As you know i recently read and reviewed Depraved Desires published by HellBound Books Publishing. It’s was an amazing book and included several authors I had not met nor read before. There was one that stood out from the rest. The last story in the anthology by a man named Jaap Boekestein. So I set off trying to find out who he was and if he had written other books because I had to have more of his stories in my life. It took me awhile to find him (because I’m a dork and was spelling his name wrong) but I sure am glad that was corrected and there he was. Somehow he saw my review of Depraved Desires and sent me a message and told me he was glad I loved it. That became and instant friendship and I have enjoyed getting to know him and talking with him. He has an amazing sense of humor that I love and is incredibly smart. I am a luck girl! If you haven’t read anything by him you need to immediately. I can’t recommend it enough! Please take some time and read one of his stories you will not be sorry you did! Please help me welcome Jaap Boekestein to Roadie Notes…….
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I think I must have been around twelve. Back then I was a big fan of the science fiction and fantasy writer Jack Vance and of course I imitated his style. Poorly, I might add. I wrote purely for fun until I discovered there were Dutch and Flemish science fiction competitions and magazines. “Hey, I can do that better!” I thought. Of course my stories were pretty awful, but I kept going on and story by story I learned to write.
The fun remained, but now I had the ambition to be published. My first story appeared in a Flemish SF-zine back in 1989. My first English language publication was 1992 but since 2015 I mainly write in English. The Dutch market was never big, but now almost has ceased to exist (Not my fault!). Apparently I do something right, because I get published English pretty regularly by now.
So if some Dutch guy can do it…
2. How many books have you written?
Five fantasy novels in Dutch, a bit in the style of the Cugel-stories of Jack Vance and Sword-stories by Fritz Leiber. A children’s book, a few novella’s and anthologies, and around three hundred stories. Three of my novels are about three half sisters, dancing-girls, who try to make a living in a city full of evil wizards, corrupt officials, criminal lowlife and monsters.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Well, I can’t think of any subject I won’t at least mention in a story, but I wouldn’t be comfortable writing a story focusing on pedophilia or incest. Those are definitely two areas I am not interested as a writer to explore. I guess there a few more, but I don’t really have a list.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc...
Ha ha, I’m born in 1968, you can do the math yourself. No wife, no kids, no pets. I have good friends who are pretty liberal about relationships, as am I. Writing I do strictly for fun, currently I make a living as a civil servant doing things with computers.
I live in the ancient town of The Hague and I can see the North Sea from my living room.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I have no favorite. If I choose one, the other buggers will haunt me.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Like I said, first I wanted to write like Jack Vance, later on I added Fritz Leiber, Clark Ashton Smith, Tanith Lee and Dutch writer Robert van Gulik (Detective stories set in ancient China) to the list. As a starting writer you’re influenced by everything. I think that almost thirty years I managed to find my own voice.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Well, writing! Taking pictures, friends, movies, museums (we have lots of them) and exploring a few alternative lifestyles. Oh, and listening to life jazz and blues.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
I am more a short story writer, but I have a few traditions during and after writing. I can write everywhere, but I prefer to start early (8 am) in a coffeehouse (no, not a coffee shop), drink cappuccinos, eat cake, look at the waitresses and write. After lunch I usually meet friends or do something else. Of course that’s only in the weekends and on my day off.
When the story is finished I sent it off to my proof readers and move on to the next. Basically I have a list of interesting calls for submission and I just start with the next one I find interesting. It is a pretty structured routine by now.
O, and the traditional sacrifice of a virgin, of course.
They don’t have to be virgins.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
I need noise. This can be music, but it is usually people talking, kids shouting, babies crying, the hordes from Hell singing my praise (Maybe that’ one is only my mind). Every writer I know has his or own thing, but I try to be as flexible as possible. I once was the PA for Terry Pratchett for a weekend on a Dutch fantasy festival. He really could write anytime, everywhere. I try to do the same. It certainly helps to write lots and lots of stuff.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I would love to have the patience to write full length novels. The five novels I have done, are mosaic novels, so each chapter is basically a short story. I tried writing real novels a zillion times, but I usually get bored around 20.000 words.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
To live forever. No, I’m not kidding. With enough time I can do or become anything I want. So gimme a mind and body that keeps going forever and I promise to bake you the ultimate chocolate cake. Deal?
12. Where do you live?
On the seventh floor (The way the British count) of a grey tower in the wind-swept town of The Hague, city of the Peace Palace, the international court and some pretty interesting clubs.
My lady friends objects to be called that by me. And no, they are definitely not my pets. I have some bunny ears somewhere, that is the closest thing I have for a pet.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Except the cappuccinos, cake and flirting with waitresses it is getting in the reader’s mind and fucking him or her up. Like most writers I am sadist (a sweet one) and I love to toy with my readers. Get them scared, mad, or aroused.
15. What is coming next for you?
More stories. I have to finish an undead steampunk story about a black lesbian lady with a brass arm. I guess that will be two or three days work. There is a body horror story I want to write, and a Cthulhu story. A shapeshifter erotic story and a gay superhero story. And a music horror story. I guess that will keep me busy the next two months. After that… I have this idea about a horror novel with lots of kinky sex and demons, but suspect that won’t make it past the 20.000 words… 😦
16. What kind of things do you write?
Well science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, erotica and whatever I find interesting. I tried things like children’s books and YA, but I find them to limiting. I don’t like continuously asking myself if what I write is suitable for the reader.
I do write horror, but unlike most horror writers, I don’t get scared (That’s a long and nasty story). So actually for me it pretty difficult to know if something is scary. Luckily my proof readers – bless their little bleeding hearts – can feel fear. If they say things like “You evil, evil bastard!” I know I am on the right track. A “Woohoo!” is also a good indicator, but usually of something else.
Thank you for the interview. I love to portray myself as witty, experienced writer with an interesting live. And to mess around with readers, of course.
Some of Japp Boekenstine’s books: