Interview with Anton van den Berg

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in rural South Africa - before the Internet was invented - where you had to walk to either the town library, or make sure that you found the school library open. If not one of these, then you were without something to read. That prompts you to write stories for yourself. That I think is where my desire to write unique stories was born.
When did you first start writing?
High school. I was amazed by some of the books that I was able to read - Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE (13 December 1906 – 16 December 1996) was one of the persons that could describe a scene in such vivid detail that you could smell the grass, feel the wind on your skin. Wow, how could you read something like that and not try to emulate it? That is where I started to write.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a love story I wrote for a girl that was way out of my league. Looking back it was shallow and sentimental, but she LOVED it, and that is all I cared about.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When a story starts surprising me... I start with a main concept and then I explore around it. The first explorations are somewhat predictable, but then all of a sudden the story takes on a life of itself. It starts driving you, it starts questioning assumptions and statements that you have already made. That is when I enjoy writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My stories often emerge from a single question. In Amanda's case, that question was - What would it be like if two souls lived in one body? While exploring what this would be like, I discovered that men (vast generalization to follow) are predominantly task orientated. This meant that they would not harbor significant emotions about a situation like this. That meant that the main character(s) in the story had to be female. I can tell you that trying to capture female emotions accurately is a massively difficult task. In that a challenge emerged that changed the writing of the book into an epic journey for me personally.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't think that I have fans. I believe that the people that read my stories enjoy escaping this world using the same tool-sets I use. They may be removed in body, but in spirit, we are similar enough to be friends, cohorts or spiritual family. The sharing and caring that occurs between us is a supernatural bond. It is like we share something that we cannot explain, understand or even communicate.
What are you working on next?
I already have a new book planned, but this time around I would love to have a small group of people involved with shaping it. We are all unique, have different insights and life experiences that shape who we are and how we react to the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am a father with many responsibilities. This does not allow me submit a manuscript a 100 times before I get someone to publish it. Secondly, I find the Indie Author experience stimulating as it taxes you on so many levels. You genuinely have to be proficient at 3 or 4 different disciplines to get the book published and marketed.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have quite a few but I adore Herman Charles Bosman, Sir Laurens Jan van der Post and Wilbur Smith (South Africans to be proud of); Eric Van Lustbader, Isaac Asimov, Erich von Däniken, Maya Angelou and Frank Herbert. Yes, I know it's all over the place in terms of genre, but remember the small town thing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am a husband and a father. I know that you will not believe me but everybody in my house insists on eating every day, they insist on sleeping inside a house every night. That drives you out of bed to get out there and provide. Once I am up, I realize just what a privilege it is to inhale, exhale, to live. After that I attack my day with everything I have in the hope that I would make a difference, a contribution, make them proud.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I still have a day job as a proramme manager in the IT industry. It is exacting and taxing work that allows me to "free up" creative space in my mind. I love it as it allows me to "create" systems and solutions to tangible problems. Yes, I know, I just enjoy building things that did not exist before, I just use different tools to achieve that goal - working & writing.
Describe your desk
I am a pretty neat person, and therefore my desk is a ordered, structured working environment. I get easily distracted and I have to keep things tidy to keep my attention where it belongs - the story.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No not really. I remember the first time I read something that was overwhelmingly beautiful. It was Laurens van der Post's The seed and the sower. I did not know that words on a page could be that powerful. I have not stopped searching to find similar writing in others or aspire to write to that level.
How do you approach cover design?
I try en capture some emotion in the book, or I try to convey 'n general feeling of where the book will take you.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Isaac Asimov - Caves of steel - The imagination of this man is breathtaking, his vision in the 1950's still outreach people today
Erich von Däniken - Chariots of the Gods? - i was young and impressionable... This book sparked the whole aliens are to blame for everything movement
Eric Van Lustbader - No not the Borne series - The Nicholas Linnear series - Fascinating writing about the Japanese culture and how it is exposed to the western world
Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - The funniest philosophy book I ever read, truly entertaining
Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Funny, ridiculous and science fiction...
What do you read for pleasure?
Pure escape - science fiction, action, drama, adventure and comedy. Anything I can lay my hands on. Never know what is the next book to blow my mind, who wrote it and where it comes from.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Published 2018-08-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 34,280. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: July 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
This is a story that you have never heard of before, never thought of and it will stretch your imagination and perception of yourself. Are we ever completely in harmony with ourselves, or our environment and the events that occur with us? Life's beauty is reflected in opposites. Is it only through heartbreak that we can appreciate joy?