Research is the name of the game...
Kimberly is a research junkie. She travelled all over the world while she was growing up and felt the travelling vibe within her. She wanted to bring exciting places into the settings of her novels. Tonight, we heard about the plans she has for the next few novels, and seriously, we can't wait to devour these novels as well. Right now, I'm flipping pages in her debut novel that reads nothing like a first novel usually does. This book is amazing. And, the main reason it is amazing… RESEARCH. Kimberly says she attended the Kidnap and Ransom Conference to network with former hostages and negotiators. She was able to ask questions and discuss her novel, to make her story more authentic. Who knew there was such a conference available?
On average, there are approximately 40,000 kidnapping incidents reported per year across the world, with only 25-30 elite negotiators. In The Freedom Broker, her main character is Thea Paris. A woman. A negotiator. A fantastic negotiator who faces a very personal problem: her own father is kidnapped. You really need to read this book, if you love action and fast-paced stories about kidnapping and ransom, and a strong female character who gets the job done (Or does she? I haven't finished the book yet. Maybe daddy doesn't make it?).
I loved the evening out and it was well worth the three-hour drive for me (I went to Barrie first to meet my writing buddies, then off to Toronto in a van full of girls chatting about murder). I took six pages of written notes about the research, the networking, the connections, the secrets, the insurance companies involved, the red flags, the troubles hostages face after being let go, the targeted people, the mental issues related to both hostages and negotiators, their salaries to do this kind of job, the ransom amounts, etc. Kimberly gave us so many new things to think about and several ways to gain information and contacts in the industry.
I'm so happy I ventured out of my little town to the big city for the evening… It was a perfect night for writers who like to have their heads floating in a cloud of "What if's?" and of course, for the writers who can imagine their next writing session of creating the next bestseller, with kidnapping and ransom involved in it.
Thanks so much to the Toronto Sisters in Crime and to K.J. Howe for the perfect Thursday night at the library.