Book Lovers: Koos Verkaik
My next Book Lover Guest is Koos Verkaik , from The Netherlands.
Koos was seven years old when he started to fill notebook after notebook with adventures about different characters.
“I started to write stories at the age of 7. And the inspiration never stopped (never had a writer’s block). First I wrote with a pen, many hundreds of pages, filled one notebook after another. Later I used a typewriter from my father’s company. Published at the age of 16 (comics) and wrote my first novel when I was 18. It was a science fiction novel and it was published right away. I was completely surprised when I saw it in the shop window of a book store. Stood there staring my eyes out, realizing now that is was all real. When I was still a boy, I could not stop writing; the bookkeeper of my father gave me something very special. It was a night lamp that he had since World War II… All houses had to be completely dark then, in order not to guide airplanes. The lamp shone a little beam on my desk in my bedroom and that way I was able to write till late at night without my parents knowing it. That silence still works for me; I can sit down and write on for hours while everyone else is sleeping.
I left home early, worked as a copywriter for a big agency in Rotterdam, helped printers/publishers by writing what they needed. Did that under pseudonym, was able to produce 4 different titles a month!
In the mean time I have published over 60 different titles under my own name.”
What inspired you to write your books?
Most of the time I write two different books at the same time. I specialized in two different disciplines; ‘Magic, Mystery & Adventure’ novels and series of children’s books. Inspiration is always there, because the is an urgent need to write – I love to tell stories. Today one of my series of children’s books was completed by the publishing of The Jester of Nottingham. It is the Saladin the Wonder Horse series (4 different titles), about a girl who lives in the turbulent times of King Richard the Lionheart and manages to survive with her horses Saladin and Silver. Another series is Alex and The Wolpertinger. I am working on book 14 now and eventually will write 30 books at least. It is the biggest adventure ever! Both series are published in the USA (Outer Banks Publishing Group, North Carolina).
I work so hard and fast, that another company in the USA could contract me for ten novels, with an option for more titles. Righter’s Mill Press will publish the books (paperbacks and e-books) and their second company, Three Corners Entertainment, will take care of the movie rights.
I am allowed to play with the big boys now; Mr. Al Longden and friends from these two companies in Princeton, gave me the chance to spread my wings. Soon the novel HIM, After the UFO Crash will come out, followed by Dance of The Jester. And I think THAT gave me inspiration, having the chance to show what I am able to.
What challenges are you solving?
Every new work is a big challenge. You start with an empty page or screen. Learnt to react fast and in the best way when I was a copywriter. Short and to the point. Text for all kinds of companies. Make people interested in their products, make people buy those products. Then I started working as a script writer for comics and wrote for record companies. Still use all these experiences when I write novels and children’s books.
How does it work?
One of the magic words is: read! That is how it works – read both nonfiction and fiction (especially fiction in your own genre, so that you know for sure you are not busy imitating someone else…). I have a couple of thousand books here in my workroom, mainly nonfiction. Know exactly where to find important information when I need it for a book I am working on. More than often I have only ONE single line in my head when I start writing a new book. For instance: Does Wodan still ride the skies in the company of his Army of Death? (my book All-Father). Or: How did Neanderthals manage to survive the ice age? (my book Neanderthal Dreams). Or: What would happen during a Second Renaissance? (my book Dance of The Jester).
That one line is enough to get me started. In a later stages, after the first pages, I start writing out a first plot and fill in names and characters. But one simple idea is enough to get the engine started en race to the finish, where I can write: THE END.
What are the challenges to make the public aware of your work?
I can consider myself lucky where that is concerned, because I already published when I was still a boy. When my website was built, there was much material ready to show. A writer must have his own website and it must look good.
I never get tired to show my work on the internet. Besides my website there is, of course, Facebook. And my Amazon page (good reviews are very important), LinkedIn, etc. I work on name building every day, showing new titles everywhere. Interviews are very important as well.
Where do you turn for inspiration and why?
Inspiration is just a word. When you know what to write about, all you have to do is WRITE. It is as simple as that. Also write when you don’t feel one hundred percent. If it is your profession, what else can you do? Your goal is to complete your story. Just do it! The best ideas come when you are not asking for it at all. They just pop up in your mind. Every time it happens to me, I think: “Hey, thank you,” and make use of it. Reading nonfiction and fiction helps to form your own ideas.
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