Today we meet Lisa Veldkamp who lives in the Netherlands. Wait until you read her advice to aspiring writers. So take five and read on.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Lisa. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Elemental?
Thanks for having me as your guest today, L.A. It all started at a music festival back in 2009. Placebo was headlining and although I’d always been fond of their music, it certainly wasn’t my favourite band. When they started playing Come Undone I went into a sort of trance and was in another world. The world of Catherine, the main protagonist of The Elemental. I was intrigued, but in the buzz of the festival forgot all about it.
Some weeks later I dreamed the outlines of the entire trilogy, two nights in a row. I’ve had my fair share of dreams, but never something like this. Then I remembered that moment at Pinkpop festival and I started listening to Battle for the Sun. The album containing Come Undone. I listened to it for weeks, driving everyone, including my dog, insane. That’s when I decided to give it a go to see if it would still work on paper instead of just inside my head.
Have you been a lifelong reader of supernatural fiction? What are some the first books you remember reading?
I always loved Marvel and DC Comics. The supernatural or paranormal fascinates me. Always has. I think it’s a part of life. We’re all gifted, some are just more visible, that's my philosophy anyway. However, my first love were The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. I devoured those books! We even did Famous Five role-playing with some other kids in the neighbourhood, borrowing someone else's dog, lol!
What do you do to rev your creative juices?
Listen to Placebo (obviously), but I also like to run. It puts me in the perfect state of mind. Just me and the road, music in my ears and all the time to let my imagination run wild.
I also have the perfect writing hang-out. My hometown has this amazing coffee café. Barista Café. I wrote over eighty percent of The Elemental right there at my favourite table. I think the owners consider me part of the furniture. I don’t even have to order, they know what I want. And they keep an eye on me whenever a deadline is coming up. When I spend too much time playing with my phone I’ll hear a ‘hem hem’ coming from the counter and see a raised eyebrow. It’s rather cute actually, they’re really looking out for me.
What would be your advice to people who are considering a writing career? And/or what would do differently in your career?
You need to ask yourself why you want a writing career? I’m not going to say it’s wrong to do it for the money, cool status, fame, fans and glory. I am going to say that if that’s your main motivation, you’re probably heading for the biggest disappointment in your life. Writing is a lot of hard work. Not just the writing itself, that’s hard enough, but everything that comes with it. Even if you’re lucky enough to get yourself a publisher, you’re still required to do a lot of promotion and if you want to do this for a living, make sure you sell about 1500 copies per month. Just to put it in perspective for you.
Having said that, if there’s a story inside you bursting to come out, do it. Just do it. Sit down and start typing. That’s really all there is to it. One day you’ll wake up and realize it’s finished. Whether you do something with it is up to you. Yes, getting published is murder, but there’s always self-publishing. That’s how I began and I still use Amazon’s Create Space for my short stories and poetry collections. Royalties are more than fair and the best part, Indie Author’s are awesome! There are loads of people out there who’re willing to help you. With advice, give you a spot on their blog, review your book and so on. I was completely gobsmacked by this loving community.
What would I have done differently? Started writing five years earlier. Then again, I probably needed to get to where I was, to make a significant change in my life. Since then, I haven’t regretted a single moment.
Believing in yourself is the key. Don’t let anybody else tell you differently. This may not be the ‘proper’ thing to say, but even though your true friends would hate to see you fail and really have your best interest at heart, there will also be those who don’t like to see you succeed and think you silly to follow such a whimsical dream. So again, believe in yourself, that is the key. If you think you can do it, guess what? You can.
You’re having a dinner party. What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up? Why?
Oh my, definitely Alan. He’s such a party pooper. Being an empath and a master of death, makes for an interesting, but very dangerous combination. Honestly, you can’t take him anywhere. And what if he doesn’t like the tuna?! *shivers* No, he’s better left to his own devices.
Give us a brief summary of The Elemental:
Time is running out, and only the Elemental can save the world.
“My name is Catherine van Dyk. I run a private massage and coaching practice in Shoreditch, London—nothing special, you would say, and you would be right. Except something terrible is about to happen to our planet, and I’m the only one who can do something about it, so no pressure. Am I going to succeed? This time I might finally be able to control the elements. I have to. To save my life. To save all our lives.”
Catherine van Dyk is an Elemental, which means she can control earth, air, fire, and water—sort of. Catherine is trying to leave her darker days behind her, but she and her friends, who have similar abilities, must try to restore balance to our world. Whether her new neighbor Tristan can help her in that has yet to be seen. Is Tristan who he says he is? With disaster on its way and only one week to go, time is running out. For Catherine, for her friends, for all of us.
Lisa is the author of the poetry collections Nothing is Forgotten and When Words Start To Sing. The Elemental - book I of The Fire Trilogy is her first novel, set for release Halloween 2015 by Booktrope Publishing. The rockband Placebo features in her book, as their lyrics were her source of inspiration. She also wrote a short-story for teenagers, The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, which is featured in an anthology, titled Awethology Light.
She has a background in social services and music, but writing has always been a part of her daily life. One night she dreamed the outlines of The Elemental and took it as a sign from the Universe to pursue a career in writing.
Lisa grew up in a small town in the Netherlands where her parents always taught her to think outside the box. She has a degree in social studies and joined the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids as an adult.
Lisa loves London, according to her 'the city where magic dwells' and can often be found there. She still resides in the Netherlands however with her partner and their dog Miss Ginger Rogers and if you're lucky, you may find her in her favourite coffeehouse, Barista cafe.