Barbara Ann Derksen

My guest today is Barbara Ann Derksen. Her favorite genre is murder mystery, but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life. Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. She is a member of The Word Guild, Manitoba Writer’s Guild, The Writer’s Collective, and Christian Motorcyclists Association where each summer her books are used to inspire and encourage.

Anne – Welcome to Piedmont Island, Barbara. When did you first realize you were destined to be a writer?

Barbara - One night, sleepless and in need of a diversion from troubling thoughts, I decided to see if my antiquated typing skills still worked. I wrote a short story and the next day, a friend read the piece. Her eyes filled with unshed tears. I knew at that moment that something had changed from the flat, one dimensional writing I’d done for high school English and beyond. As far as being a writer, that came many years later, when people told me that they liked what I wrote for a newspaper. It was then I decided to put those short stories into a mystery and seek publication. I felt I’d arrived when that first book was published.

Anne - Tell us about your books.

Barbara - Vanished, Presumed Dead, and Fear Not are the first three books in a mystery series. I’m working on Silence this winter…to be released in May.

Vanished tells the story of death, fire, and kidnapping…events that send Andrea Wilton and Brian Strait to the country of Haiti where voodoo, restavic children, and scuba diving lead them to discover a diabolical plot that sets nerves on edge. 

Their story continues in Presumed Dead when they form Shuster Detective Agency, and take on another case to find a missing person. This second book in the series introduces DJ Wiebe, a biker who rides with The Sons Riders, a Christian biker ministry. Another biker, a member of The Demons Raiders, is missing and presumed dead. DJ, his friend, hires Shuster Detective Agency to find him. He initiates Andrea and Brian into the biker culture, a world that encompasses motorcycles, leather, drugs and murder.

In Fear Not, Brian and Andrea discover that relationship and intrigue go together when they embark on their third adventure, back to the Caribbean. A visit cut short, the two sleuths uncover a plot that challenges their faith when they search to clear a friend of murder. Their hunt for truth, aboard a cruise ship, brings them head to head with the black market, human contraband, and culprits who will stop at nothing to line their pockets.

Getting off the cruise ship in Miami, Silence tells their continuing story when Andrea is taken by sex traffickers just before they are to leave for the Dominican Republic to be married. Will Brian find her in time is the question but both characters learn a lot about trust in each other and in God? 

Anne - What do you enjoy most about writing? What part do you loathe?

Barbara - I love getting my characters into situations that, in the beginning, I have no idea how they’ll get out of or who they’ll meet along the way. I enjoy helping my characters learn something about themselves and each other but also about their faith walk too. I also enjoy a reader or the mom of a reader approach and tell me that this was the first book they’d ever read and couldn’t put it down or that they want to know more about my characters.

I do not enjoy editing but realize that’s a necessary part of the writing process. I do dislike the elitist attitude I run across sometime when other authors find out I am self-published. I work hard to write a good and compelling story, have a large following and for a Christian that’s difficult. I make sure my work is well edited or at least as good as the editor I pay to do the job. I have had to deal with poor editors and now feel that that problem is solved. I spend a lot of time promoting. Traditional publishers require all the same things from their authors.

Anne - Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.

Barbara - People email requesting the next book. Pastors send church members to my table to get the next devotional for their men’s bible study groups. People who have never read a book all the way through are reading not only my material but the bible as well because they found my work stimulating enough to carry them through. My characters teach people all sorts of things but most importantly that they can do it too, whatever it is. I’m a writer if my work makes a difference in the lives of the people who read it.

Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?

Barbara - I am very proud of the fact that my husband and I will be celebrating 43 years of marriage this June and we still like and respect each other. We still enjoy being together, doing things together, and ministering together. I am also proud of the fact that we’ve raised four wonderful children who themselves are raising great kids. Even though we’ve not been perfect parents, we must have done something right.

Anne - What activity (cause, charity, or organization) consumes your time when you’re away from the keyboard?

Barbara - My husband and I minister with Christian Motorcyclists Association where we are privileged to use our motorcycle as a tool that opens doors for ministry in juvenile detention centers, prisons, veteran’s homes, and churches. We earn the right at these locations and at motorcycle rallies to speak into the lives of participants where we share the love of Jesus in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way.

Anne - Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?

Barbara - Because I write a variety of genres, when I have nothing to write for my devotionals, I concentrate on the mysteries or a children’s story or vice versa. I haven’t had a problem per se with writer’s block but then I only do two books a year, usually.

Anne – Is there a question I haven’t asked that you would like to address?

Barbara - A question I am often asked is how my faith coincides with murder mystery. I tell people that if a person enjoys mystery, they should be able to pick one up that does not have bad language and graphic sex. My character’s faith walk stimulates and inspires yet the mystery continues to entertain. Readers can safely gift my books knowing that the people they give it to will not be bombarded with information that is destructive to their thought processes.

Anne – Where can readers find you online?

Barbara - At my website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Anne - Thanks so much for dropping by, Barbara. It’s been a pleasure to visit with you today.

Reader comments are always welcome and appreciated. Become a follower to ensure you receive every author interview, announcement and/or blog post on the Piedmont Island Trilogy. Until next time, happy reading! J

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