Interview with Diny van Kleeff

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember my first decent story - at school during my A levels, I wrote a story around the folk song, 'Oh My Darling Clementine' - it was a ghost story and split the song into sentences that the characters spoke. What was significant about this story is that when my teacher handed it back, he put his hand on my shoulder and said to me "Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't write."
Those words stayed with me. Thank you Mr OW.
Describe your desk
My desk is pistachio-green and shaped like a jellybean and was designed by me and my father for a training company that I ran - I now have 3 of these in my house and they are wonderful to sit at.
I have a large crystal that sparkles in the sun, my beloved filofax and a ton of paperwork on my desk. And sometimes a cat.
My dog is always on the floor beneath my desk or on the sofa behind me.
What is your writing process?
I write between home educating my two younger children and trawling my teenager to her various different activities and feeding all her friends who I periodically have to evict from my office (I actually have a sign on my door that says no teens and no sleeping in my office - a necessary step I had to take).
I have no routine, nowhere is quiet (my teen plays in a rock band - they rehearse at my house - a lot - it is loud).
My younger children play violin and piano - they practise at the same time - different songs, that is also loud.
My dog is mad and barks at birds in the garden - also loud.
I get the feeling I am now ranting. My life is LOUD, crazy and inconsistent, but somehow I manage to write around it and it inspires me - I love it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wanted to bring some of my obsessions together into a really interesting story - the sort of story that I would love to read (I love teen fiction). These were: fairies, ufos, future technology, the paranormal, conspiracy theories and the early Spiritualist and Theosophist movements.
I began with Arthur Conan Doyle's embarrassing incident with the Cottingley fairy photographs in 1917-1920, the UFO landing at Roswell in 1947 and the amazing fairy doors located around Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then I created my characters - a trio of ordinary girls who are inquisitive and open-minded enough not to take everything they see at face-value. They are assisted by an archeaology student (I love archaeology) and a couple of American guys who research fairy phenomena (who, in my mind, look a lot like Sam and Dean from Supernatural!).
Somehow, in my very strange mind, this became a cohesive story about evolution and whether or not, the human race is equiped to handle the truth - whatever that may be.
How do you approach cover design?
I approach a cover designer!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read everything; cereal packs, signs, instruction manuals, small print.... it all provides inspiration. Two of the stories that really stand out in my mind are: a weird book called Rebecca's World by Terry Nation, with the most crazy illustrations - it's actually quite twisted and scary but fabulously imaginative and Carbonel, King of the Cats by Barbara Sleigh.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
A Passage to India by EM Forster - I studied it for A Level and it's language gripped me.
Rebecca's World by Terry Nation - my Dad bought if for me and I stared at the pictures for hours as well as reading it.
The Source by James Mitchener - I have read all of Mitchener's epics and I love the multi-generation stories and historical themes of his books - Space is another favourite.
All the books by Tess Gerritsen - never disappointing, always a gripping read.
A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett - set in a time that is completely alien to us now, I was drawn into the world of Sara Crewe everytime I read this book as a child.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got really bored of the lack of information given about what literary agents want you to send them and slightly crazy that I was spending all my time trying to get stuff in the right format (and guessing what that should be) to send to them that I decided it would be better to spend the time writing.
I would still like an agent to publish me - the business side of being an author is a mine-field!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I am home-educating my children, driving them to activities, cooking for the hordes of teenagers that seem to believe they live at my house, washing my husband's gi (martial arts outfits - he has a lot - he is obsessed), attending poetry readings, researching things (everything really - I like research) and hanging out in haunted buildings.
What do you read for pleasure?
At the moment I am reading novels by Tess Gerritsen and Lucinda Riley and also books on the spiritist movement of the early 1900s and Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.
When did you first start writing?
I first started to take my writing seriously about five years ago - I'm now waiting for everyone else to take it seriously too :-)
Published 2017-09-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Freen: The First Truth
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,720. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
What if everything you knew about human evolution was turned on its head? 14 year-old Gem loses her amber necklace at her boarding school, in the sleepy, English sea-side town of Eastbourne, she and friends Lana and Nooshi try to retrieve the precious, family heirloom, but it draws them into a world of alien conspiracies and cover-ups as old as mankind.