Koos Verkaik is the author of the novel Heavenly Vision, now available in the United States. His other books include the Saladin the Wonder Horse series for children. He is based in The Netherlands.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Heavenly Vision?
A: For most of my books all I need is one simple fact. One line, one thought, will do to get me start writing. Where Heavenly Vision is concerned, I was intrigued by the fact that you can buy yourself an old book at a flea market and find a priceless drawing or etching between the yellowed pages! That stimulates my fantasy and I get cracking right away – not knowing at all where and when it will end.
I always start to write the first two or three pages with a simple pen on sheets of paper. Only after I know it is all right, I start working on a computer.
Sitting down in silence and write the lines with a pen is something I will always enjoy.
Q: The book takes place in a variety of locations and times. Did you write the novel in the order in which it appears, or did you move chapters around as you wrote?
A: I wrote it in the order in which it appears! When I start writing, there is a complete chaos in my head, but the manuscript must be one hundred percent all right. I make notes on sheets of papers, on beermats, on three different laptops, sometimes on the back of my hand – but finally it all comes together in the manuscript.
After having typed “The End,” the chaos has disappeared. The work is done. Then I take a deep breath… and start working on the next project.
Q: Did you know how the book would end before you started writing it?
A: I never know how my books will end. I know there are authors who make a storyboard, who only start writing after they have figured it all out.
For me every new book is an adventure – for myself and for my readers. The story grows and to be honest; I do know where to go with my stories, it is all somewhere in my head and it has to come out. I never had writer’s block; I have written since I was 7 years old and as a boy I worked at night and saw the sun come up.
Q: How did you research the novel, and did you learn anything surprising?
A: Research is always important. And… the internet is there for the common facts, books are there for the real information. In my work room I am surrounded by a couple of thousand books; I absorb the facts and write fantasy.
Right now I am reading Sapiens and Homo Deus from Yuval Noah Harari. Such a great writer about the history and the future of mankind.
For Heavenly Vision I didn’t have to do much research. Most of the things I wrote about (such as the Dutch East India Company) were already known to me. I am a collector of nonfiction books about science, but also about alchemy, the supernatural, mysterious historical facts, etc. Life is full of odd surprises and I love to write about it.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I always write different books at the same time. There are two series of children’s books, Saladin the Wonder Horse and Alex and the Wolpertinger. Finished the last book of Saladin and work on book 14 of The Wolpertinger; intending to write over 30 different titles.
A new publishing company contracted me for all my novels: Righter’s Mill Press, Princeton. They also have a film company, Three Corners Entertainment. Signed contracts for all titles.
Right now I also started a new novel. And I never tell about a new story until it is finished… When I explain all about it, I feel less urge to complete it.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Yes. Heavenly Vision was published earlier by a Canadian company. Unfortunately the publisher passed away. We had become such good friends, She was such a great person.
Now Outer Banks Publishing Group has taken over; they will also publish my novel The Nibelung Gold soon and they already published the two series of children’s books I mentioned above.
I received wonderful reviews for the first edition of Heavenly Vision, which made me very proud (believe me, it is a great adventure and also a great honor to be published in Canada and the USA when you are a writer from faraway Holland).
--Interview with Deborah Kalb