First, I've delayed my short story collection release as I search for proofreader. I'll have a post soon about my experience and some thoughts on hiring an editor. Moving on. I'd like to introduce you to Noortje de Graaff, another rising star who entered the Write While you Wait contest.
Noortje lives in the Netherlands with her brother and parents, in a city near Amsterdam. When she was a child she was diagnosed with dyslexia. In case you don't know dyslexia is a disorder that causes the brain to not recognize certain symbols. Many people with dyslexia have above average intelligence but have trouble reading. Noortje was encouraged to read by her father. Due to the enormous amount of books she read and still reads, she doesn't have very much trouble. It also resulted in a love for language (especially English) and books. Because of her parents' love for English books and series, she and her brother have spoken English nearly all their lives.
Connect with Noortje on twitter at @Lordkiwii or on her blog.
Q: Tell us about your writing experience.
I first started writing longer stories when I was nine years old. I still remember showing my father the first few pages of what would become my first manuscript. At first my parents didn’t believe I wrote it and thought I had copied it from one of my Goosebumps books, a series I was obsessed with at that time.
I finished the story within a year and came back to it when I was thirteen to revise it. I rediscovered my passion for words and started another book, this time in English. It evolved into a fantasy series of three books. Currently I’m editing the first book and writing on the ending of the third.
I had sent the manuscript to several publishers and agents and got rejected every time. One agent said that she loved the idea, but didn’t find the story as compelling as she hoped it would be. I stopped sending the story and decided to do some mayor editing.
Shortly after the rejections I spend a year in England to improve my skill of the language. I began to realize how foolish I had been in sending it out WAY too soon. Even now, editing and changing the story for the third time I find some hilarious mistakes.
I’ve written another fantasy story with the help of NaNoWriMo and have been exploring some other genres and trying my hand on some more serious subjects, but have stuck mostly to fantasy.
I hope to be finished with my edits within a few months and will be sending out letters to agents again in the summer.
Q: What authors are you inspired by?
The Dutch author Thea Beckman inspired me because her books made me realize how much freedom you can have with creating your own stories; twisting history or creating events that will change the future.
J.K. Rowling because her books have been my companions throughout my childhood and she made me care for character like I never had before. She made me realize the important of good fleshed out characters.
And J.R.R. Tolkien made me realize how important it is to create the history of the world and to know as much about is as you can to create a wonderful and realistic story.
Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
I never really had one favorite book. But as a series I loved Harry Potter the most.
Q: What is your most played song on your iPod or MP3 player.
I’m not sure because I recently managed to delete all my songs but I think at the moment Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself or Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars – Safe and Sound, because I’m obsessed with those songs.
Q: If you were a reality TV show, describe briefly what the show would be about.
Haha that’s a good one. Probably about my studies in Amsterdam, my friends and family but mostly about my writing and trying to publish something. But I doubt it would be very interesting to watch.
Q: We've established or are establishing that I'm obsessed with breakfast food. Are you a pancake or waffles person? Why?
Pancakes. We never really eat many waffles and although I like them, they are too filling especially for breakfast. In the Netherlands it’s unusual to eat pancakes for breakfast (we eat them for dinner) but I’ve tried it when I was in the USA and I really enjoyed them! And it’s about the only food I’m good at making.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018