- Thea van Diepen -
The Mysterious Stranger: Welcome to The Mysterious Stranger blog, Thea van Diepen. Indie Author Tuesday is all about showcasing talent beyond the big publishing companies. However, while my identity is clouded in mystery, there's no doubt that Thea is no stranger when it comes to writing stories. Her latest book, "Like Mist Over the Eyes", is on the cusp of release, and she have already raised close to $1000 on Kickstarter to fund its physical publication. For those interested in backing Thea's book, I'll provide a link to her Kickstarter at the end of the interview. But first, let's rewind and get to know Thea first.
Why did you decide to start writing stories?
Thea: Because I thought it'd be fun. I was eleven when I made my first attempt at writing a novel. And I was so inspired by the books I was reading at the time that I wanted to write a book as cool as them that people could read, too.
The Mysterious Stranger: Interesting. It seems to be a common occurrence that authors begin writing at a young age - though I'm being very general, of course.
Which authors have inspired your own writing?
Thea: Madeleine L'Engle's books in general (especially the Time Quintet). C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and his Space Trilogy. Frank Herbert's Dune series. The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle as well as her Hainish books. And, for the only one on the list that isn't obviously sci fi or fantasy: the Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables is wonderful and I love it, but I relate more to Emily). The list might mutate a bit depending on what story I'm writing, but these are the ones at the foremost of my mind with what I've been working on lately.
Oh, I suppose the books that convinced me to start that novel when I was eleven should get a mention. Those are Vicki Blum's unicorn series. But only the first two. I disliked the third so much I refused to read the rest. Poor thing.
The Mysterious Stranger: If you could have dinner with one author - living or not - which would it be and why?
Thea: Madeleine L'Engle. I wanted to meet her so badly when I was a kid, but I wasn't sure if she'd died - I found her website and wanted to contact her, to at least tell her what her books meant to me, but I stopped myself each time. When, as a teenager, I learned that she had died, I kicked myself for not having contacted her while she was still alive.
The Mysterious Stranger: Ow. My heart. Right in the feels.
Many authors approach writing differently. Some plot, some just write, others cobble together fragments over a long period of time. What is your writing process?
Thea: Yes. I've done all of these. The shorter the story, the least prep work I tend to need (so long as I have a compelling image in my head or a feeling/thought I want to explore, I can write a story). For longer work, I've written outlines before my first drafts, but I've got some stories in progress where all the main points are in my head and the details emerge as I write.
The most important thing, for me, is to have an idea of where I'm aiming. I don't have to have the whole ending figured out (details end up changing by the time I've written the rest of the story anyways), but I do have a sense of how I want it to feel. When I have a destination, I can walk the path.
The Mysterious Stranger: You're right. The approach doesn't really matter. What matters in the end is the destination. Thea, you've done so well, but I've one final question for you.
A mysterious stranger approaches and offers you one book to read, unpublished in our universe but published in another alternate universe. Which book would you choose and why?
Thea: Oh my goodness. That is an excellent question. Oh dear. Only one.
The English translation of the Voynich Manuscript, complete with a foreword (or afterword) by the creator on why on earth they made that book. If it's actually in gibberish, then the companion book by the creator where they talk about what the heck they were thinking when making an entire book of language-like gibberish and bizarre illustrations.
Have you seen pages of that book? It's the strangest thing.
The Mysterious Stranger: I have indeed. Listened to a few podcasts about the Voynich Manuscript too! I do like mysteries. Thank you, Thea van Diepen, for your time. For those interested in learning more about Thea and her upcoming book, please visit the link below.
An outlaw battling unwelcome dreams must hold herself together amid an ancient feud between fairies and humans or else lose all hope of finding a cure for her insane unicorn. Like Mists Over the Eyes is planned for release on September 19th, 2016.
If you'd like to support Thea van Diepen, please visit her Kickstarter page.