Welcome to the three hundred and twenty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with crime and mystery author Jochem Vandersteen. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Jochem. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Jochem: I’m Jochem Vandersteen, I live in the Netherlands and am Dutch. I write in English however because it’s the language my favourite books are written in. I’ve always been dreaming up stories as long as I can remember. Picking up Robert B. Parker’s books made me want to write PI novels.
Morgen: Ooh, PI as in Private Detective. I love crime books. Is that the genre you generally write?
Jochem: I usually write crime / mystery stories, specifically the hardboiled PI-genre. I’ve written some horror and superhero stories as well. I’m pretty fond of those genres as well and plan to experiment with those in the future. Check out http://godling.blogspot.com for some of that stuff.
Morgen: That sounds interesting. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Jochem: My name is part pseudonym because I really am called Van der Steen instead of Vandersteen. I’ve published a novel, a short story collection and a novelette featuring Noah Milano. Noah Milano is the son of a mobster, trying to make amends with a violent past after the death of his mother. He works as a security specialist, but that really means he’s a PI. Or, sometimes, a thug for hire. What makes him unique is that he constantly tries to be different from the violent, selfish man he used to be. It isn’t easy however, because his main job skills are his proficiency in violence and his knowledge of the underworld.
Morgen: It’s great to have conflict within the character as well as externally. Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Jochem: Ebooks have been a fantastic way to get my work out there. I love that revolution and right now most books I read are in ebook format. I still like receiving autographed paperbacks as well, but the fact I can own a lot of books without taking up a lot of space is attractive. I also like the fact authors can get me books to review very fast and very cheap. All of my work is available on Kindle.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Jochem: I’m writing a novelette now featuring Noah Milano, who’s being hired to bodyguard a convicted killer as he faces the parents of his victim.
Morgen: Wow. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Jochem: I’ve got a busy life as a father and employee. I never suffer from writer’s block, just from lack of time.
Morgen: A few other authors have said that. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Jochem: I do plot, but don’t outline. I think it makes the story flow naturally without me ending up staring at a dead end.
Morgen: Most authors I’ve spoken to have said they don’t plan and bearing in mind how the characters take over it’s not something I do much of either. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Jochem: Characters are key for me. Most stories start out with the characters and the plot comes next. I like being creative with names, paying homage to other writers for instance.
Morgen: Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Jochem: I write articles for a rock e-zine and for my own blog, http://sonsofspade.blogspot.com, that’s all about PI fiction.
Morgen: With crime (and your non-fiction) you’d have to get your facts write. Do you have to do much research?
Jochem: I don’t write police procedurals or stories heavy on forensics. So most of my research is about places and guns. Sometimes I need to know some legal stuff which the internet and newsgroups are great for.
Morgen: Everyone knows something about something. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Jochem: I love first person and haven’t done too much with third or second. I love the way first person makes it possible to create a distinctive voice and take the reader along with the main character, discovering things through his eyes.
Morgen: I like first person (although my favourite is second) – it’s great to be able to live inside a character for a few hundred pages. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Jochem: I love Jack Reacher’s (or Lee Child’s): ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’.
Morgen: I like that… and Jack Reacher has ‘nothing to lose’. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Jochem: Check out my blog http://sonsofspade.blogspot.com. It will get you any information you want.
To see a lot of my work, check out Tough As Leather. It’s a collection of my Noah Milano stories with introductions by other PI writers.
Morgen: That’s great, thank you Jochem.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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