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Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with Koos Verkaik, Author of The Dance of the Jester

Author’s Bio: Koos Verkaik started writing at the age of 7, his comic Scotty Clay was published in a magazine (3 pages each week) when he was only 16 and wrote his first published novel, Adolar, when he was 18.

He is a Dutchman, having published over 60 different titles now and his best work is also available in English. Well-known is his series of children’s books, Alex and the Wolpertinger; working on book 14, he intends to write 30 different titles at least (LadyBee Publishing, Canada)! His urban fantasy novels are published by Sarah Book Publishing, Texas, USA, Start Publishing New York, and Evolutionary Publishing, Canada.

Koos: “Hurray for the internet! My agent lives in New Zealand, my publishers are in the USA and in Canada!”

Koos writes every day and never had a writers’ block.  

Quotation: “I am a very fast worker; always have been, always sitting behind the keyboard and write! It is not a neurosis or so, it's just that I have a lot to tell…” (Newspaper of The Hague).

What inspired you to write your book?
KV: Mostly all I need is one sentence or even one word to inspire me. For The Dance of the Jester it was the word ‘minion’. I was reading a book about the European middle ages. Kings, queens, noblemen and rich merchants had minions who dressed exactly the same as themselves; minions were favorites with very special privileges. I wanted to write about the insanity of power and greed and created a Second Renaissance where tycoons rule and name themselves Kings and Queens.

In short:
Suddenly, at the end of the twenty-first century, world changes.
The tycoons rule. GREED is the word!
They 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!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
KV: A Dutch journalist, Fije Wieringa, wrote about that:

Once I asked the Dutch author Koos Verkaik, whose reputation in the Netherlands is similar to that of Stephen King, which book had influenced him the most in his life. Without losing a second he replied, “Alice in Wonderland, that is such a weird and scary book. A lot scarier than any of my own horror and ghost stories.”

I admire Edgar Allan Poe and some of his stories really scared me. But, to be honest, my favorite author is still Jack Vance! And now I learn more and more about the intriguing writer Philip K.  Dick – try to get as much information about his life as possible.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
KV: I have written over 60 different titles. Writing The Dance of the Jester took me a year. I first wrote it in Dutch and then translated it into English. Of course I sent it to an editor in the USA then (Mrs. Anne Geiberger), to do the necessary corrections; a manuscript must be 100% all right! What happens next, can be read in the foreword of this book:

My agent in the USA suggested I ask Bill Thompson to read The Dance of the Jester. Bill was the editor of the first books of Stephen King and John Grisham, a charismatic man of great reputation. He read the manuscript and invited me to discuss it with him.

On a scorching hot day, we found ourselves in his office in the Empire State Building in New York and together we revised and polished the manuscript and made changes in the plot. He was more than satisfied with the story, and in the meantime, he has read more of my manuscripts.
I thank Big Bill Thompson for his help and friendship.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
KV: Every writer has his special habits. I am rather chaotic and make notations everywhere. Writing the book is making order in that chaos – clean my desk, clean my head. I don’t need a complicated outline, just start writing. On my laptop, of course – but I always write the first pages with a pen! When I feel the story will be all right, I put pen and paper away and start working on the computer.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
KV: I always listen to music when I work. Radio or CD’s. Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde has always been inspiring and I love American and English blues. There is no theme song for The Dance of the Jester. My next book is Wolf Tears: I did some music myself for that, you can find it here:
https://soundcloud.com/user-224641692/09-wolf-tears. I play all the instruments myself.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
KV: This is what the editor-in-chiefs say: “We publish your book, but it still will remain your book and you have to take care of it. Of course publishers will help you everywhere they can, but as a writer you must do the utmost to promote your own work.

I read an interesting article on the internet about someone saying that it is so good that there are literary agencies. The literary agent sifts good and bad and only the real authors get a fair chance.
The market is flooded with junk, with books that shouldn’t be on the market at all – and more than often the E-book versions are for free! So it is not easy to promote your work. Fortunately, I have survived through the years and have been able to write and publish so many books.

When you finally manage to become an established writer, things get easier. The Dance of the Jester was noticed by 3 Corners Entertainment and they offered me a contract for film – I also signed a contract for film with them for another book: HIM, After the UFO Crash. This will bring my work under the attention of a bigger audience!

What advice would you give to new authors?
KV: I have said this many times before: actually, there is no advice. For when you are a real writer, nothing will stop you and you will go your own way. All I can say is that it is not easy, especially not when you find out that writing isn’t your skill after all. Of course I can say: “Get a job and write in your free time,” for that might be the smartest way to do it. But the truth is, that you have to figure it all out for yourself. Read lots of books, both fiction and non-fiction) and try to write every day.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Dance of the Jester?
Joseph Krocht had a passion for the sea and sailors in general, and his heroes were Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus in particular. He preferred to rule his enterprises from the comfort of his luxury ship that constantly sailed the oceans.

The symbol of Man-Mandate Enterprises was a statue of a man in armor with head down and hands resting on the hilt of a sword that was stuck in the ground between his feet.

The symbol of Cabo de Barra was also a statue—all the powerful multinationals loved their sculpture—a statue of a sailor in knee breeches, long hair waving in the wind, his shirt open showing his chest. His bare, lower legs disappeared into iron waves. His arms hung alongside his body, and in one of his hands, he held an old-fashioned pistol with a short barrel. At first glance the statue seemed to be of a fearless, intransigent sailor, a freebooter perhaps, a pirate in his prime. It was whispered, however, that the statue was indeed supposed to represent all the victims of the cruelty imposed by jurisdiction at sea.

The young man had apparently been convicted of committing some crime and subsequently condemned to be left behind on a sandbar. As his ship headed toward the horizon with full sails, he felt the water start to rise around his calves. This was the hour of his death, and it was up to him to decide whether or not he should use the pistol or let the powder get wet and swim until he drowned.

Out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, Joseph Krocht proclaimed himself emperor and put a crown on his head. When he later returned to his base in Atlanta, Georgia, where Cabo de Barra’s main office was located, a feast was held that went on for two weeks. At the height of the celebrations, he passed his crown on to his son Walter Krocht. No one ever considered the possibility that he would name himself emperor of a tiny island in the Pacific; he demanded to be called The emperor of Georgia.

What’s next for you?

KV: After The Dance of the Jester came Wolf Tears and I have lots of new manuscripts in stock (wrote them in Dutch, translated them into English). Hope The Dance of the Jester and HIM, After the UFO Crash will be filmed soon. My agent works with my series of children’s books Alex and the Wolpertinger; she is looking for animation companies/studios and of course I wrote screenplays for it. In the mean time I work on new books. Every day, weekends included. 

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.


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