Q & A
Q: Did you really experience the things you write about in your novels?
A: The books are to a large extend based on things that really happened although I did not always experience it personally and they did not necessarily happen in the same place or at the same time.
Q: The Filipinos are not always depicted in the most positive way; why is that?
A: Of course a novel is always exaggerating certain thing and my novel is no exception. Having said that an independent observer might occasionally get the impression that some negative traits are over-developed in the Filipino nation. Compared to other nations, Filipinos are often less reliable, trustworthy and laborious. This is possibly also one of the reasons why the country is lagging behind compared to other Asian nations.
Q: you are Dutch, live in the Philippines, and write about Filipino issues. Do you consider yourself a Filipino writer or a Dutch writer?
A: Neither nor. I have been away from Holland so long, that the country has become more or less alien to me. But I am not a Filipino writer either; I am too critical of certain aspects of Filipino culture to be considered a loyal Filipino author. If I have to answer, I would probably say that I am a European writer, heavily influenced by English and Scandinavian fellow-writers.
Q: Who are the writers you are most inspired by?
A: That is a difficult question: There are loads of really good, yet unknown, English novelists I enjoyed reading and who certainly had an influence on me. But most recently I enjoyed the works of Scandinavian writers, such as Jussie Adler Olsen, Stieg Larsson and of course Henning Mankell. I love their flowing, straightforward, down-to-earth style, so different from for example the mainstream American novels, that are simply a tat too bombastic and unrealistic.
Q: Do you consider yourself a critical writer or more a story teller?
A: I think I try to combine both. I consider telling a good story as being very important. After all; if the story is badly told, who cares reading it? But I also try to get into critical issues. For example the quartet "Nothing is what it seems" not only touches on certain flaws in Filipino society, it also highlight the corruption that permeates its government and its citizen.
Q: Once the last book of the quartet "Nothing is what it seems" is published, can we expect more books about the Philippines?
A: Well, one should never say never, but I do not plan it at this point in time. I am laying the foundations for a contemporary international crime novel and for a historic novel, taking place in 18th century Europe. I also hope one day to finish the script for a feature film, called “Rien Ne Va Plus”. I already did the script for a short movie with the same name, and have the script for the feature more or less ready in my head; now I just have to find time to write it all down.