Meet Barbara Derksen, Prolific writer!
Barbara, how long did it take you to write your latest book?
I usually finish one mystery a year but I also did a devotional and a children’s book this past winter. I write mostly in the winter because we are on the road all summer for Christian Motorcyclists Association. Shadow Stalker was started last summer but completed over this long winter we’ve had.
Barbara, what three things do you know now about the publishing world that you wish you knew when you first started?
My first mystery was written before I attended any writer’s conferences. I did not understand POV and that would have been very helpful. I also envisioned being discovered like other artists and now know that to be fallacy for most of the really good writers out there. I don’t know if I would have done things differently, but the knowledge would have caused me to think about my audience more. I read a book early on about marketing but I had no idea how many steps it takes to get a book seen by the buying public. Marketing is huge and that knowledge may have given me pause to reconsider writing … but maybe not.
What have you learned about writing and yourself since you started your most current project?
I‘ve learned to pace myself, to include in my characters’ lives what the Holy Spirit is teaching me spiritually, and how important it is to edit, edit, and edit some more.
Tell us a little about your books, especially your latest release.
I write devotionals with a target audience of bikers since that’s who we minister to all summer. Each one builds on the one before so all six can build spiritually into a person’s life in a major way. God is using them all across the country including men’s bible studies. Straight Pipes, Two-Up, Chrome, Chaps, Road Trip, and this year, More Than Bells, speak to anyone who wants to listen and, ‘ve been told, God meets them in the pages.
My children’s stories have come about because I have grandchildren. Building a subtle truth from God’s Word into their lives is my motivation and I meet many grandparents at biker rallies who want to take something home to their grand-kids. The stories are about animals with kids names who teach some of their characteristics to the readers but also talk of a Creator and pray and such.
My third genre is the mysteries. I began with a mystery but I pulled Mind Trap so I could rewrite now that I’ve learned so much about the craft. Then I wrote a four book series, Wilton/Strait Mystery Series. Vanished, Presumed Dead, Fear Not, and Silence take two people, virtual strangers who share the same church, on many adventures to solve mystery, find missing people, and point the authorities in the right direction to capture some evil people. Andrea Wilton and Brian Strait grow spiritually through the series and relationally as well.
My latest book, Shadow Stalker, is the first in a new series, the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. Shadow Stalker begins with a five year old girl, Melissa Rompart, who watches her parents’ death by the hands of a man who stalks her through life to kill her too. As an adult, Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, has returned to her home country and city to embark on a search of her own with a sideline for tracking missing people. She teams up with Jeremy Goodman, a strong believer who shares how God leads in his life. Christine is a skeptic.
What marketing techniques have worked the best for you?
I’m not sure any one works better than any other. I use whatever I can to get my name out there, from interviews, live and on the internet, TV appearances, live radio, or social media. Meeting the public at book tables, signings, readings, etc. adds familiarity. Marketing takes time and work. Like a musical artist, we have to keep our name in front of people so anyway we accomplish that works.
Who in the profession would you most like to sit down with, and what would you ask?
I would like to find a publicity specialist to find out how they find the interviews, and other media events for their clients. I’d like to pick their brain about the files they’ve accumulated and what criteria they use to distinguish a good interview from a poor one. But moistly, I’d want enough money from my sales to hire one so I wouldn’t have to use valuable writing time to do the marketing.
About the book:
An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream. The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?
Shadow Stalker page on website (read excerpt and order)
About the author:
Watching the expressions on the faces of her readers, as well as answering questions about her characters, is what drives author and speaker, Barbara Ann Derksen to write yet another book and another. Her favorite genre is murder mystery but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life.
Barbara’s devotionals are sought after each year when she publishes a new one that reflects what God has placed on her heart. From Straight Pipes, her first, to More Than Bells, Preparation for Prayer, the latest, Barbara’s devotions take people to the place where God can touch their heart and leave a lasting impression. When people stop by her table for the latest, they talk to her about using the devotions in their chapter meetings, or their personal devotions. Some men return at their pastor’s request because the books are used as launch pads for men’s bible study. Many copies have been passed on to new believers as discipling tools.
Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.
Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.
With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers. Book One – Shadow Stalker – is now available.
Writing, however is simply a tool to be used in the ministry she shares with her husband. With his gift of music (he sings country gospel), Barbara and her husband operate CatchFire Ministries, a ministry to bikers through Christian Motorcyclists Association. They travel for four to five months every summer in the US and the rest of the time in Canada where they seek to inspire, encourage and invite people into a deeper ministry with Jesus Christ. They also minister at Veterans Homes and churches along the way and are about to begin a ministry to Juvenile offenders incarcerated at Manitoba Youth Center. The mysteries include a gospel message that opens her readers to the possibility of reading books written from a Christian World view and supply funds for CatchFire.