Foto: Miriam Bruijstens
OMKRING BOGEN Storm
Mention three fun facts that your fans maybe don’t know about you
I really love ice speed skating and inline skating, so much even, that I wrote a book about it with poems about these sports. It is not available in shops, only through me.
I wrote a book about ADHD and years later I got diagnosed with ADHD myself. That’s probably why I was able to write a book about it in the first place.
I always wear two different socks. I started doing that when I was about 14 and I never stopped, it makes me happy.
When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
I always knew I wanted to become an author (and a profesional speedskater), but I never thought it would be possible. Everybody kept telling me that it would be incredibly hard to become an author and I listened to them, so I became a teacher first. But now I know I was always meant to write.
How long have you been writing? And what started it?
My first book came out in 2012, but I wrote it in 2011.
A boy I used to teach gave me the idea, so I based the book on his life and dedicated it to him.
Who discovered you? (Did you contact publishing houses? How was the process?)
I contacted a lot of different publishing houses and two of them said yes to my first book. I just chose the one that said yes first, because I didn’t know anything about publishing at the time. But I am still very happy with them! Because my first book was for young children, it was illustrated. That’s why it took a long time before it was finally published, but it was worth the wait, the illustrations are beautiful!
How many books have you published (so far)? And which genre?
I have published 7 books so far, but only one of them was translated. I write very different genres. I wrote poetry for children, as well as for adults, two books for children and two books for New Adults. I like to try different things, I wouldn’t want to write the same genre forever and ever.
Why this story? What made you choose this specific theme?
The idea for Storm also came from my time as a teacher. A boy asked ‘how do you know if you will fall in love with a boy or
a girl?’ and of course you can only find out when you actually fall in love with someone. I wanted to write a book for children about this subject, but I didn’t want it to be a heavy coming out story. I wanted it to be light and maybe an introduction to homosexuality, I believe sexuality is fluid, so it would be nice if people would accept that. Storm doesn’t experience a lot of problems when he falls in love with a boy and I thought it would be nice to read a story like that. There are a lot of books about this topic that are about the problems. And those books should be there, because for many people coming out is very hard. But because I wrote it for younger children, I wanted it mostly to be a happy and cute story.
What inspires you to write? Which authors have inspired you? (Music, art, things in life?)
Everything around me inspires me. Maybe a conversation I hear on a train or in the supermarket, something I see, and of course my own imagination.
There is a Dutch author, Hans Hagen, who inspired me a lot. Alos I have always read a lot, I think reading can make you a better author. But when I am very actively writing, I don’t read as much, because I don’t want to accidently steal ideas or something. But mostly I write about the things around me and about my own experiences.
What is the message of your book? How should the reader interpret it?
The message of my book is that people should be able to love whoever they want. People shouldn’t judge other people and shouldn’t disapprove of same sex relationships. As long as everybody in the relationship is happy, it is good. It doesn’t matter if it’s boy/girl boy/boy, girl/girl or any other form of identity.
Obviously, people can interpret my book any way they want. Once a book is out in the world, everybody has an opinion about it anyway.
How do you identify with the character(s) in your book?
Actually, Storm is the book I least identify with, my other books are way more personal. If I would have to choose a character to identify with, it would probably be Storm’s older sister.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading ‘Little Bits of Sky’ by Sue Durrant and it’s lovely. I would definitely recommend it.
Mention 3 book titles that you wish to recommend
I love to read young adults and there are so many I would like to recommend. Three that I absolutely adored were ‘I’ll give you the Sun’ by Jandy Nelson, ‘Fans of the Impossible life’ by Kate Scelsa and ‘Surf’ by Chris Vick. But I would also like to recommend all the books by Aidan Chambers and also Peter Pohl. They are awesome.
When is your next book going to be published?
I am not sure when my next book will be published. My latest book came out in 2016, so the next one will probably have to wait till 2018. I have two manuscripts that are finished, one for children and one for adults, so hopefully one of them, or possibly both, will come out next year.