I get often asked this question: Are you working on something new? They are really asking me if I am working on a new book. Often I simply answer: no. This isn’t quite true.
Actually I am always creating new material. A new column is published each week. It is translated into English and I check the translation. In order to write these columns I keep tabs on a wide range of papers and news sites.
For example, last Tuesday, I watched the BBC live feed on the internet for all news regarding William and Kate’s forthcoming marriage. It also enables me to keep Aunt Ted, aged 84, informed about the latest developments.
Besides I teach a creative writing course. The main advantage is that it brings me in contact with other people. We normally end up in a pub. It gives me inspiration because you hear many different voices. When I teach a personal master class, I can properly shape this voice.
I regularly perform. This is quite an endeavour. My mother aged 86 would comment: ‘And he irons his own shirts!’
Very occasionally, in between all these activities, I get inspiration for a poem. Apart from this I read a lot. Yet you still haven’t got your answer to the question if I am working on a new novel.
In my debut novel King of Tuzla (which was first published in Dutch in 1999), the leading character takes his leave of an environment. Ten years later, the principal character in my latest novel Angel, also breaks with his surroundings. Of course this relates to me.
My latest novel is being translated into English. As the author I am an integral part of this process.
At the moment I am still in the middle of a change of scenery. Not until the present has become the past can I move on to a new book. However in my mind, the writing process has started quite some time ago.