In your own words, please describe your book.
It’s a story about Vikings. Yes, and about druids and Celts and drakenboats and… You get the picture.
It’s a story about Muus and Kjelle, two young fellows who start out hating each other. One is slave, the other master. One is strong, the other weak. Fate forces them together and they must learn to depend on each other.
It’s also a story about Birthe, a girl with a baby. She’s an acolyte to a völva (a Scandinavian wisewoman), and a huntress. She knows the magic of songs and the ways of the wild. She keeps the two fellows alive while the three of them flee through the snow, all the while caring for Búi, her three months old son.
And it’s also about Tuuri the messenger, who is young and naive and serves the wrong master. He seeks his family among the Fynni, not knowing them for the horror they are.
And Hraab, the little boy who survived a massacre, Ajkell the bear warrior whose honor is compromised and Ottil, the deposed young Prince.
What genre/genres does your book fall under?
It’s for Y.A. and Adults who like a bit o’light in their story. Fast-paced; part fantasy, part adventure, part history. With a strong emphasis on coming of age, equality and diversity.
Is this book part of a series?
‘Shardfall’ is the first book in a trilogy: ‘The Shardheld Saga’. The second book is ‘Runemaster’ and the third (scheduled for late Summer) will be ‘Shardheld’.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
I wanted something a bit different. I like medieval times, but I wasn’t going for knights. So I came to an earlier age and an alternate world. A world with magic through songs (like Birthe) or through runes (like Muus). With gods who all know each other, and who battle with evil prehistoric gods. I like twisting tropes till they suit my purpose and all this fit together.
What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?
I haven’t been writing since early childhood. Though I remember writing a SF-story while in high school. It was, let’s say, rather awful. No, I was subconsciously looking for a new way to get rid of my excess fantasy. I’ve been with the Scouts for over forty years and that satisfied all my creative urges. In ’04 I stopped, had a bit of a burn-out and for a few years I didn’t do much. In 2007 I started on a story. Don’t ask me why. I just began to type.
It didn’t last. Until 2009, when I found the start of that story on my harddisk. I sat down and started rewriting until I was at 250k. And that’s how it started. Or rather, how my other series, ‘The Shadow of the Revenaunt’, started.
Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?
I’m a hybrid, an author-publisher. My first three books are Dutch and trade published through a small Dutch genre publisher.
I’ve also got five books in English, self-published through my own publishing company (and that’s an official company, not just a name).
My first book was published in 2012. I found that, although I’ve a good relationship with my Dutch publisher, who is a great guy and a great artist, I prefer the freedom of self-publishing.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the third Shardheld book. Just got it back from two betareaders, rewrote quite a bit and sent it out to a third. Then out for editing and I still hope to publish in July.
Then I’m doing a fantasy adventure in an alternate world with a very mixed cast, both in color and in gender. It is predominantly fantasy adventure, with sailing vessels and pirates, magic and the aftermath of a useless war.
I have the fourth book of my long series ‘The Shadow of the Revenaunt’ going as well.
Finally I began translating ‘Shardfall’ in Dutch, but that’s not going very fast at the moment.
In your own words, please tell us about yourself.
There is little to tell. I’m that guy living alone sealed away in his tower, writing books, playing computer games, reading, etc. About as exciting as the life of a skeleton on the Moon.
What are some of your likes and dislikes?
I like chocolate and whipped cream, and I dislike having to eat them sparingly because of this tendency toward corpulence.
I like starting a new story, when all is still new and waiting to be discovered and I dislike wrestling with timetables to make everything fit.
I like light fantasy and dislike the dark variety.
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?
That I’m getting filthy rich with writing but am keeping it a secret for the Tax Office? Lies! All lies! (Wish it were true…)
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
Read more fantasy. (And if you’re Dutch/Flemish: Read more Dutch/Flemish fantasy).