Desires of the Dead by Kim Derting: Essay & Project Ideas

All this month we’ve been featuring The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting. Both are a fantastic blend of crime thriller and paranormal romance. Below, you’ll find some thought-provoking prompts and project ideas to use in the classroom or for your own writing projects.

Essay ideas:

  • Some investigators actually use mediums/psychics to aid their cases, especially cold cases. Imagine yourself as one of these people and describe your experiences from the first-person point-of-view.
  • Now switch the above and write the same scenes from the third-person point-of-view.
  • Research real-life cases of investigators using psychics/mediums on a case, and compare it to how Violet assists authorities in The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead.
  • In both The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead, Derting balances a gritty crime thriller with a warm romance. Compare and contrast these two elements in the books. Explore how the two elements work together in the books and how they compliment each other.
  • Explore the concept of “echoes,” as described in The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead. Discuss what elements make up a person’s “echo.” Perhaps even describe what you imagine your own “echo” would be like, and explain why you think this.
  • You wake up with Violet’s strange powers. Describe your experiences and how you adjust to them.


  • Stage a formal debate in your classroom. One side argues for Violet disclosing her ability to the FBI; the other side against. Use not only Derting’s books, but also crime statistics, etc.¬†Research use of the paranormal in criminal investigations. Follow proper debate procedures.
  • This is a bit morbid, but create your own echo. Using a variety of multimedia (sound, taste, smell, etc.), put together a presentation on your echo and explain your choices.
  • Another morbid suggestion: Violet buries dead animals in a little graveyard she and her dad constructed. Create a 3-D model of it using any materials you want. Violet also says the childhood prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep … ” over the dead creatures’ bodies. Write an original prayer/poem to recite upon each animal’s burial.

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