Wednesday 18 November 2015

Inspiration...Author, Debra Purdy Kong talks about DEAD MAN FLOATING

Today I have DEAD MAN FLOATING author, Debra Purdy Kong on my blog! I always love to hear how other authors come up with their plots, characters, and what inspired them to write their novels. I am delighted to have Debra tell us about her protagonist, Evan Dunstan in her new Imajin Qwickie, DEAD MAN FLOATING. 

Take it away Debra...


During my time as a campus security guard, I worked with many different types of people. Some employees used the job as a stepping stone to law enforcement and corrections careers. Others were trying to earn enough money to pay for post-secondary education. A few guards were retirees who wanted something to do, while others were single parents who’d been laid off from higher paying jobs and were desperate for work.

I met a host of new immigrants who were already qualified engineers or dentists in the countries they came from, but who required further education to practice in Canada. Aside from school and families, many guards had other interests such as aspiring musical or artistic careers. There were female guards of all ages, and some were climbing the managerial ladder with great success.

Needless to say, I had a lot of inspiration to draw on in creating protagonist Evan Dunstan for my first novella, Dead Man Floating. Evan is a complex composite of physical traits and quirks, socio-economic and educational backgrounds of  many different people I’ve encountered over the past twenty-five years. Once I nailed down Evan's appearance, background, lifestyle, and psychological makeup, I incorporated an extensive list of profile questions to give him depth. Regardless of story length, fully rounded characters are important. I need to know what drives Evan and what scares him most. I need to know his secrets, fears, longings, regrets, and accomplishments so that by the time I'm writing, he’s practically a real person to me.

Evan has only two things in common with former colleagues. One is his ambition to become an RCMP officer. The other is ubiquitous worry about being reprimanded for messing up, or simply being accused of messing up. Evan’s ambitious. He doesn’t want to make mistakes and he sure doesn’t want to be bypassed for promotions, at least until he leaves the security field with a stellar reference from his boss.

Not everything I know about Evan will surface in one novella. Readers will learn more in future installments. The fun part is that I’ll figure out more about Evan with every adventure. One of the most interesting things about working with a protagonist in a series is discovering aspects of his character that I can't begin to fathom right now. People are complex. So are great characters. There's always a new layer to peel back, something to discover. I can't wait to see how Evan evolves.

DEBRA’S BIO:                                                                    

Author of two mysteries featuring young Revenue Canada auditor Alex Bellamy, and four about transit security guard Casey Holland, Debra’s found plenty of inspiration from real life experiences. Dead Man Floating is her first 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. She’s been a member of Crime Writers of Canada for nearly twenty years. More information about Debra and her books can be found at

Propping the kickstand, Evan removed the small flashlight attached to his belt then stepped nearer the water. Oh shit! It was a hand! A freakin’ hand! And legs! He moved the flashlight up the body until he spotted the grey fringe circling a bald head that glowed like a moon. Evan shivered. Was the guy alive? He wouldn’t have to perform CPR, would he? That first-aid course last year didn’t go so well after he broke that manikin.

Or find her on Twitter @DebraPurdyKong




  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Kat. It's a pleasure to be here!

    1. You're most welcome. Thank YOU for being here. :)

  2. Debra, I love the cover of DEAD MAN FLOATING and enjoyed reading it. Are you writing your next book?

    1. Thank you, Kristina. Yes, I'm working on the second draft of a new Evan novella right now. I'll be running it by my critique group in January! It takes place at Christmas time, so I'm really in the spirit now :)