As an author of paranormal and speculative fiction, October is my favourtite month. It's not only because it leads up to Halloween and the Day of the Dead. It's also the time of year when the landscape changes to reflect supernatural moods and becomes a creative tool. The beautiful reds, yellows and browns of September's leaves are replaced by early twilight, leafless, lifeless trees, atmospheric mists and creepy shadows, all of which are frequently used as a springboard into supernatural...
When I first moved to Amsterdam, I joined a local writing group at the English Bookstore, where I was fortunate to meet and work with American author David Swatling. David is a long-time resident of Amsterdam but regularly returns to the United States, and his new novel Corpus Calvin was partly inspired by local ghost stories about a haunted New England inn. The book will be available on 15th November, so it seems like a good time to ask David about his writing background, inspiration and plans.
Water plays an important role in our everyday lives. It’s vital to our well-being and survival, as well as an endless source of relaxation and leisure, but what is it about water that inspires so much creativity? Writers, artists, photographers and film-makers are drawn to the imagery of water. What’s more, it’s often the darker side of water which draws us to it as a creative context, where it can be a symbol for sinister ideas. Just look at all the crime fiction and films that use water...
I'm excited to interview Lynne Jorritsma, a British author who lives in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. I first met Lynne at an event at the English Bookstore Maastricht in 2021 and we are now both members of the Maastricht Writers Workshop. Lynne's 'Froggy Cat' series for children was inspired by her own creative bedtime stories for her children, as she explains here.
This is the only photo I have of my Grandad, John Dodd Vause. The blurred image of him and my Dad must have been taken some time before 1953, because that's the year he died, seven years before I was born. Just like in most families, there were stories about him that I didn't question as I grew up. Years later, now that I write fiction, I decided to research my family tree to see if there were any stories, people or events I could use for inspiration. Finding out about my Grandad's time as a...
Nad Wismar is widely-travelled and multi-lingual, and has lived in various parts of the world. She first began writing articles for online publications, and when she began to branch out into writing fiction, her ideas were inspired in part by her global experiences. I first met Nad in 2021 at the English Bookstore Maastricht. She talks here about her books and her future writing plans.
My guest for 'People & Books #4' is Jason Griffiths. After leaving the Forest of Dean to study English in London, Jason returned to the area and is now actively involved in the research and promotion of Forest of Dean literature, past and present. Along with Dr Roger Deeks, Jason is a founder member of the Reading the Forest project. Here he explains his background and his commitment to Forest of Dean authors and readers.
I first met Val back in November 2021, at his Russian event at the English Bookstore Maastricht, and I'm delighted to be able to interview him about his work. Originally from the USA, Val spent some time in Russia as a young student. This experience inspired his fiction writing, but he has also explored memoir and travel writing. Here Val talks about how he began writing, describes his completed body of work and his plans for future projects.
Walk away from the centre of Maastricht and through the Central Station, and you'll find yourself in a quieter area of the city. Here, on Frankenstraat, you'll find a hidden gem - the only bookstore in Maastricht which is dedicated solely to English-language books. The bookstore has been open for just over a year and is making a mark as part of the local community. I asked its owner, Shakib, about the background to opening the store, what it currently offers and his plans for its future.
Having recently moved to Maastricht, in the Netherlands, I set out to find links with the English reading, writing and book community. Via a chance phone call to Maastricht’s English Bookstore, I met Kirsty after we both joined in the store’s Halloween event. Kirsty is also relatively new to Maastricht and it was after her arrival there, that she made her move into writing and self-publishing, as she explains here.