Friday, 4 January 2013

Author Interview: Jen Minkman

Jen Minkman has written Shadow Of Time.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
My name is Jen Minkman and I am Dutch. I live in the Hague, the Netherlands. I have also lived in Austria, Belgium and the UK for my studies and internship.

2. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
My YA novel ‘Shadow of Time’ is about true love, supernatural romance, Native American spirituality, and a little bit of Navajo history.

3. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
‘Shadow of Time’ is not part of a series. I already have a new book – the only thing I have to do is translate it into English, because I write my books in Dutch. They are published by a small press publishing house in Holland, and I self-publish them in English.

4. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I was inspired to write because I have always loved reading books. All the books I read as a child inspired me to come up with stories of my own. I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was ten. It was a sci-fi story about four Earth girls discovering a UFO in the woods. I taught myself how to use a type-writer so I could make a proper book.

5. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
I design all my book covers myself (even with my traditional publisher in Holland, I can always make suggestions for what photos or images to use for the book cover). For ‘Shadow of Time’, I wanted to have an image that would convey spirituality and romance at the same time, with a little bit of Native American influence thrown into the mix. That is how I came up with a silhouette of a couple holding hands, standing in the middle of a lightbeam in Antelope Canyon (situated in Navajo Nation).

6. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
Yes, I do. It can be found here:

I love book trailers! I think it’s a brilliant idea to promote books by showing the readers snippets of the storyline and find the right kind of images and video clips, combined with the right kind of music, to convey the ‘mood’ of your book. I make my own book trailers in two languages (Dutch and English).

7. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I have never quite warmed up to audiobooks, because I can’t focus long enough on someone telling me a story on a CD. I get distracted easily. But e-books are wonderful! Ever since I bought an e-reader, I haven’t had to take a suitcase full of books with me on holiday anymore – I can take hundreds of books with me on one device. Having said that, I do want a physical copy of a book if I really like it and am likely to re-read it in the future. I prefer paperbacks because they are easier to take with you (less heavy, smaller) when you’re on the tram, bus or tube!

8. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Yes and no. In my own country, I have a publisher, but in the rest of the world, I am self-published. The chances of my book ever being picked up for translation in a foreign language are so slim that I decided to do it myself. Who knows – publishers from Spain, Germany or France might contact me to make translations for their markets next!

9. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
I have read tons of books more than once. If a book is really good, you’ll come back to it more than once, because the storyline and the characters are interesting enough to hold your interest, even if you already know how it’s going to end. I regularly re-read books from my childhood (Thea Beckman, author of ‘Crusade in Jeans’ is one of my favourites) as well as paranormal romance books and contemporary romance books when the romance is well-described and can make me swoon each and every time I read the story.

10. What is your favourite film based on a book?
My two favourite films would have to be ‘Lords of the Rings’ (the entire trilogy) and ‘Twilight’ – in both cases because the film really captured the mood of the books so well.

11. What is your favourite book genre at the moment?
Paranormal romance and dystopian fiction or romance. ‘Twilight’ drew me in, but I have discovered so many more good books since then! Paranormal romance is also my favourite genre to write. I don’t have any plans to write a dystopian novel yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I came up with something in the future. ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Day of the Triffids’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ feature in my top ten of favourite dystopian reads.

12. What books have made it onto your wishlist recently? And why?
I am currently connecting with a lot of authors from my home country who write in the same genre as I do (fortunately, the YA paranormal and dystopian genre has finally taken off in Holland as well!) and buying their work because I want to support fellow authors. It’s almost Christmas, so I’m hoping for some new, good reads!

13. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
I am currently reading ‘Divergent’ in paperback format.

14. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
I would invite John Lennon, Yoko Ono, David Bowie and Tori Amos. They are all musicians who have inspired me to create my own music, my own fashion style, and to look differently at the world. John and Yoko have always been my favourite romantic couple, moreover.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
My advice would be: don’t think too much about what to write, just WRITE! Make a rough outline of what you want to include in your book, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it. And once you have a draft, don’t hesitate to delete at least half of what you’ve written in order to make it a better and more compelling read. The best advice I have been given as a writer is undoubtedly ‘kill your darlings’. Not everything you write and feels dear to you should end up in the final draft of your book. You have to leave some of it to the reader’s imagination, too.

16. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
Yes, I love making music and I also love drawing and painting. I play the piano, the guitar and the viola.

17. Where can your readers follow you?

Twitter: @JenMinkman

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!