The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Kimberly Derting

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder series and The Pledge trilogy. Her latest novel, The Taking, begins a new YA trilogy and is available April 29th from HarperTeen. You can read an excerpt from the book here on Tor.com!

Kimberly’s publishing career began at an early age, when she started making homemade coloring books, and she first fell in love with writing when she signed up for Journalism in 7th grade. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their three children, who serve as an endless source of inspiration for her writing

Join us as we cover subjects ranging from Star Wars to Star Trek, and more!

What’s your favorite method of procrastination?

The internet, of course. I thought that was everyone’s method of procrastination.

Strangest thing you’ve learned while researching a book?

While researching The Body Finder, I read Mindhunter by John Douglas, in which he describes the profiling of serial killers. One of the things I found fascinating was that many serial killers have a childhood history of bed-wetting, fire-starting, and/or cruelty to animals in common. Also, researching serial killers will totally creep you out!

The Taking Kimberly Derting Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

The first time I watched Alien I was about 12 years old, and when that alien ripped through Kane’s chest, I was terrified. But when the alien grew to about 8 feet tall and added a second, acid-dripping mouth, that was probably the scariest thing I’d ever seen in my entire life! Of course, I watched it again… and again. Aliens, the follow-up, was equally horrifying. I went back to the theater and saw it again the next day.

Clearly, I love to be frightened.

What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?

Star Wars, for sure. As a child of the ‘70s, I grew up watching Star Trek on TV, but it was Star Wars that sealed the deal for me. After I saw the first one, I began collecting the trading cards (which I catalogued in shoe boxes), and action figures, and my friends and I would reenact entire scenes. I wanted to be a Jedi Knight and Princess Leia and Han Solo, all wrapped in one.

What’s the most embarrassing guilty pleasure you’ll admit to? (music, movies, pop culture, food, drink, etc…all fair game!)

I will admit to watching too much reality TV. The Kardashians are definitely my most-guilty pleasure. I can hardly imagine a world where Hollywood divas don’t pan away to the cameras to explain every minute detail of their relationships, careers, and, of course, favorite lip-gloss.

Heroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?

As much as the heroes are the ones you root for, from a writer’s perspective, the villains are sometimes the most interesting characters to write. When I was writing my first book, The Body Finder, I was worried that the scenes from the killer’s point of view would be too dark for the Young Adult genre, so I had far fewer of those scenes. So when I got the notes back from my editor saying she loved them and wanted more, I was thrilled…which makes me sound more than a little twisted!

What kind of apocalypse (zombie, robot, environmental, etc.) is most compatible with your survival skills? And what kind of apocalypse would you like to avoid at all costs?

I don’t think I’d do well in any kind of apocalypse—I’m a creature of comfort kind of gal. But as someone who is always cold as it is, I think a global Ice Age, like in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, would be my own personal hell.

Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?

Is it weird that I want to speak Klingon? I’ve watched pretty much every version of Star Trek, from the original television series through the prequel feature films, and almost every spinoff series. I would love to have a (Klingon style) heart-to-heart with Worf from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

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