Writing is imagining

My first blog. I’m so excited to take you for a ride.
708731_fe83a83006a64f209fb14d3a11c2b8c9mv2Let me tell you why and what I write. A big part of my life has always been about
reading and writing. I read books to nourish my imagination. As a child, I devoured books. Stories, taking you away to different spaces and if you were lucky making you soar. I remember the first time, I must have been six or seven, when a story brought a lump to my throat: listening to my mother reading Andersen’s fairy tale to me; my heart ached when the prince did not recognise the mermaid who rescued him. I flew with Jonathan Livingston Seagull and swooned with the sisters of Little Women. Anne of Green Gables was
also a favourite and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five… Since those early days, I read as often and as much as I can.

708731_e7ec45f5c88d476d85010f68b6d30904mv2Writing to me is a like acting, dreaming, or travelling: you visit places in your mind or in person, and emerge richer and wiser from these experiences. Writing is imagining what it feels like in the soul of another person.

In 1990, I drove with my love Michael, each in an old Peugeot, from The Hague through the Sahara to Niger. It planted a seed in my mind, to write about a woman daring to venture where no man had been, a hundred years ago. In Alexine, first published in 2010, I sketched a portrait of nineteenth century adventurer Alexine Tinne, who crossed the Sahara on camels, bringing along her dog, her wrought iron bed, boxes full of fine china and cases filled with books.

In my new book, Het Suikervogeltje, coming out in March 2017, I want to show the Dutch people in the 17th century Cape, the first Afrikaners, not only with negative associations of dominance and racism, but also as heroic figures: risk takers, creative, daring, driven and faced by challenges. The story is about a Dutch orphan girl arriving in South Africa.

My third novel, Under the Lucky Bean Tree, deals with the role of Epigenetics in two generations in South Africa, during the Anglo Boer War and one hundred years later: how the circumstances in which parents and the previous generations live can have an effect on the genes of their offspring.

Socrates said that all knowledge is possessed by the soul and it’s just a matter of remembering it. My passion is to bring back to life long forgotten people, using fragrances, colours and sounds. To breathe back life of ordinary people into the skeleton of recorded events (Andrea Levy). I want to make history accessible. I want to stir the soul and I hope that one day someone feels a connection to the story and has been touched by what I have written.

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