Author Spotlight – Bob Van Laerhoven

Welcome!

 

Please introduce yourself.

I am a Belgian/Flemish professional author – and have been for 23 years – who has published more than 35 books in Holland and in Belgium, and who has been translated in English, French, Italian, and Russian. I specialize in the cross-over between literature and the suspense novel. With “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” (Pegasus Books) I won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best suspense novel of the year in the LowLands in 2007 and the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category mystery/suspense. My short story collection “Dangerous Obsessions” was voted “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

I published my first book in 1971, at the tender age of eighteen. In retrospect, I realize that it was way too early, but, bubbling with youthful bravado, I took the first chance I got. Because I was so young, reviewers were lenient with me, and the novel became a modest success in Belgium. I plunged head-on in writing and tried to accomplish an oeuvre with a consistent theme: the bottomless pit of aggression in humans, and the consequences of war. Also in real life, I did what I could to understand the shadows in the human soul. From 1990 to 2003, I visited, as a travel writer, conflict zones all over the world (Somalia, Bosnia, Liberia, Iraq, Iran, Burma(Myanmar),Burundi, Sudan, and so on). I was in the Bosnian town of Tuzla when the first survivors of the mass-murder in the Muslim-enclave of Srebrenica  arrived, and the sight of these wretched, exhausted, malnourished, and hopeless people made a lasting impact on me. I wrote a book about the massacre – more than 7000 Muslims killed – that the Serbian General Mladic’s troops inflicted upon the local population: “Srebrenica. A Testimony Of Mass Murder.”

 

 

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

Up till now, my motivation was the desire to understand who we are, and why we are such strange creatures, capable to create so much beauty, but also to commit such horrendous acts.  I would have liked to write about the light in our soul, but Fate chose me to pursue the nature of darkness. I consoled myself with the fact that there is no light without darkness. Still, after more than 35 books, traditionally published, I feel that I have reached a cross-road. I’m currently working on “The Feuerhand Files,” a novel set in Berlin in 1921, and I feel in the marrow of my bones that it will be my last cross-over novel between literature and the suspense genre. It will be my final attempt to dissect the nature of our innate violence.

 

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

I write in the cross-over genre between literature and the suspense novels. In other words: I write literature with a certain degree of suspense. I didn’t choose that particular genre. It chose me. My first ten novels in Flanders and Holland were literary, but even then reviewers noticed a tendency to incorporate “thriller-effects” in them. When I was 42, I felt that my literary pen had become blunt, and, in order to satisfy my ongoing need to write, I decided to write a hard-boiled thriller series. The series, with the South-African/Flemish half-breed commissioner Peter Declerq and the Brussels inspector Samantha “Sammy” Duchène, started as a pure thriller series, but, along the way, the old elements of style and elegance that I tried to portray in my literary work, sneaked also in this “new direction.” Gradually, the Declerq-Duchène series evolved again in the direction of literature, but it still retained a healthy dose of suspense via a thrilling plot and a polished style. Afterwards came the even more literary mystery-novels like “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” and “Return to Hiroshima, “Black Water,” “The Woman Who Loved Dante,” “Alejandro’s Lie,” “The Shadow Of The Mole,”etc…

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

Coming from a working class family, I dreamed of becoming a famous writer. I’m glad that, rather soon in my, eh, “career,” I understood that a famous writer isn’t necessarily a good writer. So, I changed my goal and wanted to become the best writer that I can be. Instead of trying to be better than other authors, I tried to be the best “me.” I’m still trying, and I still find it a goal very much worth fighting for. I should like to end my writing years with my memoires, having lived a rather unusual life for a novelist.  I don’t know if I have the skills to do that, but I do know that the string of cross-over novels, wherein the individual is set against societies in uproar and unrest, has now dried up in me. When “The Firehand Files” is finished, I’ll start making notes for my memoires. It may take years, it may take forever, Fate will have its will.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

No, I never experienced a complete writer’s block, but some books were harder to write than others, and sometimes I stopped after hundred, or more, pages, feeling that the soul of the novel just wasn’t there. But even then, I “recycled” some of the chapters of these unfinished novels to short stories that did well over here, and even international. For instance, I published the short story “Checkmate in Chimbote” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and that was originally a part of an unfinished novel…

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Write write write…Edit edit edit….Edit again Edit again Edit again. Don’t sell your soul for profit; try to find it in your themes, your style, and your passion.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.

I haven’t fulfilled my dreams (yet), and, like every artist, I suppose, I had hoped for more and better. But I covered a long distance from the working class boy of eighteen without a formal education to the author I have become, who still tries to hone his craft, and who had some nice successes along the way. Nearing 64, I look back more often than I used to, and when I count my successes and my failures, I realize that I have been a lucky man. Now comes the time to end all these years of writing in beauty, in acceptance, and with grace….

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

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Contact Bob:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NMz1poUVmUw 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baudelaires-revenge-bob-van-laerhoven/1116879856?ean=9781605987002 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baudelaires-revenge-bob-van-laerhoven/1116879856?ean=9781605985893 (Nook)

https://niume.com/profile/45450#!/posts (Niume)

https://www.facebook.com/bob.vanlaerhoven (FB)

http://www.thebingbing.com/bobvanlaerhoven  (BingBing) 

https://twitter.com/bobvanlaerhoven  (Twitter)

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Some Bob’s Books:

https://www.amazon.com/Baudelaires-Revenge-Bob-Van-Laerhoven/dp/160598700X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1389641492&sr=1-1

 

https://www.amazon.com/Baudelaires-Revenge-%D0%9C%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C-%D0%91%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0-Russian/dp/1681143089/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1489524243&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=Bob+Van+Laerhoven

https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Obsessions-Bob-Van-Laerhoven-ebook/dp/B00VU96036  (Kindle edition)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Obsessions-Bob-Van-Laerhoven/dp/168114087X/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1489524243&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=Bob+Van+Laerhoven (paperback)

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My Beloved Paper Agenda

Starting this post with a confession is quite hard to do, to be honest. But I decided to do it anyway:

 

I AM SCARED TO BE HOPELESSLY OLD-FASHIONED

I know you might laugh, but I’m terrified that I’m getting too old to be able to change my ways and finally give up my affinity to my paper agenda.

It is a beautiful agenda, teal colored with turquoise surroundings. It not only includes my annual agenda, but also a little paper notepad and an address book. It’s a COACH agenda and I’m very proud to have it. That thing is about 13 years old and I remember exactly where I bought it and why. And it’s about as heavy a gallon of milk.

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I love it deeply and not only use it to write down appointments but also birthdays, addresses, things to do and things not to forget…

It is however really heavy and uses up a lot of space in my purse, which forces me to leave it at home and get a light and easy annual planner to take with me, just in case I’m on the road and need to add an appointment.

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As soon as I’m back home I’ll take what I wrote in this ‘on the road’ planner and carefully copy it to my COACH agenda which I just for some reason can’t give up…

I know it would be BY FAR easier to throw them both away and take my appointments, notes, to-do list and birthdays and enter them into my smartphone.  I just really think I’m confused, weird, old or simply ‘stubborn’, because I’m not there yet.

In all these years of technological progress, where I effortlessly progressed from Telex to Telefax, from Telegram to text message, from typewriter to computer, from a rotary phone to smartphone I’m still addicted to my paper agenda and planner.

It would be so much easier, but I still haven’t done it – and I’m asking myself why? Do I need to be forced to? Am I waiting until there won’t be any re-fillers anymore for the new year? What am I waiting for?

Do I need a psychologist or rehab? What is it that I need to make this progress, to get this change done and make life easier for myself.

If you have an idea, I’m going to be delighted to hear it! Thank you!

Top Publishers of 2016

The Write Nook

A few weeks ago, Publisher’s Weekly came out with a ranking of America’s top 20 publishing houses for 2016. It’s no surprise who the top 5 were, but what’s really important is what came after.

The sixth and seventh publisher were both that of children’s books- Scholastic and Disney came in right under the ‘Big Five.’ It’s quite a refreshing thing to see. Children’s literature has always been a tough genre to crack because the audience is smaller, the interests change rapidly, and the surge of technology has threatened to turn some children away from reading and the love of books. Nevertheless, books sales for 2016 has proved that there is still so much to love about children’s publishing. For Disney, Star Wars and Rick Riordan books led the way.

tops publishers

Houghton and Workman come in next, showing us that non-fiction titles still have a big impact on our consumption market as…

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March/April 2017 Writing Contests

Thank you so much Rachel Poli for the March & April 2017 Writing Contests.

Rachel Poli

march-april-2017-writing-contestsMarch 2017

Genre: Poetry
Theme: Food
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $10 for up 6 poems or $15 for up to 12 poems
Prize: First place – $500

Genre: Fiction and Nonfiction
Theme: None
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: First place – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Theme: None
Website: Colorado Review
Deadline: March 14, 2017
Entry Fee: $15 – snail mail, $17 – online submission
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Fiction
Theme: None
Website: Fabula Press
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: $10
Prize: First – $250

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: My Kind of America
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: March 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize: $200

April 2017

Genre: Fiction or poetry
Theme: None
Website:

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Not All Publishers are Equal

Steven Capps informs us with his article not all publishers are equal, which I think is an interesting and informative read, in particular for us ‘newbies’. Thanks Steven!

Steven Capps

I originally posted this in a Facebook group, but I liked the topic and wanted to expand on it here. If you’ve already seen it, I’m super sorry though like I said, I have added more content. Recently, I’ve had some writers asking whether a publisher is good or not. Ultimately, this decision is up to the writer looking to submit to them. We all have differing motivations and some simply just want to get published and nothing more while others want to make a career out of writing. This post is not going to talk about scam publishers (you can read my post about them here), but rather what seperates an okay publisher from a good publisher.

There are three requirements I look for when I am considering if a market is worthy of a submission. If they do not meet these then they are a waste of…

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…Author, Frank Westworth reveals some of the dangers lurking for we scribblers…

Seumas Gallacher publishes a guest post, written by wise, unique and gifted author Frank Westworth. Thank you Seumas and Frank to provide us with this article of warning!

Seumas Gallacher

…any seriousHarley-Davidson rider, who also writes great books and gets playing blues guitar, automatically commands my attention… Author friend, Frank Westworth, is no exception in that regard… have a read of his WURDS of wisdom…

Unsafe Spaces

Frank Westworth’s new crime-thriller, ‘The Redemption Of Charm’, arrives at the end of March. In the meanwhile he ponders a topical peril of political correctness…

Writers have a problem. Readers. OK, so writers have many problems, among them … readers. What do readers do which is a problem for writers? Surely they’ve paid their sixpence, bought the book, and everyone is happy. What can possibly go wrong? What goes wrong is that readers sometimes read the books they’ve bought. No no, do not doubt me, for I know this to be true. It gets worse. After reading some of the book some readers write to the writer – to the author…

View original post 1,131 more words

Author Spotlight – Hugh Roberts

img_4261Welcome!

 

Please introduce yourself.

Hello. My name is Hugh W. Roberts. I live in the city of Swansea, in South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

Around the age of 12 although, for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to write. Being dyslexic stopped me from writing for many years. Back then, it was a condition not recognised, so there was little if any help for those who were dyslexic. 

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

Life! I love to people watch. New characters are born in my head and a new short story developes. Writing prompts/challenges also motivate me to write. I love a challenge, although some have beaten me in producing a short story. As an early bird, rather than a night owl, I do most of my writing in the mornings.  

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

As a writer of short stories, I write in many genres but, if I had to choose a favourite, Science fiction would be the genre I enjoy writing the most. I particularly enjoy time-travel. In fact, it fascinates me and I’d love to have the ability to time travel. Time Traveller would be my ideal occupation (after author, of course). 

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I fulfilled my dream of becoming a publish author when I published my first book, Glimpses, in December 2016. My next goal is to write and publish the next volume of short stories for Glimpses. I’m hoping to publish them in December 2017. My biggest dream is to now have one (or more) of my short stories made into a movie or T.V. show. 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Writer’s block has never affected me. I always seem to be full of ideas. In times when the idea cupboard is running low, I’ll turn to writing prompts/challenges. Looking at photographs also helps get my creative writing juices flowing. 

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Believe in yourself and your writing. We all get self-doubt, but never let it, or anybody, stop you from writing. If you are a blogger, then ensure you connect with other writers and authors by reading and commenting on their blogs. I’ve built up many great online friendships through blogging. Many bloggers offer free help and advice on writing and publishing books, so get on out there and make some friends in the writing and blogging world. If you don’t have a blog, but want to write and publish a book, start writing a blog straight away. 

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.

I started blogging in February 2014. I wrote and published many of my short stories on my blog, but I also use the blog to write about everyday life, music, bloggings tips, and for my photography. I always wanted to be a storyteller and blogging gave me the chance to write and publish my work for the outside world. Most of my short stories come with twists and turns that many readers never guess are coming. My current book, Glimpses, contains short stories covering the genres of science fiction, LGBT, drama, supernatural, horror, thriller, comedy and fantasy. Hopefully there is something for everyone in the book.

  

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


Connect with Hugh Roberts:

 

Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Google+ 

LinkedIn

 


Hugh Roberts’ book:

glimpses-kdp-cover

 

http://hyperurl.co/42ou22