From security guard to author, let’s welcome Debra Purdy Kong. This week is of special interest to me since both Debra and I have a background in the security field. The first book I read of Debra’s, THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, gave me confidence that I too could write about security. Debra also signed with Imajin Books not long after I did, so we are travelling this year’s writing journey together.
Here is what Debra has to say about the security business and writing.
Patrolling & Dispatch: Two Very Different Worlds
By Debra Purdy Kong
When you’re a security guard at a post-secondary campus as I was, you’ll soon realize that there’s a lot to learn fast. Memorizing the location of every fire panel, emergency phone, panic alarm, and roof access in over thirty buildings is just the start.
I walked for over six hours per shift, in and outdoors regardless of weather, and quickly figured out the shortcuts between buildings and specific rooms. While the job was physically tiring, there were plenty of relaxing moments, especially on Sunday summer afternoon when nothing was going on. Patrolling helped me stay in good shape and provided great background material for my transit security specialist Casey Holland in THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, and bike patroller, Evan Dunstan in my upcoming novella, DEAD MAN FLOATING, which will be released on Sept. 12th.
My work at the campus’s dispatch centre required different skills. We had to know where the 90+ cameras were situated and how to maneuver them efficiently. Phones had to be answered and the guards’ many call-ins typed up accurately. In this job, a calm demeanour was everything. People often came to the office to file a complaint or seek other assistance.
The most stressful part of the job was liaising with 911 call-takers, paramedics, and the fire department during medical or other emergencies while my supervisor and the security director looked on. Many times I ended a shift, relieved that my dispatch partner and I hadn’t royally screwed up when things got crazy.
In DEAD MAN FLOATING, I mention that Evan has had some supervisory shifts. To do this he would have also worked at dispatch and probably will in future novellas. It’ll provide great fun when all hell breaks loose.
So, did I prefer patrolling or dispatch? Oddly enough dispatch. Patrolling took its toll on my knees and became tougher every year. Yet, part of me still misses those sweet, Sunday afternoons when all seemed right with the world, and no one was doing something stupid or criminal. But then, if it had all been peaches and cream, what would I have to write about?
Thank you Kristina, for hosting me! Stay tuned for announcements about my Facebook virtual launch party on my website at www.debrapurdykong.com. And another thank you to Kristina for giving away a copy of DESCENT at the party!
Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provided the background for her first novella, Dead Man Floating as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels, The Opposite of Dark, Deadly Accusations, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, and The Deep End. She has also released two white-collar crime mysteries, Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption.
Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She assists as a facilitator for the Creative Writing Program through Port Moody Recreation, and has presented workshops and talks for organizations that include Mensa and Beta Sigma Phi. She is a long-time member of Crime Writers of Canada. Look for her blog at http://writetype.blogspot.ca More information about her books is at www.debrapurdykong.com
THE OPPOSITE OF DARK ebook link: myBook.to/TheOppositeOfDark
Next week on Mystery Mondays we welcome Rosemary McCracken, author of the Pat Tierney mysteries. Jack Batten, the Toronto Star‘s crime fiction reviewer, calls Pat Tierney “a hugely attractive sleuth figure.” so come and visit next Monday.