Today, I am pleased to welcome K. L. (Kelly) Ditmars to I & R. Kelly 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 loves musical theatre, taking pictures, cooking, baking, hanging out with family and friends, and of course reading.
She now lives in Victoria, BC where the adventure of life and her writing continues.
All That is Takes is her first novel and she is giving away one print copy away to one person in Canada and an eBook to one person outside of Canada.
Kelly, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
How many books have you written?
All That it Takes is my debut novel. Over the years I have started five books. About four years ago I decided to get serious and this is my first to be completed and published. I’ve heard it said, ‘you learn more by finishing one book than starting five’ which I have found to be true.
Another thing I have found to be true for me is that “It is never just one book at a time.” With each book, I have gotten an idea for a whole series. All That it Takes started out as a stand-alone, but early on it became apparent to me that it was going to be the beginning of a four-book series.
I also have a passion for historical fiction. I have a draft of the first in another series of four. That will be the next series I work on when this one is complete.
What inspired you to write this book?
In 2013 I was about to begin the November National Write a Novel in a Month challenge, also known as Nanowrimo. It was the second year in a row that I had attempted the challenge to write 50,000 words and in 2013 I was going to continue the novel I had started in 2012. But three nights before the 1st of November I had a dream of a woman fleeing into the woods behind her house. When I woke up, I thought that's interesting, so I decided to see where it would go. By the end of November, I had 52,000 words and the first rough draft of my now debut novel.
Of course, once I started writing, characters began to appear and I also incorporated different topics of interest and experiences from my own life. I also find that my research inspires plot and character development, and this was definitely true in this story.
What do you enjoy more the research or the writing?
I love both as they work in tandem for me. As this book came out of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants challenge, I had not done any research so that had to come later. I was surprised to realize how much research is actually involved in a contemporary story. I interviewed people and read a number of books and articles. I know someone who has worked in anti-human trafficking efforts around the world for decades, and we had extensive conversations. I also interviewed a journalist, a former peacekeeper and sufferer of PTSD, and several people who live on boats. All for the background of my characters in the story.
When I am researching historical fiction, I find that the research actually inspires characters for me. Research also presents historical events and situations that can facilitate movement and the circumstances of the various characters I have already developed.
Do you travel to the places you write about?
Most definitely. For this book, All That it Takes, it was much easier than other books I'm working on as it is set where I currently live. I was able to actually spend time in several of the locations and take sensory notes. I know my city quite well, so it was actually quite fun. The cover photo was even taken in the actual forest where the beginning of the book takes place.
Book two in my current series titled, Where Can I Go?, also takes place here in Victoria BC. Which is a good thing, considering the continuing pandemic and its restrictions around travel.
For the historical series I'm working on, I had an opportunity to live in the UK for a while and while I was there I actually did travel to some of the locations, which I am so grateful I had the opportunity to do. I feel it is quite important as it gives me a sense of culture as well as setting. I hope to be able to travel to more of the potential locations in this series in the future.
Which character (in the book you are promoting) do you like the most?
Most definitely Charlie. Even though he isn't my protagonist, his role is central to Julia’s spiritual journey. Who he ended up being as a character evolved through my research on peacekeepers and PTSD. A former work colleague shared his own experience as a Peacekeeper as well as his ongoing struggle with PTSD. Many of Charlie’s experiences are from those conversations.
Charlie’s faith and understanding of a relationship with God come out of my own Christian walk and it created an emotional connection to him for me.
Do you talk to your characters?
No, I don't. For me, it's more like I'm watching a movie in my head and places and events and dialogue come to me that way. As the beginning of this book came to me in a dream, it started as a movie in my head so that kind of set the stage for how the story unfolded. I could just see my way ahead as if I were sitting in a movie theatre watching the big screen.
But even though I don't talk to my characters, I am engaged with them emotionally, sometimes physically, and definitely on an intellectual level.
What is the central theme of your book?
For me, the central theme of my book is coming to understand that God is present in our lives. That we are not alone. I think in everything that I write this is really the heart of what I want to communicate with my readers. That there is a God who created us, who loves us and wants to be a part of our lives. He is present and I have such a strong sense of that in my own life. His presence is quite often tangible to me, which is difficult to explain, but I want that to be the thing that I really try to communicate with anyone who reads one of my stories.
We are loved so much, so completely and so joyfully, by an infinite God. Knowing Him is the greatest fulfilment I have ever experienced. If my readers can catch even a glimpse of what is possible through a relationship with God, I will feel I have achieved my heart’s desire in my writing.
Amen to that! Thank you for sharing with us today Kelly. If you want to touch base with Kelly you can follow her on Twitter and on her website. And if you would like a chance to win a copy of All That it Takes, fill out the form below! One winner will be selected for a print copy from Canada and one winner will be selected for an Ebook outside of Canada. This contest ends February 23, 2021. All winners will be contacted via email and announced here and on our Facebook page. If winners do not respond within three days, new winners will be chosen.
Congratulations to Connie Saunders & Karen Lue-Kim! Our previous winner, Bonnie Turriff, failed to claim her prize so Karen, you are our new winner! You have each one a copy of All That it Takes. Watch for our email!
A human trafficking ring is operating in the shadows of her city. When they murder her husband, Julia Bowen is determined to turn on the light. Julia believed her husband told her everything. But now he is dead, murdered by armed gunmen who broke into their home. Forced to flee and not knowing where else to go, she seeks help from Charlie, a homeless veteran living in the woods of Victoria, BC, behind her home. When she is framed for the murder, Julia goes into hiding, her past distrust of law enforcement haunting her all the while. With Charlie’s help, she discovers what her husband died for: a human trafficking ring operating in the city. Unsure of his involvement, Julia decides to follow a trail of evidence he left behind. She soon discovers a network of local businesses involved in the sexual exploitation of young women. As she navigates grief, being hunted, and attempting to expose a human trafficking ring, Julia encounters help from unexpected people and discovers a God who is present through it all.