Tag Archives: suspense

Interview: K.L. Ditmars, Canadian author

Author K.L. Ditmars

K. L. (Kelly) Ditmars is a Canadian writer of inspirational fiction, whose debut novel, All That it Takes, released January 2021. The opening chapters of All That it Takes won a Word Award in 2020 in the unpublished fiction category—a promising endorsement!

Welcome, Kelly, and congratulations on your new release! What is your book about?

My book is a fictional story about Julia Bowen whose husband is murdered.  As she navigates her grief she discovers that he died at the hands of a human trafficking ring which she attempts to expose. It is also about her spiritual journey and how the people that help her in her efforts against the trafficking ring also help her come into relationship with God.

What sort of research did you need to do for a subject like this?

To realistically address the issue of human trafficking, I read a lot of books about the human trafficking issue in Canada.

I also have friends who have worked in anti-human trafficking efforts for decades, so I was able to draw on their experience through interviews.

One of the main characters lives on a boat. I live on an island where a segment of the population lives aboard their boats, it wasn’t too difficult to find friends of friends to interview.

Two characters in the story were veterans of the Canadian military service and shared an experience as peacekeepers during the Rwanda genocide. To research this, I read a lot. Two specific books written by General Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the peacekeeping mission during the genocide, regarding his experience in Rwanda and dealing with post-traumatic stress: Shake Hands with the Devil and Waiting for First Light.

This list is just a tip of the iceberg of research resources I used while writing my book. But it is a good start for anyone looking to read more: klditmarswriter.com/resources.

Do you remember the first germ of idea for All That it Takes?

Most definitely. The beginning of this story came from a dream. In this dream I was fleeing from a friend’s house into the forest behind their home. Of course, when I woke up, I had no idea why I was fleeing. I immediately wrote it down. A month later I had written 52,000 words and had a rough first draft of All That it Takes.

Wow, that’s a fast start! Do you have a favorite character in the story?

Yes, Charlie is my favorite character, I had fun writing him and using him as a vehicle to share God’s love. A close second is Angus, the Irish wolfhound.

Glad I’m not the only writer who loves the animal characters as well as the humans. I see this is book one in the Where Can I Go? series. Will the next book continue Julia’s story or what connects the books in the series?

Yes, the next book will continue Julia’s story as she helps bring the human trafficking ring to justice. It will also be a thriller based around the real battle faced by law enforcement and the legal establishment to charge and convict human traffickers. The whole series not only sees Julia’s efforts against human trafficking, but also her spiritual journey, as she discovers a God who is present through it all. Her spiritual journey begins with an introduction to faith in God and coming to the understanding that God is with us and we are never apart from him. Even though we may not realize his presence, it is always there.

His presence makes all the difference. Can you share any special God moments you experienced working on this project?

I wrote a lot of Charlie’s faith journey from my own experience and when I did it caused me to look back at my own life and see God’s hand. I think writing this story was an affirmation of God’s faithfulness in my own life.

How long have you been writing? And what got you started?

I have memories of writing stories when I was a little girl, of course I don’t have any of those early scribblings, I’ve moved too many times in my life for them to have survived successive purges. A lot of my early writing experiences involved writing stage plays in church. It was my church youth group and creative ministry departments at the churches I’ve attended throughout my life that encouraged and fostered this aspect of creativity in my life.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I still feel I am a beginning writer as this is my debut novel.  I guess I would say, keep writing, keep improving your craft. Take classes, learn from people and authors you admire and who are further ahead in the publishing journey. Go to conferences and mingle with fellow writers and authors.

Figure out what you have to do to make it a reality. I remember when I went to my very first writers conference in 2015,  I had a reality check regarding all the things on top of writing that an author has to do. It’s a little daunting and overwhelming at times but basically, it’s an ever-evolving machine to not just write books and stories but also to make sure that they come to be noticed out there in the world and to find their place on the shelf next to other writers.

Wise words. Thank you. Is there a particular song or scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Worship music for me is a huge influencer. Worshipping God and loving him through music and declaring his worthiness of his place in my life has always been a vehicle to really hear him speak to me. It puts me in a place where I can hear his voice and seek direction and just nurture that love relationship with him. So, no one song in particular, just the act of worship has made a difference.

There is one verse from Deuteronomy that seems to come to mind more often than any other.  Chapter 5 verse 29; “Oh that there were such a heart in them that they would fear me and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” I come back to this verse quite often when I struggle with bad choices that I’ve made and circumstances I find myself in. It grounds me in knowing God has my best in mind, and always will. His commandments are there to give me direction and purpose, that I might live the best life possible and be an example and hopefully influence those around me.

I can hear God’s yearning over us in that verse. Now, for something a little lighter, to finish: Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or tea?

Definitely chocolate and definitely tea.

I have always loved chocolate.

As far as coffee goes, I have never developed a taste for it. I have had sips of coffee throughout my life but could never get past the bitterness.

It was only in my early 50s when I actually had my first cup of coffee. I was in Bulgaria and visiting a monastery with a group and we were offered coffee. I have been a missionary and we were taught that if someone offers you something you graciously accept it. So, that afternoon in Bulgaria, sitting in the courtyard of a beautiful monastery, I drank my first cup of coffee. I even took a picture to prove it. It was thick Turkish coffee, but served in a small demitasse cup and laden with sugar, which helped me finish it. I can still taste that bitter flavor to this day, and I hope I never have to drink another cup of coffee again.

Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.

The mountains, ocean and the mild climate on the west coast. I grew up in northwestern Ontario, and lived a number of years in Alberta, so I have experienced the frozen Canadian winter for much of my life. The rainforest climate here, despite the cloudy wet days in winter, make a lush green background to living that I am enjoying at this point in my life. My mother use to always say, ‘you don’t have to shovel rain.’

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done?

I think the most unusual thing I’ve ever done involves travel. I’ve been a missionary and lived and traveled to a number of countries, but in 2012 during my undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria, I went to Bulgaria. I participated in a three-week field school in which we documented, through photography and drawing, frescoes in medieval churches in the Balkan mountains. It was fascinating and educational and in a part of the world that I had never been to and I still long to return to.

Where can readers find you?

I have a website www.klditmarswriter.com where you can learn about my books and my writing journey.

Author Bio:

K. L. (Kelly) Ditmars was born in Kakabeka Falls, ON Canada, and has lived in several provinces since. She has lived and traveled to several countries both as a Christian Missionary and as a curious human soul. To support her traveling habit, she has worked in various industries and occupations throughout her life, from part-time catering to clerking in the Supreme Court of BC. Kelly completed a degree in Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria. She now lives in Victoria, BC where the adventure of life and her writing continues. All That is Takes is her debut novel.

Kelly loves to connect with her readers. You can find her on the following platforms.

www.klditmarswriter.com

Instagram

Facebook – I have a private Facebook Group called Readers of K.L. Ditmars. I have a live event every Sunday (6:00 pm Pacific) where I talk about my writing journey. This is a new platform for me and I am enjoying this new means of engagement with my readers. Readers can join it via my Author page, through the link provided.

ORDERING INFORMATION:

All That it Takes is available to order through your local independent bookstore (with the exception of Chapters/Indigo in Canada).

Book details:

Title: ALL THAT IT TAKES

Author: K. L. DITMARS

ISBN: 9781777410100 (paperback); 9781777410117 (ebook)

ONLINE ORDER LINKS:
Amazon.ca – Kindle & Paperback
Chapters/Indigo KOBO – eReader – Canada
Amazon.com – Kindle & Paperback
Barnes & Noble – Nook eReader & Paperback USA
Amazon.co.uk – Kindle & Paperback
Amazon.com.au (Australia) – Kindle & Paperback
Angus & Robertson ebooks – Australia

Picks from 2020

Graphic credit: Goodreads


Seventy books is a reduction in reading for me, and I’m happy about that. It allowed more time in a crazy pandemic year for knitting, jigsaw puzzles, baking, and other comforting activities. Plus I read more nonfiction in 2020 and that takes longer.

Here are the books I’ve most enjoyed last year. Some were produced in 2020, some previously. Pop a note into the comments with your own favourites?

My top picks from 2020:

Book of the year (fiction): Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes

Book of the year (nonfiction): Letters to the Church, by Francis Chan

Christian living: 
Fiercehearted, by Holley Gerth
Forgotten God, by Francis Chan
Get Out of Your Head, by Jennie Allen

Mystery/suspense novel: 
A Dream of Death, (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #1), by Connie Berry
All the Devils are Here (Armand Gamache #16), by Louise Penny

Science fiction novel:
Chaos Rising (Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy #1), by Timothy Zahn
Ghost Riders in the Sky, by Timothy Zahn

Series re-read: The Quadrail series, by Timothy Zahn

Favourite re-read: The Icarus Hunt, by Timothy Zahn

Hidden Secrets Short-listed for Canadian Award

Hidden Secrets is one of three novels short-listed in the suspense category for The 2020 Word Awards (for work published in 2019).

Hidden Secrets short-listed for The 2020 Word Awards

Also short-listed are:

Scars, a novel by Kevin Dautremont, M.D.
Scars, by Kevin Dautremont, M.D.

Vigilant, by Sara Davison
Vigilant, by Sara Davison

I haven’t read either of these novels yet, but I’ve met both authors, and their work is highly respected. Hidden Secrets is in good company. The beauty of this is that when the winning book is announced, I can either celebrate for my “imaginary friends” if it’s my book or celebrate for one of my real-life writer friends (at least acquaintances!). Win-win!

The 2020 Word Awards winners will be announced June 13, 7pm Eastern Time (8pm Atlantic) online via livestream on Facebook and Zoom. It’ll be free for anyone to tune in. Link details TBA.

For the complete short-list, visit The Word Guild’s Media page and click on the short-list announcement link.

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Hidden Secrets Giveaway and Interview

Book cover: Hidden Secrets
A Green Dory Inn Mystery, book 2

Here’s your chance to win a print copy of Hidden Secrets (or an ebook if you prefer them) anywhere in the world. Just pop over to A Christian Writer’s World – Characters Who Grip Your Heart and leave a comment. Click here. Draw ends January 17, 2020.

Already read the book but you like reading author interviews? Click the link above and join the conversation. Host Lena Nelson Dooley always has interesting questions.

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Hidden Secrets Now Available for Preorder

Both ebooks in the Green Dory Inn series are discounted this month!

First, Unknown Enemy is 99 cents CAD/USD or equivalent. For that price, you can start the series at the beginning.

Second, Hidden Secrets is now available for preorder at $2.99 CAD/USD or equivalent (digital list price $4.99 USD).

Cover art for Hidden Secrets, A Green Dory Inn Mystery, Book 2, with text: "The secrets of Captain Hiltz may not have died with him."

International buy links for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple:

Or visit your favourite online ebook seller.

Hidden Secrets will release August 8, 2019 in ebook format, and I hope the print release will be close to that. There’s no preorder option for the print version. 

Don’t want to wait another month to start Hidden Secrets? You can read the first two chapters here: sample chapters.

Meanwhile, the characters are starting to talk to me… time to start brainstorming book 3!

International Women’s Day

Fiction-lovers, celebrate International Women’s Day with some strong female characters.

"Strong women. Extraordinary circumstances. Faith-filled fiction." 
#Christiansuspense
Available in print and for Apple, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook.

Ruth: the prayer warrior abducted by a serial killer. (Heaven’s Prey)

Carol: the single mother targeted by a drug lord. (Secrets and Lies)

Amy: the plane crash survivor who suspects sabotage. (Without Proof)

Then there’s Landon: the young woman with a traumatic past, trying to solve the mysterious happenings at the Green Dory Inn. (Unknown Enemy)

I know there’s way more to International Women’s Day than reading fiction. But sometimes other women’s courage can inspire us… even if they’re fictional.

Heaven’s Prey Quiz

If you’ve already read Heaven’s Prey, last week’s sale wasn’t much fun for you. But how good is your memory? Feel up to taking a quiz?

Goodreads Quiz
How well do you know Heaven’s Prey?
taken
4 times
10 questions

Five Years Ago

What happened on November 1, 2013?

Well… plenty of things. What am I celebrating today?

Cake with candle and caption: celebrate!

Photo credit: Janet Sketchley

Five years ago on November 1, 2013, also known as All Saints Day, my first novel, Heaven’s Prey, released. Since the heroine, Ruth, is an ordinary Christian woman in extraordinarily bad circumstances and since small “s” saint includes any of us ordinary folk who follow God I thought it was an appropriate choice.

To celebrate, the ebook version of Heaven’s Prey is discounted to 99 cents until Nov. 5, 2018. If you haven’t read it, give it a try unless you find the subject matter too disturbing. And please, tell your friends.

Heaven's Prey, Redemption's Edge Book 1. Ebook only 99 cents until Nov. 5/18.

Click for buy links.

Want to help spread the word? Share this post, or tweet one of the following.

The prayer warrior and the serial killer: Get the HEAVEN’S PREY ebook for #99cents until Nov. 5/18. https://www.books2read.com/heavens-prey #Christianfiction #suspense (click to tweet)

Would you pray for a dangerous offender? HEAVEN’S PREY by @JanetSketchley
#Ebook just #99cents until Nov. 5/18. https://www.books2read.com/heavens-prey #Christianfiction (click to tweet)

A grieving woman. A dangerous offender. A God who cares. HEAVEN’S PREY.
#Ebook just #99cents until Nov. 5/18. https://www.books2read.com/heavens-prey #Christianfiction (click to tweet)

Review: Stealthy Steps, by Vikki Kestell

Stealthy Steps, by Vikki Kestell Nanostealth Book 1Stealthy Steps, by Vikki Kestell (Faith-Filled Fiction, 2015)

Gemma Keyes tells readers her story in first person, as she writes an account of what happened one fateful day in her physicist friend’s secret lab. She’s funny, direct, and sometimes speaks directly to the reader.

She’ll tell you why she’s in hiding and who’s chasing her. She’ll explain enough of the nanotechnology (microscopic bits like computer chips, if I understand) but she’ll reassure you it’s okay if you don’t get it. She doesn’t get it, herself. She was simply the scientist’s assistant in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or in the right place at the right time, to keep his creation from being stolen by a corrupt general.

As well as being a fast-paced techno-thriller, delivered with strong, fresh description and the aforementioned humour, this is a story with heart and with a thread of faith. There’s more going on with the 10-year-old neighbour boy than Gemma wants to see and there’s a friendly pastor with a criminal past who could be more than a friend… if he wasn’t a Christian, and if Gemma’s life wasn’t in danger.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. The mix of heart, faith, and action made the characters real to me. And since the story’s set in present-day Albuquerque, it’s only the science that’s a stretch from the real world. Otherwise, it’s just a corrupt-military-official-out-to-destroy-innocent-civilian-with-a-secret story.

Vikki Kestell writes faith-filled fiction—the 4-book Nanostealth series and a number of historical novels. Stealthy Steps is free in ebook format from most online stores, and if this is your type of story, I heartily recommend it. For more about the author and her work, visit vikkikestell.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

New Mystery Now Available

Unknown Enemy, A Green Dory Inn Mystery, Book 1And it’s official…

Unknown Enemy is now available in print and from multiple ebook vendors.

If you’re in the market for a short, summer mystery, pop over to my book page and check it out. Or go directly to your favourite online retailer… 🙂

 

One other thing: If you know anyone who reads on Kobo who’d enjoy my novel, Secrets and Lies, it’s part of a promotion that lets readers take 3 books for $9. This is Canada-US only (sorry, international friends–Kobo’s choice, not mine!)


In Canada: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/p/3for9ca
In the US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/3for9us