I love swapping ideas and stories with other mystery authors and this week I had the opportunity to chat with DV Berkom. Her Leine Basso and Kate Jones thrillers have been topping Amazon’s mystery and thriller genre charts of late, possibly because the author is as interesting as her books.

author DV Berkom

Carmen Amato: DV, thanks so much for stopping by. I confess to discovering you as an author when Amazon’s ticker said that people who bought my books also bought yours! As a result, I find myself in very good company.

DV Berkom: I’d have to say the same thing. Your character, Detective Emilia Cruz, is fantastic. Good company, indeed.

CA: You write both the Leine Basso crime thriller series and the Kate Jones adventure thriller series. Juggling two series at once is impressive. How do you maintain continuity? Do you have a process for each series?

DVB: Continuity can be tricky. Unfortunately, I don’t compile story bibles. That would take too much planning. I’ve been writing each character for so long now that I remember most if not all of what I need. It’s like accessing each character’s memories, if that makes sense. If I get stuck, I’ll re-read sections of previous books just to make sure I’m not mis-remembering. A Killing Truth was the trickiest, by far. As a prequel, I had to make sure to adhere to what I’d written before about Leine’s early life, which made things tricky. Especially the ending. I re-read Serial Date and Bad Traffick and then did a search for certain character’s names to refresh my memory about what I’d written. From reader comments and emails, it seems to have worked, thank goodness.

Related: Meet David Bruns, thriller author of JIHADI APPRENTICE and WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION

CA: Your main characters are strong, multi-dimensional women. But they aren’t perfect. Where did you look for inspiration when creating these women?

DVB: Perfect characters are {yawn} so boring. I don’t want to invest my precious time reading about someone who can’t do any wrong. How is that compelling? Strong, flawed women are all around us—you just have to look. And let’s face it—nobody’s actually “perfect.” A bit closer to home, my mother is one of the most fearless women I know, as is my sister. I believe that we’ve all got that strength inside us, and I love to tap into the character’s reserves to find out what she’ll fight for and what she won’t. It’s a deep well.

CA: Setting can drive the tone and tempo of a mystery. Tell us about a favorite setting you have used in a novel and why did you choose it.

DVB: Mexico is one of my favorite settings. I’m sure you can relate  Even though I lived there for a time and traveled there extensively, it’s still mysterious and I keep going back. Take your pick: jungles, deserts, ruins, cosmopolitan and rural areas, resorts, etc. The country is so diverse, I doubt I’d ever exhaust the possibilities. Of course, the same could be said for the US, and I’ve set books in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington State. I’ve lived in most of the places I write about, or at least have visited them, and enjoy writing about the ones that made an impression.

Related: The Insider’s Guide to the Best of Mexico

CA: Transition is a huge part of a mystery or thriller novel. Change amps up tension and forces characters to adapt in order to keep moving forward. Can you share a significant transition that you experienced or that you wrote for a character?

DVB: Life is change. If you lack that basic element in your novel (especially in thrillers or mysteries) you will lose 99.9% of your readers. My own life transitions have taught me so much. For instance, my family moved a lot when I was young, forcing me to adapt to change: new location, new school, new friends, new cultures. At the time it sucked, but now I’m grateful. Having to adapt to new situations taught me the art of observation. When you’re the new kid on the block, you avoid a lot of unpleasantness if you first observe how others react. As a result of moving so much as a kid, for several years after I graduated college I changed addresses every 6 months or so. I loved being on the move. It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I settled down (more or less). Needless to say, during that time I had a lot of adventures—great fodder for novels.

CA: What is the first grown-up mystery you remember reading? Was it the one that inspired you to write that genre yourself or did another?

DVB: I’d read other spy novels before him, but Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle had the greatest impact. What a master. It was the first novel I’d read with a strong, realistic female character who fought back without making excuses. I also was inspired by Carl Hiaasen. His books showed me that you could write about social issues and still be highly entertaining.

CA: What can we expect next from Leine Basso and Kate Jones?

DVB: I’m currently in the middle of the first draft of the next Kate Jones thriller. I’m taking her in a slightly different direction, and it’s been a lot of fun. I don’t have the title yet, but I assume it will appear when it’s ready. Then, on to the next Leine Basso. I can’t get enough of either of them. If that does happen, or a high percentage of readers tell me I should kill one or the other of them off, I’ll know it’s time to start something new.

CA: Can you leave us with a quote, a place, or a concept from a book that inspired you?

DVB: “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac

Thanks for allowing me to be part of your world today, Carmen. I appreciate it.

Want to know more about fellow mystery author DV Berkom? Here’s her official bio:

DV Berkom is the award-winning author of two action-packed thriller series featuring strong female leads (Leine Basso and Kate Jones). Her love of creating resilient, kick-ass women characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mark, and several imaginary characters who like to tell her what to do.

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A Killing Truth by DV Berkom

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© 2017 Carmen Amato.

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I'm author Carmen Amato. I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco. Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.  More

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