The author of six full-length mysteries and more than 50 short stories, Debra Purdy Kong has won numerous awards for her short fiction. Drawing on her experiences as a security guard and communications officer, Debra has created her ideal coworker in campus guard Evan Dunstan. DEAD MAN FLOATING (Sept. 2015, Imajin Books, Qwickie Imprint) is her first mystery novella. When she’s not writing, she’s working a day job at Simon Fraser University and substitute facilitating for the Creative Writing program with Port Moody Parks & Recreation.
Judy: Tell us a bit about your novella, DEAD MAN FLOATING.
Debra: DEAD MAN FLOATING is an amateur sleuth story with an edge. This whodunit, set on a post-secondary campus, is about an average guy who comes across a dead body in the creek. Evan doesn’t want to deal with this nightmare, especially when his shift’s about to end and he’s eager to meet up with the woman of his dreams. So, he makes a bad decision by leaving the guy for the next shift to find. Of course, that decision comes back to bite him in the butt.
Judy: Tell us a bit about your protagonist.
Debra: Evan is a smart, usually decent guy in his early twenties. He wants to become an RCMP officer and has fallen for a nursing student he met on campus. At times Evan’s very sure of himself, other times he’s filled with doubt. DEAD MAN FLOATING brings out his some of his best and worst qualities.
Judy: Describe your writing process and/or a typical day in your life.
Debra: My writing day starts at 8:00 a.m., with a large cup of coffee, the TV on but turned down, and the cat purring in my lap. I work for an hour, then head off to my part-time day job, come home, have lunch, then go back to the computer for another ninety minutes before it’s time to start dinner. After dinner, I usually work on blogs, book reviews, and visit social media sites. By 9 p.m., I’m relaxing with a glass of wine in front of the TV.
Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?
Debra: The best advice came I ever got was to believe in myself, keep trying, and to not be afraid of failure.
Judy: What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?
Debra: For aspiring writers, I’d say this: Writing is not a race or a competition, it’s lifelong journey of self-discovery, regardless of what your genre. Don’t focus on trends or others’ successes. Create your own goals and dreams, and take the time to write the best story you possibly can. Trust in the editing process. Each draft will be better than the one before it.
Judy: How many books, on average, do you read in a month, and do you read your genre when writing?
Debra: I read four to five books a month. I love reading, always have and always will. When I’m writing I definitely read in my genre, partly to see what others are doing. You can learn a lot from the masters of the craft, especially when reading the book more than once. But you can also learn something from poorly written books. Understanding why a story doesn’t work is as important as understanding why it does.
Judy: Well said, Debra. Thank you for stopping by.