Dr. Kevin Dautremont was born in 1958 in rural Saskatchewan and raised on a farm near the village of Alida. Thanks to being on a small farm with only two, and sometimes three, TV stations, Kevin learned to enjoy reading at an early age. One of his favourite books was The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, but he also read Mark Twain, Alexandre Dumas, and Charles Dickens.
After graduating from Oxbow High School, he attended the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. When he graduated and finished his internship in 1983, he married Lisa and moved to Nipawin to start family practice. After five years and two children, they moved to Moose Jaw, where they had two more kids. He is currently in family and general practice at the Hillcrest Health Medical Centre.
In addition to his practice, Dr. Dautremont also serves as Medical Director of the Wakamow Manor Detox Centre and of the Moose Jaw Extendicare long-term care facility. He is an associate clinical professor with the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine.
Dr. Dautremont has special interests in obstetrics, geriatric medicine, and addiction medicine. He has served on the Saskatchewan Medical Association’s Physician Support Program as well as a number of local medical committees. He and his wife Lisa attend Hillcrest Apostolic Church in Moose Jaw, where he has served on the Board of Elders.
He and Lisa have four adult children with three daughters- and sons-in-law, Jonathan (Deanne), Jared (Lyndsy), Megan (Carter), and Jason. They also have one Samoyed, Winnie, and recently had to say goodbye to their eighteen-year-old Coton du Tulear pup named Oreo.
When not working, Kevin enjoys travel, water sports, carpentry, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and writing. He continues to be an avid reader, especially enjoying historical novels, mysteries, and pure history. When he can find a historically accurate mystery set in ancient Rome, medieval England, or Napoleonic Europe he is especially pleased. His favourite novel of all-time, however, is The Lord of the Rings.
In 2008, he was awarded The Word Guild of Canada’s Best New Canadian Author award. He has had two short stories published. “Dazed” was included in the anthology A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider (That’s Life Communications, 2011), and “Affliction” appeared in Christmas with Hot Apple Cider (That’s Life Communications, 2017). Dr. Dautremont is a graduate of the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild’s Craftsman course.
Q: Why did you start writing fiction?
A: I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. As a child, my sister, my cousin, and I would put on puppet shows and plays that we made up. When I was in elementary school, I created my own comic books, and in high school I wrote lots of short stories. At that time, The Western Producer, a farm newspaper, had a section called the Young Cooperators pages. Kids from the ages of six to eighteen could send in poems and stories and have them published in the paper. I had quite a few printed and even served as Senior Leader for a year, critiquing and giving awards to other young writers. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling and still do.
Q: Why did you choose mystery/suspense as your genre?
A: The practice of medicine, and especially in general practice, always involves a mystery. Every patient that come through the door presents an enigma that must be solved. Sometimes it’s easy. A child with an earache and a fever. The next clue, a bulging red eardrum, reveals the cause. Other times it’s more difficult. A patient with episodes of loss of balance and sudden fatigue. You gather clues through examinations, lab test, X-rays, etc. until you reach a diagnosis, until you solve the mystery. I do it every day.
Q: What was the inspiration for Scars?
A: I am interested in writing about imperfect people in difficult situations. The scripture at the beginning of the book tells of how God doesn’t reject us when we are bruised, broken, or scarred. He loves us all the more and wants to heal us.
The specific plot was inspired by a news story I heard years ago about a man who was convicted of murdering his wife based partially on a letter she had written before her death. There was a lot of legal wrangling about the letter, but in that case the letter was only one piece of the evidence. I wondered what would happen if it was the main piece of evidence and if you couldn’t be sure if it was correct.
Q: Who have been major influences in your growth as a writer?
A: There have been a lot. My high school English teacher, who thought I was wasting my talent by going into medicine. My friend, Dr. George Falk, PhD, who graciously read through my first attempt at writing a novel. N.J. Lindquist, Janice Dick, and all the other instructors, teachers, and members of the Word Guild. Jerry Jenkins and the other tutors at the Christian Writers Guild, and especially my mentor, DiAnn Mills. Most of all, my wife, Lisa, who has stood by me and encouraged me all along the way.
Q: How would you describe your writing style?
A: I would say I’m more of a “pantser” than a “plotter.” I know the start of the story and the end, but until I’m actually writing it I’m not really sure what curves, dead ends, rabbit trails, and shortcuts may occur along the way. I often do some of my best writing while I’m doing something else, walking the dog, riding my bike, etc. I find I can plan out the next step of the story and then go back and write it later.
I would say that my stories are driven by a mix of plot and character. The basic plot is laid down quite clearly and definitely, but the characters often find their own path on how to get from A to B. I love it when I have developed the characters to the extent that they can surprise me and take the story in ways I had not imagined. In Scars, there was a scene I had to go back and rewrite because it had become completely wrong for the character. Their personality had forced me to change the way the scene progressed.
I often spend quite a while thinking about a scene before I actually write it. When I do write, I try to avoid a lot of self-editing at the time. It always seems better to go back and fix things later. By then the initial excitement may have settled and one can view things with more clarity.
Q: Do you have any writing advice for new authors?
A: I would advise all writers to read. Read a lot. Read in the genre you want to write in, but also in various others. Broaden your horizons and stretch your imagination. When actually writing, try to do it regularly, every day if possible. Whether it’s one line or ten pages, it’s worth it.
Learn who your characters are. Write or plan out how they look, where they’re from, how they dress, how they speak. I like to assign a famous person or actor to each character. It helps me to picture them and imagine how they will react. Even if none of this information gets into the story, it is still valuable.
Always remember that the engine that drives almost every story is conflict. This can come in various forms, but it’s always someone or something trying to prevent your protagonist from reaching her goal. You need to ratchet up the tension with each chapter, slowly pulling away each and every support until your protagonist is alone and vulnerable. Perhaps you place her in the middle of a frayed rope bridge over a deep gorge with a band of blood thirsty pirates at one end and a man-eating tiger at the other. Then you get her out of it.
Ray Bradbury said that the writer needs the throw themselves off a cliff and build a bridge on the way down. That sounds about right.
Kevin is planning to host a book launch on January 18, 2020, at the Hillcrest Apostolic Church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Arrangements are underway to have book signings at Chapters in Regina and at McNally-Robinson in Saskatoon.
Kevin continues to write and currently is working on some short stories. He is also in the planning stages for a possible sequel to Scars.
Kevin Dautremont, M.D., is a Family Physician and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine. His practice is in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he lives with his wife, Lisa.
Follow Kevin on his blog, thestethoscopeandpen.com.