A book store I might have mentioned a few times on this blog already would be Westerhof in Zwolle. They have two book stores there, and it is a book store I enjoy visiting. I know some of the staff though of course they always work at the other store that is not in the central shopping area of Zwolle where we often go.
Last year they organized a young adult evening where they had picked two young adult books that had to do with diversity and where we discussed the topic of diversity. This last Friday there was another young adult evening. And of course I went.
This time there was no discussion but two visiting authors who rereleased their books earlier this week. Jen Minkman and her Schaduw van de Tijd (Shadow of Time) and Vanessa Gerrits and her Zilveren Vleugels (Silver Wings), the second book in her Wings trilogy. Jen Minkman also started as a publisher a few years ago that rereleased these books. Her publishing business is called Dutch Venture Publishing.
It was a little hard taking pictures during the book presentation and workshop because of the light and my IPod. So forgive me for the quality of the few photos I do have. Luckily a friend took the picture with one of the authors so that is quite a bit better.
The night started of with Vanessa Gerrits and her telling us something about her book. Not everyone had read the first book so she did not go into it very detailed. She told us about how so many books are set in America or are based on America and so she based her world on the places around her in Belgium, like Bruxels and Aalst. I think that is great. You don’t see that too often and I think that hits a bit of familiarity with us Dutch readers that is her market.
She also showed us some fan art of the main characters which was great to see. She has drawn some art herself as well. The covers she has also created herself in photoshop which I admire her for. I have no skills for something like that. We also got to see some earlier covers and it was great to see them evolving to as they are now. The ones now do really fit the books better. Though there are two camps on the second cover. Not everyone feels that the character on the book, Max, looks like how they pictured him. I have to say I kind of agree. He looks a bit too nice. Have you read Tweedehands Vleugels? Does the Max on the cover of Zilveren Vleugels look like how you imagined him?
After this book presentation Jen Minkman started her workshop about world building. As we did not have a lot of room to write this workshop was a bit more of a summary of the workshop she usually gives for it. She however started of with showing us the logo for Dutch Venture Publishing.
The Sky is the Limit
That is what Jen had in mind when the logo was created. I quite liked that and I think the logo does show that.
I will not go through all of the workshop but just pick some things that stood out to me.
One of the things Jen mentioned was how there is a thing out there of ‘write what you know’ and how that is a shame. The great thing about being a writer is that you can write outside of the things you know. There is so much information out there for research it would be a shame to stay in that little small space of what you already know. Of course she did say that you need to realize what you aren’t able to do. I think that last one fits in very well with the diversity topic. Of course you can write poc in your book. Just don’t write a story about the troubles of being poc which is better left to a poc author.
Jen told us that she feels that the starting point to world building isn’t the setting but how the world looks through the eyes of the characters, specifically your main character. So world building isn’t just for fantasy, but contemporary as well. For instance how does snow look like to someone who comes from a very warm climate and has never seen snow before?
She also told us about her time researching for Shadow of Time which takes place in a reservation in America. She wrote the book a few years ago. But since then has visited the reservation twice. During this rewrite she was able to take out a lot of inaccuries. It was great to hear about that process.
After the workshop there was a short break where one could get their books signed and buy some lovely bookish candles from Emmy from Zon en Maan who also was present. I did not buy one of the two books that were mentioned during the night but another book by Jen Minkman that I had been meaning to read. And I asked her to sign it.
After that break we continued with the last moment of the night which was an angel quiz. This quiz would consist of 10 questions and who ever got the best score would get their name in the last book of the Wings trilogy. After the 10 questions however there were four that got 9 right including me. Woohoo. With the next question my friend got it wrong, but there were still three left so we got another question. Which I didn’t know nor did the other two. But my friend, Zwaantina did, and she loudly yanked my paper out of my hand and wrote it down for me, haha. And this is the story of how we won our names in the last book. Because of course I was honest and we would share this prize. We’re not sure how Vanessa will incorperate our names in it. If it will be a combination of our names for instance. But it is a lot of fun that this was done regardless.
I closed the night off by getting my bookmark for Tweedehands Vleugels signed by Vanessa (since I already had her book as an ebook) and taking pictures with some of the girls I knew. I had a lot of great fun and laughs Friday. It was great meeting Jen and Vanessa who are both lovely of course. And thank you to Westerhof and Evelyn who organized the night.
And the night really wouldn’t have been the same without some of the Books Ever After girls present.