FULL INTERVIEW for Jeri’s Book Attic
1) What is the first book you read that comes
to mind? Why is it so important to you?
The first book that comes to mind is Ugly
Love by Colleen Hoover. I read it not so long ago and was totally blown away by
this heart wrenching story about not one, but two great loves. The way Colleen
Hoover writes her romance stories, is captivating. She handles the big issues
in her book, but in a way that totally mesmerizes you. I think Ugly Love was
the first book to pop up in my mind, because it was one of the books recently
that made me cry and at the same time, made my hart leap because there was so
so much I could learn from that book as a writer.
2) What made you start writing books?
I always had this secret ambition to write
books. I think as many of us book nerds that can’t go a week without falling in
love with a new story, will recognize, I found that I was surrounded by these
characters and stories that I didn’t read in books, but just happened to live
within my head. When my first daughter was born (I’m a mom of two beautiful
little girls), I thought about the things I found important and one of the
things I would like to give my children, is the believe that they can make
anything happen, if they just believed in themselves and did the work. At that
moment I realized I was sort of a phony, because I secretly wanted to write
down the stories that I lived within my head, but my own fears of failure kept
me from doing the thing I loved. I had to (wo)man up, so to speak. Now, when my
girls are old enough, I can without a doubt tell them to always follow their
dreams like I did with my writing, because when you follow your heart, you know
you’re walking on the right pad and nothing can compare to that feeling that
comes with doing what you love.
3) How much of you and/or your surroundings
is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or
do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t
I don’t recognize myself in my characters,
but people that know me really well, sometimes come up to me and say things
like: ‘When Dan said this or that, I could totally hear those words coming out
of your mouth.’ So it’s not some conscious decision but I guess every one of my
stories has a little bit of me in them. I like to write about characters that
aren’t perfect (perfect people scare me, if you must know) and that learn from
their mistakes. I think that’s human nature and that’s why people recognize me
and maybe sometimes a little characteristic from themselves in the stories.
4) What author/actor or musician do you
O. I have this totally fangirlcrush on
Jennifer Armentrout and more recently on Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan. I
love their new adults. I’m totally in love with the whole jock / bad boy / good
guy vibe that’s going on in the books by Kristen and Elle. I binge read their
books (Game On series and Off Campus series) in a week and a halve or so.
And I have this little crush on Michiel
Huisman (the Dutch actor who plays Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones and Chris
Hemsworth when he’s on doing his Thor-thingy.
5) What does your perfect writing day look
like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without
Being a mom of two, I don’t really have the
luxury to plan a full day of writing. It’s more that I sneak some writing time
in when ever the opportunity arises. Mostly, I write in the evenings, lounging
on the couch.
6) What genre is the most intimidating when
you think about writing in it? Explain why!
O. Wow. That’s a hard one. I’m a journalist
so I think writing the true stories is the hardest. It’s not your story,
meaning that someone else is trusting you with their story and it’s your job to
capture that person and his or her event or life in the most truest form. You
have to stick to the story that the person is telling you, but you also have to
trust your skills as a write and write the best possible version of the events.
7) What do you like to do when you are not
writing? What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?
I like to read when I’m not writing, or
(binge)watch series on tv. I love going to the movies or going out to dinner
with my husband or with friends. I adore my girls and love to spend time with
them. I must have watched Frozen a couple of dozen times by now and lived
through the reenactment of that fairytale more times than a person probably can
stand without losing their minds.
Writing isn’t my day job. Yet. I was a public
policy maker for a municipality and I’m a freelance journalist.
8) What is the most touching reaction you
have ever received from a fan?
Somebody wrote in a review of Heat that the
story made them think about their own issues and the way they were dealing with
stuff in their lives. It made them think. I found that touching because the
story reached out to that reader on a level that made them assess their own
Another reader predicted that ‘this new
writer is going places with her writing’. I loved that one as well! I really
hope she’s right.
9) In your opinion, what is the most
important feature a book needs to have?
Every book needs conflict. Without conflict,
there is no story worth reading.
10) What is the most difficult part of
writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
For me, it’s the moment you’re almost done.
You’re at about 2/3 of the book and the self doubting begins. Shall I ever
finish this book? Is it going to be the story I hope and think it could be? Or
is this the point to just give up.
Also, I find it hard to start with a story.
It’s like being the new girl in a group of friends. You don’t know the people
you are spending so much time with and investing so much energy in that well
and yet you know that there is something there that makes them special and
worthwhile. It’s that process of getting to know your characters and the story
you are writing, that makes it scary and absolutely amazing at the same time.
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet
different from other authors.
That’s a difficult one to answer for me, so
I’ll just stick with the things readers say in their reviews and the stuff my
publisher and editor say. Most readers find my writing takes them in to the
story, that the power’s in the details. Some things in the beginning of the
story may seem unimportant, but later on all these pieces of the puzzle fit
For foreign readers (non-Dutch readers) I
think my books reveal a little of the Dutch culture and way of living. The
directness of the Dutch people and their proud way of trying to live their
lives without accepting any help, then realizing there is no shame in asking
for help when you need it most.
And I love layering characters. Nobody’s just
‘good’ or just ‘evil’. Everybody has a story which contains of many many
layers. By peeling back those layers, you can find the true beauty in a person.
13) Which of your characters seems to be the
most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
Ha! That would be Steve. You meet him in
Heat, as the very ‘hands on’ and fun colleague of Lynn. But there’s more to
Steve than meets the eye and he was very persistent in telling me his story.
Steve’s not the fun and easy going guy he wants people to believe, there’s a
bitterness inside him and a guilt that’s eating at him.
I’m happy to say Steve’s going to get his own
book, which will be published by Storm Publishers next year (2016). The English
title is going to be ‘High Gear’.
14) What do you want tell your readers at the
end of this interview?
Well, first of all, thank you very much for
this opportunity and for wanting to interview me! I love the way bloggers and
writers are interacting these days and have the utmost respect for all you
bloggers and readers out there, formulating thorough opinions about books and
helping us writers get better.
I hope readers will enjoy Lynn and Dan’s
story and find themselves wanting to learn more about Steve.