About The Body Finder:Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
Hey Kimberly! Welcome. Tell us a little about yourself as a writer. Do you outline, or wing it? Do you write daily, or in snatches?
There’s no rhyme or reason to how much I write. On a good day, it could be as much as 3,000 words, on a bad day zilch. It’s not so much a process as it is just sitting down and writing. I’ve never been an outliner, so mostly I just open whatever document I’m working on and go for it. Despite the fact that I don’t have a hard outline, I do have a very distinct idea of where I’m headed with the story. I may have even written it down (in not-too-many words) I just don’t always know exactly how I’m going to get there. That’s what revisions are for, to clean up my first draft mess.
During edits, I don’t write at all because I become consumed with editing. (Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE edits???)
When – and why – did you begin writing?
I fell in love with writing when I signed up for Journalism in the 7th grade. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer in some capacity. First I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but somehow traipsing through jungles or war-torn regions just to get “the scoop” really doesn’t seem like me. Plus, there are all those facts you have to gather. And truth-telling. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I much preferred making stuff up. ;)
Tell us a little bit about your publishing journey. What’s it been like? Ups, downs?
This past year has been like a dream come true. Like I said, I’ve wanted to be published ever since I was in junior high. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty and I even had an agent for it. Thankfully, it never reached publication, because now that I look back on it, it made great practice, but I really wasn’t ready for everything that being an author entails. And the book…well, let’s just say that the rejections were well deserved!
What was your process writing The Body Finder? What did you have trouble with, and what inspired you?
The Body Finder was probably one of the easiest projects I’ve ever worked on. It just came together so fluidly. I was working nearly full-time and I have three kids, so my time is limited. But even with those constraints, I finished it in about six months, mostly because it became something like an obsession for me…I just had to get the story out.
Tell me one thing I wouldn’t know about The Body Finder by reading the blurb.
The book description does a great job with the paranormal/thriller aspect of the book, but sort of skims over the potential romance, and that is a huge part of the book. I love the Violet-Jay storyline!
Name one character you liked particularly, and why.
Of course, I love my main characters, Violet and Jay, but the character who doesn’t get as much mention in the first book is Violet’s friend, Chelsea. Chelsea is the kind of girl who says whatever’s on her mind, and it’s usually something crude or shocking. In the sequel, Desires of the Dead, we get to see a more sensitive side of her. Well, sort of.
Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?
I’m honestly a big fan of the no-right-way-to-write. I think whatever gets the job done. The only real rule I live by is to just sit down and do it. Nothing gets written if you’re checking your email or Facebook.
If knew you a teenager who aspired to be a novelist, what would you say to them?
Go for it! Really, that’s my advice. Life gets incredibly busy, but if you’re serious about writing, you can always find a little time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Keep writing, it’s the only way you can improve.
How have you grown as a writer, and how do you hope to see yourself grow in the future?
I’ve definitely learned a lot during the editing process. I think the writing itself has gotten easier because I’ve learned which traps to avoid (like too many adverbs/adjectives), and how to give more oomph(!) with fewer words. I hope to continue with the process. I like a nice, streamlined manuscript that delivers a powerful punch.
What’s next for Kimberly Derting?The sequel to The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead, is already scheduled for release in 2011, I’m just finishing up edits on it now. I’ve also just finished another YA project that I sent to my agent. Hopefully she likes it as much as I do!