In my last blog post from the 10th. of September, I promised to bring you an interview with the well-known Author and screenwriter Koos Verkaik, and here it is. I supplied Koos with several questions that would offer us insides to his personal life and his life as an author, here are his replies:
When did you decide to become an author?
I decided to become an author when I was in still high school and more or less filled the school magazine with my stories. But I started to write stories much early at the age of seven. I was the youngest published comic writer at the age of 16 when I published three pages every week in a comic magazine. Two years later, when I was only 18, I wrote my first novel (a sci-fi), and it got published immediately. I still remember the day I saw my book in a bookshop window and realized that I actually had become a novelist.
What inspired you to write "HIM ", and "After the UFO Crash"?
I have always been interested in the paranormal, in life on other planets, in everything that has to do with magic – I am a book collector, and my library contains a couple of thousand nonfiction books about real science and the supernatural. When I drove to Germany for a holiday, I had a pile of books about UFOs with me. Soon after that, I wrote the book.
The story spins around Hurricanes, a UFO crash, a group of brilliant hippies, uncatchable murderers, an odd psychiatrist, electroshocks, panic in the USA army, suicide, and well, of course, space travel…
A UFO crashes in Florida, and the world is suddenly threatened by a deluge of strange coincidences and hordes of murderers.
Rocket scientist Arthur Croft sends a special capsule into space, hoping extra-terrestrial creatures will intercept it. Croft has an unshakable belief in the existence of intelligent life in the universe. Then, for no apparent reason, he commits suicide. Jasper Froch, an American hippie, learns how to control the phenomenon of synchronicity and discovers that strange coincidences lead him in a certain direction. A Swiss psychiatrist asks Jasper to befriend a special mental patient, a wealthy American by the name of Francis Lockhart. Meanwhile, the UFO crashed in Sanguine, Florida…
Several great reviews tell much more about this novel:
Koos Verkaik's novel "HIM: After the UFO Crash is a book you'll read, and wonder did you really read what you did. Before you begin, you must make sure to have your seatbelt on nice and tight, then hold on because you're about to go on one twist and turn ride of your life. Once you open the first page, it will grab and hold you tightly until you finish reading the last page. Then when you think you have just read a fantastic part, up comes another one, then there is more and more. You will be kept on the edge of your seat as you read all the action, thrills and suspense that is on each and every page. The writing is amazing. After reading Him you may (as I did), wonder can this someday be in our future. This book is a must-read for all. I gave it 5 stars but wished I could give it more because it deserves more. Koos Verkaik hit it out of the ballpark with this book." (Marjorie Springer)
"I have always been amazed at the author's ability to take you on a journey that at the beginning appears to be something else and doing a 360 on you at the very end which makes me so envious and enthralled at the author's cunningness…" (Merril Anil, Goodreads)
Tell me about your routine, where do you write, and how longhand or on your computer?
Every writer has a different way of working. Before I am able to start, my life is in complete chaos. I make notations on sheets of papers, read, read, read, do research… and then, finally, I sit down to write a new novel. I write the first pages with a ballpoint. That gives me time to think. As soon as I know that the beginning is good, I open my laptop. From that moment on I keep on working, day after day, till I can finally write: THE END…
What is the best time for you to write?
When I was still a boy, I had so much inspiration that I simply HAD to write after school. Of course, my parents did not allow me to stay up for too long. My father's bookkeeper understood that and gave me a special lamp he had had used himself during the Second World War. In those days it was forbidden to use lights in the houses because it would help pilots to determine their position and decide where to drop their bombs. That special light bulb only shone a beam down onto my paper. It made me possible to work all night long. Later, when I was older, I still loved it to write my novels in the silence of the night.
Is "HIM", After the UFO Crash ready for a film?
Yes, it certainly is. Al Longden is a giant in the field of publishing, entertainment, and film. He has been my literary Agent for a long time. He started a publishing company (Righter's Mill Press) and a company that sells book rights to the movie industry (Three Corners Entertainment). Both companies are established in Princeton, at the impressing Wall Street! The goal of both companies: "We search the world over for the finest written works to develop for film and television."
Al Longden contracted my novel for both publishing and film.
You find my work for the film here:
What are your plans for the future?
Well, Three Corners Entertainment has given me a big chance. I hope there will soon be a breakthrough for my book. In the meantime, I keep on writing, novel after novel – and I also write a series of children's books. As a matter of fact, I write every single day, even during the weekends. The goal is to fill my bookcases with my own printed work…
Where do you find your characters? Are they real people of fiction?
Interesting. I can always see things from both sides. I can be the keeper of the law or play the devil's advocate. That way, I can come up with all kinds of different types and most of the time they have nothing to do with the real people I already know.
Which is or was your favourite character?
This one is easy to answer. Oscar Man, the leading character in my novel Dance of The Jester. I have a weak spot for jesters, studied them and used them in many a novel and children's books.
Oscar Man is the big favourite.
This is what Dance of The Jester is about:
Suddenly, at the end of the twenty-first century, the world changes. The tycoons rule and name themselves kings. These are times of extravagance and decadence, extreme power, and richness. The world is one big party. And there is chaos! No one seems to wonder how this all had come to be. No one seems to wonder what is actually happening. No one seems to care about anything anymore. Except for some odd outsiders. One of them is Oscar Man, the illegitimate son of tycoon Otto Man.Once he was a prince; then he became a pariah, with nothing to lose for himself and so much to win for the world…
In these turbulent times, the Second Renaissance, strange creatures come into power and try to subject every single human being. But Oscar Man appears to be a very strange creature too, and he shows the way to freedom; his journey leads him from Switzerland to the USA and back, searching for a special manuscript that will bring the highly necessary revelation.
The enemy makes the poor jester Oscar Man dance. But ultimately the former prince will manage to solve the world's biggest problems ever!
The book has been published in the USA, and soon there will be a brand-new version!
Where do you live?
I live in The Netherlands. I write in Dutch and then translate into English. My literary Agent is from New Zealand, and I publish in the USA…
Who are your favourite writers?
Edgar Allan Poe, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny and Theodore Stergeon.
For nonfiction: Yuval Noah Harari and Hoimar von Ditfurt.
Do you create your book covers yourself, or do you hire a designer?
My publishers do that for me, of course. But I always come up with an idea myself and most of the time I make a special drawing for the artist.
Do you like to travel?
Yes. I was in the USA, where I was invited by Mr Bill Thompson, the editor of the first books of Stephen King and John Crisham. We discussed and edited my work, and that brought me a big step further into the USA publishing industry. Mostly I travel by car and go to Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland. Hopefully, I will be able to travel to the USA again for book signings and meeting my publishers.
What do you do in your past time when you are not writing?
I am playing the guitar, making my own recordings.
Here is an example on YouTube:
Do you ever have writer's block?
One hundred per cent NO! I never ever had a writer's block. I have been a copywriter, and I have written hundreds of scripts for comics, sixty books under a pseudonym and another sixty under my own name. I sit down, start-up my laptop and begin to hammer on the keyboard.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Right here in The Netherlands… And on a higher level where my books are concerned.
Which genre do you prefer and why?
I write about the supernatural, about magic, mystery, and adventure. As said, I read lots and lots of nonfiction books about things like that, and I am always curious about the way particular people act. My newest book, Nicolaes Nimbus, is all about that. Here is a very, very nice review:
Who is Nicolaes Nimbus? As the book blurb mentions, the book is a quest to find the mysterious Nicolaes Nimbus. Having read the Author's previous masterpieces, I can truly say that there would have been no one better to craft this masterpiece than Koos Verkaik. What I didn't expect was to be scared and thrilled at the same time. The magic is unbelievable in the book. The Author was truly in his full element while writing the book.
The book Nicolaes Nimbus begins with snippets of each of the eras and characters and instances and then slowly takes you through a fantastic roller coaster ride. I felt that the book presented with these beads in the beginning and towards the end, it was threaded to form a beautiful piece together. It is the magic of threading and joining these pieces that worked the magic for me. It's like you see the puzzles fit and yet leaving you craving for more.
There is an ambiance to the book that slowly creeps around you and almost grabs you and creating one scary yet amazing journey. One of the masterstrokes of the Author's book lies in the details. Each of these details tend to jump out to make a bigger and unexpected twists and thrills to the book. He never deals with easy and simply slope which makes the reading even more adventurous and grasping
His language and narration skill has a character of its own. This can't be explained as you have to read it to get the feel of it. It's tricky yet simple. A fine picture of saying some of the most intense and in-depth facts with the simplest of words.
The language, flow and pace of the book is amazing, and it's the core theme that makes all the difference in the book. It is a very unique theme to handle, and the way he has crafted a very unique tale out of it is amazing. Make sure to read it in broad daylight to save yourself from scary dreams. Believe me, towards the end you will thank me for this advice. Buckle up for a joyride.
Do you like to listen to music while you write?
Absolutely. Besides the old work of Bob Dylan, I listen to blues. Johnny Winter, Eric Sardinas, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Hole, John Mayall…
What are you working on right now?
A new novel. I cannot say much about it, that will make the magic disappear; I only talk about new work after it is finished. But it will be another exciting novel. I can promise you that. If you could start your life over, would you become an author again or what would be your choice? I don't hesitate about that. I would do the very same all over again.
Do you have pets?
A dog and two cats.
How do you see the future for indie authors?
We have the e-books now. And many people still love the printed books. The future is not good and not bad. We have internet now; authors can promote their own work, which I do on a daily basis myself.
Do you have a message for your fellow authors?
Not really. You should know for yourself if you are good enough to become a writer, if you have enough talent – and if you are tough enough. The publishing world is hard. I have met many strange people (who rob you with a fountain pen…) and I have seen many, many publisher companies collapse. The only advise I can give read a lot, but never imitate an established writer, just go your own way.
Where can readers purchase your books?
Barnes & Noble:
Do you have a website or blog?
Yes, I do, my website is: www.koosverkaik.com
Dear Koos, I want to thank you for spending the time to give us a glimpse into your life. I wish you all the very best and hope you will follow the blog and keep us updated on the progress of your new novel.
Thank you so much for this interview, dear Ursula!