To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the fifteenth, is of epic fantasy author (and one of my LinkedIn friends) Yvonne Hertzberger. You can read the others here.
Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is married with two grown children, (one married) and resides quietly in Stratford, Ontario with her spouse, Mark, in a 130-year-old tiny brick cottage, where she plans to live out her retirement. She calls herself a Jill-of-all-trades and a late bloomer. Her many past paid jobs included banking, day care, residential care for challenged children, hairdressing (her favorite) retail, and customer service. She enjoys gardening, singing, the theatre, decorating and socializing with friends and family.
Yvonne is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, first with a B.A. in Psychology, then and Hon. B.A. Sociology and stopped ½ a thesis short of an M.A. in Sociology. She has always been an avid student of human behavior. This is what gives her the insights she uses to develop the characters in her writing.
Coming to writing late in life, hence the label ‘late bloomer’, Yvonne’s first Fantasy novel “Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth’s Pendulum” was published in 2009. The second volume in the planned trilogy “Through Kestrel’s Eyes” will be available in the fall of 2011.
And now from the author herself:
Many of us have been in conversations where one person or another says “I could write a book”. For years I kept hearing, and speaking that refrain. But how many of us actually can? I thought I belonged to that majority who would never even try, to whom it would remain a nice dream. Then, about five years ago a friend said “Write! I don’t care what you write, just write”. By then I had retired from paid work, so, with nothing to lose I began to “just write”.
After a couple of amateur short stories I began writing what I thought would be another. But this one would not end. Characters clamored to be given a voice, demanded I tell their stories. I realized that I had more than a short story there. Before I had written many chapters of what was to become “Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth’s Pendulum” I knew this would be the first volume in a trilogy. Now, five years later I am about to publish “Through Kestrel’s Eyes: Book Two of Earth’s Pendulum.” Book Three is already a firm idea. (How does “The Dreamt Child” sound for a title?)
I never set out to write great literature. My aim has always been to entertain, to give readers a temporary escape from the stress or humdrum of daily reality. I want to tell stories that come alive in the reader’s imagination, with characters they grow to love or even hate, in a world they can ‘see’ as though they are there. I want to do all of that in a skilled, competent way – and to keep doing it better and better.
I choose to write Fantasy, or rather that nebulous genre labeled Epic Fantasy because it allows me the luxury of exploring human nature in new ways without the constraints of needing to be historically correct. In the world I create I can examine how we relate to others, and to the events that change lives, without worrying about existing social conventions. I can play with gender and social mores. And in doing so, I can challenge readers, just a bit, to re-examine some of the cultural givens they take for granted.
I prefer series to stand alone novels both as a reader and as a writer. If I love a world, or a set of characters, I want to stay with them a while. A couple of my favourite authors are Robin Hobb and Juliet Marillier. They excel at what I am only learning.
For me, it has never been about awards, critical acclaim or even (though that would be nice) about making a living. My thrill comes from having a fan write me to tell me that she read my book three times, cover to cover, without stopping, now that she has learned the next one is coming, she plans to read Back From Chaos a fourth time first. And my kicks come from the many who have been willing to pay for print copies at a hefty price because they heard from a friend how good my book was. That is what keeps me writing. That is what makes me believe I am, finally, a writer. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Fiction writer, Writers Forum columnist and competition guru Sally Quilford – the one hundred and forty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks here.