I’d like to thank DV Berkom for being with me today. For all you action junkies, DV keeps you on the edge.
DV, you once lived on a sailboat in Mexico, did that experience influence your writing in any way? Absolutely. That was the first instance I lived in another country for any real length of time. It gave me the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, and it began my lifelong love of Mexico and her amazingly diverse population and landscape. Moving and/or traveling to a new place, especially a foreign country, helps me to become the observer and keeps things fresh and interesting. You write from the male POV as much as possible. Men and women’s voices are so different, what made you choose this POV? Even though my main protagonists are both strong women, I do enjoy writing from the male point of view in order to shake things up and tell the story in the most interesting way possible. Human beings are fascinating, male or female. What drives them, why they choose one path over another—that’s what gets me going creatively. For the Kate Jones thriller series, I’m unable to switch POV, as it’s in first person, but for the Leine Basso ex-assassin novels, I get to play around and choose whoever has the most to lose in a scene. Leine usually gets the most page time, though. Do you find it difficult to write from that perspective? Not really. I’ve been fortunate to have had several great male friends throughout my life, many of whom were like the brothers I never had. I think because of that kind of familiarity the male point of view comes easily for me (as it does for women who grew up with a brother or three). As you know, writers are observers and I’ve been a keen observer of men since I can remember. I read that you like on the edge of your seat thrillers, where do you go mentally to find that turn for your reader? I’m an unapologetic action-movie junkie and love reading thrillers. If a book or movie takes too long to get to the point, I’m done. Not that the form has to be all action, all the time—that’s exhausting and gets old fast. But I do like tension on the page (and on the screen) and I try hard to deliver the same to readers. The old adage, “Write what you like to read” makes a lot of sense. As for where do I go mentally, I think being able to write suspense has a lot to do with having an overactive imagination. If it scares me or makes my pulse race, then I work to find a way to convey that on the page. The main thing, though, is to create a character readers can relate to. If you don’t get that right, then it doesn’t matter what you do to the protagonist. The reader won’t care. Do you have anything in common with any of your protagonists? What would it be? I would hope that when the s**t hits the fan that I’m as gutsy at either Kate or Leine. I also have to confess that I’ve been as impulsive and imprudent as Kate. The good news is, as I’ve grown older I try to temper that impulsiveness by being as pragmatic as Leine. It’s still not easy. If Bad Traffick became a movie, what character would you want to play? I would have to play a passerby, since I can’t act my way out of a paper bag. If I knew how to act, it would be Leine Basso. She’s such a badass. The stunts would be way fun. Have you reached a saturation point as far as your writing, or do you feel you have many miles to go? Many, many miles to go, believe me. I’m still constantly learning and hope that part never stops. That and the stories/characters are what keep me engaged. You are on an island, stuck for who knows how long, you can have one book, one author, and one actor companion along for the ride. What book, and who would the author and actor be? Only one of each? Crap. The book would have to be some sort of island survival guide. For the author, I’d pick someone who is a survivalist or has Special Forces experience, since I have no real practical knowledge other than what I’ve read or written (See? Pragmatic.) The actor would have to be someone with a good sense of humor but calm in a crisis, like I imagine George Clooney or Brad Pitt would be (heh—pragmatism can only take you so far…). Someone interesting to talk to would be key, since we’d all have a lot of time on our hands. What is your favorite quote, or one of them? Anything by Dorothy Parker. Here’s a line from one of her reviews: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Men are better writers at what? Why? I wouldn’t pigeon-hole writers as good or bad because they’re male or female. That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t care if they’re male, female or something else entirely. I just want a good book.