- The Shardheld Saga. It’s a trilogy, of which Shardfall is the first book. As fantasy books go, it is rather short, only some 130 pages, but there wasn’t any other logical place to end this first book. In Shardfall we follow the adventures of Muus, the young slave of his Nordish master Kjelle. Both young men grew up together, hating each other. Through the magic stone Muus found, the two start on a journey that will change their lives and that of many other people. They meet Birthe, the equally young völva (witch) and huntress, whose prowess with both bow and magic chanting will prove indispensible. The girl, traumatized by deaths in her past that makes her distrust men, leads them through the snowy woods of the North. Others will join them, a dishonored Berserker, a disposed prince, an overwise little boy. And there is Tuuri, half-breed messenger of the warlord, Jarl Rannar.
- I had this idea of a piece of the sky crashing down on earth and giving someone some kind of power. The rest followed more or less automatically.
I am the type of writer that is called a ‘pantser’ (from ‘writing by the seat of his pants’), as opposed to a ‘plotter’. Plotters begin to outline all that’s going to happen, the characters, the background, everything.
Pantsers just start writing and let the actions shape the story.
That’s the way it is with me. I have a beginning and a (vague) end. What’s in between, is a surprise.
- Many things inspire me, but nothing in particular. I have no Muse whispering in my ear. (I think that, being a rather solitary type, a relationship like that wouldn’t proper). But a book, a film, a chance word can be enough to start an idea brewing. Internet is a wonderful place for that. Just googling faces, or castles, or landscapes is risking an overload of ideas.
- I wish I could make an inspiring story of it, writing clandestinely, being ridiculed, suddenly discovered as a great talent, etc. But alas, it wouldn’t be true.
I just started. I never had time for things like that. My job, besides being a scoutmaster and administrator for thirty years, used up my time and my creative instincts.
But the last years at my school the numbers of students dwindled (I’m Dutch, our school taught both Dutch and integration to newcomers, and we were victims of the political playing field), so I had more and more time to fill.
One day I just simply started a story. I don’t know why or how, I just sat at my pc and began. It was an opening scene about two young boys hunting rabbits on a mountain meadow.
Then, life interfered and the story stayed on my hard disk, gathering virtual dust.
Two years later, I found the boys and their rabbits, dusted them off and started to rewrite. The twelve years old became twenties, the rabbits a furious old boar, the sunny meadow a rainy midnight mountain forest, and the opening of ‘Rhidauna’ was born (Rhidauna, Shadow of the Revenaunt, #1).
Now I’ve written 5 books (both in Dutch and in English), and I’m working on several others.
- Pleasant: The surprises were two, actually. The first was what probably every author experiences, the strange feeling that others really want to read what you have written. The other is, that my English is good enough to write in and to translate my own work - with a lot of invaluable corrections from my great beta readers and my very professional American editor.
- Down side: That it is a lot of hard work. Writing a book is a job. You need to sit-and-write. Every day. Even when you’re not in the mood, or you’re feeling ill, or whatever. If you don’t, you’ll never finish. (My experiences; they aren’t rules for all of mankind.)
And sometimes writing is very painful, especially the editing process. You really need a thick skin, perspective and a sense of humor.
- Not really.
- I am working on several books at the same time, but not in the same series.
- Music While You Write? I have a lot of music on my pc that I play if and when I’m in the mood. I like Celtic (Clannad, Loreena McKennitt, Enya e.a.), medieval music, Blind Guardian, most classical music.
- I would if I allowed myself. But I don’t dare to.
- I’d say, write. Write as much as you can. Besides writing, you should read. But write every day, even if it’s only 500 words. Try to find some knowledgeable people who are not afraid to tell you the truth and show them your writing – and listen to their advice. Don’t despair, and try to finish what you started. Creating a routine and writing every day is the most important.
- I am writing Shardheld, the third and final book of the Shardheld Saga.
- I am translating Ordelanden, which is the third book in the continuing series of ‘The Shadow of the Revenaunt’. The Dutch version will be published in October, I hope to finish the English version in time for Christmas.
- I am writing ‘Grimoires’, which is the 4th Revenaunt book.
- and there is some itching to write something else. But I haven’t really found out what. That will come in time.
- Difficult question. I have quite a lot of main characters and there is a bit of me in many of them. There is no special favorite, though I like some better than others.
- Lord of the Rings, probably. I’m of the generation that grew up on that book and after 45 years I still think it a masterpiece. And I still haven’t seen the films...
- Because I think you will like my story – and you will like Birthe, Muus, Kjelle and the other characters.