsive and strong-willed. I know, shocking, right? :)
The Bookette: Impulsive and strong-willed...I am not sure that I have grown out of that phase yet. Jay was such an enchanting male lead. I found him rather adorable. I’m interested to know if you wanted to explore how healthy teenage relationships develop – i.e. from a friendship?
Kimberly Derting: I love how you picked up on these things! I’m a huge fan of romance in the books I read, but when I was writing The Body Finder, I’d been reading so many books where girl-meets-guy and BAM…instant love connection! That’s all fine and well, but I wanted to do something different, something sweeter that maybe the main character wouldn’t see coming. And what could be better than a best friend-turned-love interest?
The Bookette: I agree! It makes me all goofy thinking about Violet and Jay. Awwww...
Another aspect of The Body Finder which I found convincing and a refreshing change in Young Adult fiction was the relationship between Violet and her parents. Not only are they very present in the novel but they also know her secret. Is a positive family model something that you wanted to explore through the novel? What are your thoughts on the portrayal of the family in general in YA fiction?
Kimberly Derting: I’ve actually heard from a lot of readers who liked this, which really surprised me, because I just created the family I would want if I had a secret like Violet’s. I mean, there’s no rule stating that the parents have to be dead or negligent, right? Why couldn’t they be understanding and loving? Why couldn’t they be around to help her deal with her feelings and her fears?
That said, I think there’s plenty of room for those other families too because, how boring would it be if every book we read was exactly the same as the rest???
The Bookette: That's really interesting. At my creative writing class we are told every week to "get rid of the parents" in order to give the child character more freedom. Certainly this is food for thought.
The Body Finder is your debut. Are there any writers who inspired you to begin writing? Or are there any writers that you aspire to be like?
Kimberly Derting: Growing up, I read a lot (no, I mean a lot!) of Stephen King, mostly because that’s what my mom had lying around the house. He was my first—and most influential—inspiration for my writing. In my option, he’s probably the greatest story-teller of our time.
The Bookette: I confess I haven't read any Stephen King novels. I have read On Writing which revolutionised my attitude towards trying to write a book. I actually get on with now!
And finally, I have a little question that I like to ask every writer. (It comes from an addiction to drinking copious amounts of tea). Do you have a favourite biscuit, if so, which one and why?
Kimberly Derting: Hey, I drink copious amount of tea too! And if I remember right, what you call biscuits, we call “cookies” so I’m going to say chocolate chip. The real ones, though, straight from the oven. Second favourite, shortbread...because, really, they go better with my tea! Thanks a lot, now I’m craving biscuits…and tea! :)
Thank you so much for taking part Kimberly. You're right I did indeed mean cookies and it is lovely to meet another fan of the good ol'cuppa tea.