Interview with Hans Brouwer

When did you start writing?
Wow, that is sometime ago. Nowadays I am near the senior citizen age. I recall having written a novel in my teens. Looking back it was a very naive science-fiction story about a space ship crash-landing on an unknown planet and the passengers trying to survive. Lots of adolescent ideas about love and human interaction as a teenager, or me at least, would see this.
Why did you start writing?
Well, that was mainly because in my youth I read a lot, mostly SF and Fantasy, and there were not a lot of books in that genre in my native language, Dutch. Most books I read were from the local library and their collection did not grow very much, so at some point I decided to write my own stories.
Later in life I started to play role playing games in the dragons-and-dungeons setting and wrote a few articles on why there were hardly any settings in today's world or SF RPG's. These articles were met with some enthusiasm. I created an RPG system based in an SF setting and ran a campaign. I wrote some session logs about that campaign, which were quite popular. All in all I liked writing, but lost interest in it for quite some time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first story, but the first storIES. As a small boy I spend many holidays with my grandparents in the Frisian part of my country. My grandfather had a series from Karl May, the Old Shatterhand stories and the Kara Ben Nemsi stories. I vividly recall, that my grandfather allowed me to start reading those books. I must have been about 10 years of age, possibly younger. My grandfather did not think I could be interested in these books for grown-ups, but I spend much of that holiday reading several of those books.
My grandfather was flabbergasted that I was able to read and understand the books. He told my grandmother that I should have these books after he had passed away. When he did pass away, only a few years later, it so happened: the books were given to me. I still have them.
What are your favorite books, and why?
If I can change 'books' to 'authors'? Currently Terry Pratchett is my favourite author, especially, but not limited to, the Discworld novels. His writing style and his deep understanding of human behaviour makes these stories a feast to read. I have read all of his books several times. I wish I could write like him, but I don't even try to imitate him. I know my limitations.
Another writer I like very much is William Gibson, the 'inventor' of Cyberpunk. I like his way of NOT explaining the world a story appears in. I try to do the same, but I certainly can't match him.
So why writing in English and not in Dutch, your native language?
Hmm... I have this idea to try and earn money with writing, although currently my published stories are free of charge. In my native language it is near impossible to do that, mainly, because relative few people read Dutch. English as a world language has a much larger potential audience and I like to believe my knowledge of English is good enough to write. My reading is mainly done in English, I have quite a few English speaking friends.
Of course, there is much more competition in the English language, and most of those budding authors write in their native language, which is a big advantage. I write short stories an publish them free of charge to test the waters. I love to hear criticism about my English, it can help me improve my writing.
What genres do you write stories for?
I love SF and Fantasy. I am currently writing a series of short stories in a Fantasy setting, where a middle-aged warrior finds an orphaned baby girl on a battlefield and decides to adopt and care for it. This decision changes his life dramatically, for the baby girl is descendant from a powerful line of witches.
I try to write entertaining Fantasy stories mixed with the feelings and emotions I have for my own 1-year old daughter. I too became a father rather late in life and the arrival of my daughter has changed me tremendously. I would like to tell about this and decided to corporate this in an idea I had about an older warrior becoming a father.

I am also working on a futuristic story about an Artificial Intelligence(AI) coming 'alive'. This is in the early stages of development, I have written some dialogue to try and get a feeling of how an AI would talk, behave and act with minds, who are so much slower in thinking than it/he/she. I think it is a fascinating subject, but very difficult to write 'realistically' about, because we have no idea what kind of being an AI would be.
Published 2014-01-28.
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Books by This Author

I Accidentally Ate The Whole Thing
By Hans Brouwer
Price: Free! Words: 490. Language: English. Published: July 24, 2012. Category: Fiction
This story was written for a contest, had to be less than 500 words and had to start with the first sentence. An absurd conversation between two men about.. yeah, about what, actually? EDIT: Changed how the dialogue was presented(bold and italics), because it gave too much trouble to advance to premium. Edited two words.