Mystery Mondays: Debra Purdy Kong

oppositeFrom 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 And another thank you to Kristina for giving away a copy of DESCENT at the party!

Debra’s Bio

Promo Photos 009Debra 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 More information about her books is at


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.


20 thoughts on “Mystery Mondays: Debra Purdy Kong

  1. Thanks again for hosting me, Kristina. It’s a pleasure to be taking this journey with you. I’m really excited about venturing into the world of novellas, and to see what this year will bring!


  2. Hi Debra, nice interview and interesting that you and Kristina have followed such similar paths.

    I’d be happy to donate an eBook copy of The Hanged Man’s Noose to your Facebook launch (whatever version the winner wants — Kobo/Kindle/Nook).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed learning more about Debra. We were in an internet critique group together some years ago. She was a good partner – kind, but honest and very perceptive. Good luck with your books, Debra.


  4. Well, we’re all thankful you have something to write about! I know the security guys at the hospital have to know a ton of stuff – and handle some really tough situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting, Pat, and you’re absolutely right. They do have a lot to deal with. I was doing patient watch shifts for 2 weeks while waiting for my license to be processed. It was a real eye-opener. Guards put themselves at great risk from time to time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yesterday evening, I watched at two security guards at our resort tried to scare a bear away from our house. After 5 releases of a bear banger, the bear finally ambled off. The security team was awesome – although a little too close to the bear for my liking. Farley – my wheaten terrier, did his bit to get between everyone and the bear. Quite a scene.


  5. Pat, thanks for stopping by. Working in a security team does lead to many great stories. That’s where a kernel of an idea can grow from. I can’t imagine security at a hospital with all the emotions running high. it must get exciting.


    1. Yes, Kristina, the potential for stories among hospital guards is enormous. While we were waiting for our licences to be processed after passing our training course, we often took shifts at hospitals that needed guards to watch over patients who were either flight risks or suicidal. It was often uneventful, until something happened….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Pat, in Evan’s next security caper, he will be trying to put out one disaster after another at Christmas craft fair organized by his somewhat eccentric grandmother. Of course, the fair will be on campus, much to Evan’s chagrin.

      Liked by 1 person

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