Featured Author of the Month- September 2021 Peter D’Hollander

Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Author Interview

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?
    The EarthSea trilogy of Ursula LeGuin. I generally dislike books with magic, but this one always made me dream of a world where magic didn’t always solve everything – but cause its fair share of issues as well.
    Maybe this is one of the reasons why I added a magic system in my book. It doesn’t solve everything, but it’s another tool in the box to use.
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite?
    I write too fast. Once a teacher told me that I could write the most beautiful text if only I wrote slower. Thoughts things through. Chose the correct words. I once wrote a non-fiction book (about a software package I had never used before – Adobe Premiere Pro) in 10 days flat. I was lucky enough to have the software itself (of course) and the internet could always help me out – but that was… Murdering. I was dead tired after those 10 days.
    The sad thing is that I write  (and don’t think things true) as fast when I create fiction books. I learned that the hard way to slow that down. And edit. So, nowadays, I edit and edit and edit and… I edit once more. Maybe that’s where my new Kryptonite sits. I can’t let a story go before I find it perfect and flawless. Except – and you all know the drill – no story is exactly as what you saw in your mind. I need to let go of things and take a distance. In the last editing round of my book, for example, I still wanted to make large changes. I had to stop myself from doing that.
  3. Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
    I couldn’t name one author. I guess it’s the Rhetoric Askew Publishing family. I’ve met some awesome authors, there. If there is anything I learned from them, then it’s to write with passion and to keep on writing. We can do it. You can do it.
    No matter which dream your pursue, the one thing that is important is not to let others keep you from that. If they say chances are small you ever get published (more so in a language that isn’t your own) then they are probably correct – statistics wise. It just doesn’t say a single thing about what you can achieve. Remember that when you’re out there, fighting for your dream.
    Just remember that everyone can fall. It’s quite a different story for those that rise and fall again. That takes courage. And perseverance.
  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
    Keep writing fiction. I have never stopped writing (I have 45 non-fiction books published in Belgium and the Netherlands), but I stopped writing fiction for almost twenty years because I was too busy writing non-fiction. And while that’s a far easier entrance into the publishing world, it’s different, too. As one of my students once asked me when I told my class I wrote a book on the subject of what we were studying at the time: “And when does your real book get published?”
  2. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
    My debut fiction novel is my book 46. So, it really didn’t change my writing process. I knew I had something publishable, I just had to find a way to get it published and Rhetoric Askew Publishing gave me that chance. They saw a possibility and shaped a very rough diamond into what it is today. I learned to spot some of the flaws I didn’t see earlier (I hope, though I also know that most writers – if not all – keep repeating their first mistakes over and over again). Actually, if anything, you write and rewrite and do that again. At least ten times over. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between fiction and non-fiction: the rewrite. You don’t always rewrite stuff when you write non-fiction. If anything (and I’m in a position to compare), non-fiction is a much easier world to break into. Really.
  3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?
    Buying more books. I have a collection of comic books (Belgium is well known for its comic books: think Tintin, the Smurfs, etc…). I have around 3.500 of them and part of the money I made as a non-fiction author, went into that. But with my fiction book, I want to do things differently, though I secretly have some dreams, of course. Like buying a Chevrolet Corvette (my dream car). Not that it ever happens, but a man got to dream, I guess.
  4. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
    A Dragon, for sure. I’m born in 1964 – the year of the dragon. It’s the only mythical beast in the Chinese zodiac and I can’t help but often feel out of place. I’m an introvert, probably high sensitive, too, who looks at the world in a slightly different way. I’m not normal in that sense (have been told that once in a while as well).
  5. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
    I’m presently working on part two of Children of Little Might (Children of Little Fight), have another book that’s sitting on my shelf (but needs a rewrite) and have at least three or four more fantasy novels (barely started or never finished) and the same with at least as many Science-fiction books.
  6. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
    The first book I ever read (we talk about it later) pulled me right into a world I was eager to reside in. I guess that was what mattered to me: creating a believable world with characters (however flawed) you could love living adventures you would otherwise run away from. I never thought I would write them myself that many years later, but back then I looked at awe at the way the author sculpted and painted her (historic) world with nothing else but words. I wasn’t yet thinking of doing it myself (that came on the age of 13, but that’s a story on its own), but it drew me right in. My teacher read the first chapter out loud in class and at the end of that chapter he said: if you want to know the rest, you have to read it on your own. And I did. I kept on reading, too, after that book.
  7. How do you select the names of your characters?
    Names generally come to me (first names, that is, I don’t always mind so much about last names) when I make up the character. In Children of Little Might I picked names with a specific meaning (because Monty knows what they mean). So, I went hunting online in several baby name sites that not only give you the names, but explain where they come from, too. I start with what I’m looking for generally and then try to land there as close to as possible.
  8. What is your favorite childhood book?
    The first book I ever read. It’s a Dutch book, but it’s translated: Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman. It’s about a boy who travels through time and arrives at the Children’s crusade (a historic thing, apparently – it did happen and was meant to sell a whole bunch of kids off into slavery).

Authors’s Bio

Born on the third rock of the Sol solar system, called Earth, Peter D’Hollander is a Tech Writer by day, a blogger (in a foreign language) by night and a Young Adult Fantasy writer all moments in between. For as long as he remembers, he creates worlds he one day hopes to live in. Not because they are so perfect – they are probably as flawed as ours and equally marred with little imperfections and twists, but because they accept the craziness that inhabits the author. Not that they have another choice. Nevertheless, he inhabits his worlds with characters you hopefully fall in love with and sends them on the adventures he enjoys to read himself.

He started to write at the age of 13 because he couldn’t do sports for three months. And what else do you do when you sit in a study all alone while your colleagues have fun outside? You sit and you write. Stories set in the Star Wars and EarthSea universes. Still, some claim he wrote his first story when he was told to write his first essay at the age of six. He wrote: The chicken leaks. He never won any rewards for that and people didn’t even understand it, until he explained them and he told a story of a chicken that got shot. Hence, she leaked.

He quickly learned non-fiction was the fastest route to publication, so he wrote books on IT subjects, such as games, spam, Office and several other tools available at the time. In between 1998 and 2007 he wrote 45 IT-related books in a foreign language, of which one even got translated into Italian. But his real love was fiction – science fiction and fantasy.

When he first met people on the spectrum – long before he even knew how it was called – he wrote his first story on the subject. But it was not until he met a boy and a girl – a brother and sister – that he delved deeper into what autism was and how it affected people. While the boy accepted he was on the spectrum and felt it finally explained why he did the things he did, the girl didn’t want to accept it. One day she flat out said it would never make her happy; more so since people called her handicapped. And she wasn’t.

During his youth the author struggled with his own image of weirdness. Finally accepting that, he wanted to create a story for those children in which autism played a large part. He didn’t want to focus on the issues – everyone else does that already – but he wanted a positive story; in which they learned that autism has its limitations, but also offers possibilities.

Today the author lives and writes in a little town at the other side of the pond together with his wife, his three kids and a cat with a troublesome character. Born a few years before the Landing on the Moon, his biggest flaw is that you find more secrets hidden in his stories than you truly want to know about (including the name of the city he lives in).

Like dragons, he has a vivid imagination – so vivid that he more than once heard he had too much of it. He never buckled and that resulted in Children of Little Might, a book about a boy with autism who discovers that with a few friends who believe in you, you can do anything. He learns he doesn’t have to change to make friends because friendship has nothing to do with change, but everything to do with accepting the other for who he is.

Book cover: Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Five years ago, Montague ‘Monty Hill’ Glupie, a sixteen-year-old boy with autism and a penchant for languages, found a book that promised to grant his every wish once he translates it. He has two: return his father and get rid of his autism.

Today he planned to translate the last sentence, but instead Monty ended up in his high-school principal’s office after he broke a bully’s arm. With punishment just around the corner and no other way out, Monty escapes from his high-principal’s he sees no other exit, he escapes from his office and heads to his family’s ranch house to translate the last sentence.

Finally ready for his wishes, Monty hesitates. What if it isn’t real? What if his high-school principal plays yet another game? He settles for an impossible wish; for the princess of the book he translated. He calls her his Paper Girl and he wants her to fall in love with him.If she appears, wishes get granted. If she likes him, magic exists and if she falls in love with him, miracles happen.

Yet, no one comes. Disappointed and lost, Monty goes home and returns to school the next day to face another horrible day. It goes from bad to worse until a new girl arrives; Aislinn. Is this his Paper Girl? And what does she see in a boy who has but one friend? It’s the start of an adventure that takes him to a kingdom in another world where he lands himself in hot water when he fights his own high-school principal. He can win, and maybe find first love, but will he accept that his autism might be his ‘superpower’?

Blurb

What happens when a boy with autism finds a book that promises his every wish once he translates it? It lands him in hot water as he tries to defend his Paper Girl’s kingdom. Will Monty believe his autism might well turn out to be his ‘superpower’?

Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Katherine E. Soto’s Book Review

Children of the Little Might by Peter D’Hollander

Monty is an unusual character; He is a teen age boy who has been told he has autism.  He wants to be normal. To top off all his own problems, Monty wants his dad to not be dead.  He decides to wish for things to be different.  He wants to be normal, he wants his friend who is in a wheelchair to be able to walk, he wants his Dad to be alive, but instead, when given the chance to make a wish, he wishes up his Paper Girl.

This book is written from Monty’s point of view.  Monty has a different way of seeing the world because he is part of the broad spectrum diagnosed Autism world.  The author does an excellent job of staying within Monty’s viewpoint throughout the book.  It provides a fascinating look at another person’s viewpoint of the world and their wish to escape what is happening to them. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good YA adventure to read.

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