Interview with Hugo Vaes

When did you first start writing?
When I went to Australia in the year 2000 I wanted to write a novel. I had no clear theme and no real story in my head. I just wrote something but it was nothing. In between my writing I got involved in an incredible adventure that happened just in front of me. My first book is based on my adventure what I experienced when I was in Australia. I use a woman as the main character who is representing me. See experience my story my life as it was when I was there.
When I was young and still at school I started to write but I wrote then in Dutch my native language but I started to write in English soon when I got back in Holland after my crazy adventure in Australia.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story I ever wrote got published for the school paper. It was a simple short story about a monkey and a hunter. I was then probably 7/8 years old. I had lots of fantasy and fantasised the story first to my brother. He loved my stories and from there I decided I wrote it down and gave it to my school. It was a simple short story but I received some positive reviews. I would say that's the start of my writing career. The story was written in my native language Dutch.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the southwest of the Netherlands in the Province Zealand. My hometown is not far away from Belgium where I have spent many good times. In my work my first novels I write about it. My books are based on my own life experience so I do my best to describe a bit about where I live and my family. My second book is close to my heart. It describes my feelings when I lost my mother when I was 15. Her death was important in my life as was the death of my dear grandma. She was my mother's mother and they were close. They both mean a lot to me. My first book was dedicated to them and I describe their death in my second novel. That one is quite personal.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This story lives in my head for quite some time and it is time to release it. I write mostly in the late afternoon with the joy of a cup of coffee. If I can't write I surf the net or play a simple game on my laptop. I write most of the times in a coffee place and feel the joy to be special while I do my best to write. People in the coffee bar are a form of inspiration to me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
For years I wanted to write my story. I did an attempt and wrote one and published it on Lulu.com. they are free and that is how I got started. I wasn't satisfied with my first script and decided to rewrite it again. I started all over. Instead of one book I want to write three books and thought I can do it in a year time. To get the time and the space I gave up my job and went on travelling to Southeast Asia. I did some research online and discovered Amazon.com is one of the best when it comes to publishing. Through Amazon I found this site and decide to give them a go too.
I published my first story as a printed book and a kindle version but it has some errors. For that reason I will republish the story again but then with a better table of contents that works.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
For the moment I am travelling through Southeast Asia. I use the time to find inspiration for new and existing work. There's a big story in my head and I slowly get it out and put it on words on my computer. I walk around read books and watch films on TV and on my computer. Being on the road it gives me plenty of time to write and find inspiration in countries I haven't been and have been before.
How do you approach cover design?
I search online for some ideas. I do my best to find a perfect image that represents my story and especially where it's based or all about. My first book is based in Sydney Australia so i created an Acrylic painting of a photo I found online and took a photo with my phone and use that as the cover of my first book.
Describe your desk
My desk is a simple coffee table in a coffee place like Starbucks. I use an Apple MacBook Air 11' to write my work and write most of the times in a coffee place. I have a cup filled with latte and sometimes I eat a little snack while I write. Most of the times I just keep it on coffee. I work and write better when i have a cup of coffee.
What are you working on next?
I busy with writing my second book. I hope to bring it out before the end of this year and the third book by the start of next year. It goes slowly but I am convinced I can write and publish two more books within a year time.
After this trilogy I hope to write many more books. I can't say how many books I will write in total. I will see how it goes. It will cost me a lot of time to write my books but in the meantime I enjoy every moment I am working on my writing and creative part of my book covers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind An adventure in Sydney Australia is my own travel adventure tale when I was in the year 2000 for a year in Australia. Under my nose a man lost a case full with money that he made through skimming his own guests in his motel. I met a guy who taught him the trick. He was a con man who lost it all through some stupidity. He trusted the wrong people and lost everything. He hoped to get it all back as I had money that time. Thanks to him I lost nearly everything but I got in return this incredible story. I started to write it down while I was in Malaysia but started for real when I bought my first computer. I made a rough script what is still around on Lulu.com but rewrote the story in the year 2015 when I went travelling for a long time. For years I had the story in my head and now I put it down on paper. It finally got published in February 2016.
What is your writing process?
I write most of the times in a coffee place. I'm a big favourite of Starbucks and spend a couple of hours drinking a coffee and work on my scripts. It's there were I created my first published book.
I find writing in a coffee place very inspirational. If I can't write I look around read whatever I find or have with me. If I don't write I surf the internet or play a few simple games on my laptop computer.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am a big fan of Ernest Hemingway, He's an important inspiration for my writing, Jack Kerouac, Michael Palin, Emily Barr, Alex Garland, Paul Theroux. These were authors who write and travel. My work is based on my own travel and personal life experience. There are other authors I do like and read their work. I am a big fan of techno thrillers (Tom Clancy) detective stories (Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell) I read a lot and carry printed books and digital books daily with me. I always have a book with me wherever I am and go. The moment I learned to read books it became slowly an addiction. Nowadays I can't live without books.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am a big fan of European comic books and grew up with the adventures of Tintin, Asterix and Lucky Luke. If it is not a comic book then I would say Science fiction stories. I am a huge Star Wars fan and love to read the many SW books.
Travel stories (fiction and non-fiction) and thick thriller books are for me a pleasure to waste my time. I read lots of them and I am a big fan of Tom Clancy.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Beach - Alex Garland, Backpack - Emily Barr, On the Road - Jack Kerouac, Fiesta (The Sun also Rises) Ernest Hemingway, The Great Railway Bazaar - Paul Theroux
These books are all about travelling and are for me a big inspiration on how to write a story that is based on my own travel and life experience. Backpack came out when I was travelling in Southeast Asia in 2000 and I saw the film The Beach when I was in Australia. The other books I read years before I went travelling and are important inspiration for my journeys.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Amazon Kindle and the iPad. I read many books nowadays online and prefer the Kindle still over the Apple iBooks app.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read all kinds of ebooks. Some are books I have read before and love to read again. Other books are fiction and non-fiction. Some books are good and some good be better but I know it's not easy to write and publish an ebook. I had enough difficulties to create a perfect working TOC on my ebook and after a few failures I finally succeeded.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I use my website, Facebook including Facebook Page and twitter. I rely a lot on my friends. I support them so I hope they support me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I already use Amazon mainly for the normal way of book publishing. I have two versions of my first book with them and a Kindle version but there are some problems with my TOC. It needs to be replaced by a better version and I found online this site and they open the door to more ebook sellers.
Published 2016-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Share Some Time With Me - Safe Journey Trilogy book 2
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 88,830. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
Share Some Time With Me is the story of two sisters Julia and Evelyn. They both want to travel to Australia but who will be first to go to their country of their dreams. What happened with Robby Henson who was a successful hostel owner. What can one ad do to someone’s life. It is a story about love, death and friendship. Will she be able to see her dream come through?
An Adventure In Sydney Australia - Safe Journey Trilogy
Series: Safe Journey Trilogy. Price: $2.49 USD. Words: 115,820. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
An adventure in Sydney Australia is about the adventurous journey of a young Dutch woman Julia Meier who gets involved in a crime that happened right under her nose when she meets Robby Henson and the mysterious Konrad a motel owner who loses a big case with money what he made by skimming his own guests in his motel. Based on a true story.