By Amber Bell
How do you answer the question, “Oh, you’re an author? What do you write?”
“I don’t like to be defined to a genre. Give my stuff a read, but of course if I have to say, then I’d say Horror or Science Fiction.”
How would you describe your writing to someone not familiar with your work?
I might describe my writing as a group of ideas, all lined up in my head and the one that screams the loudest at me is given a chance to live.
Which of your characters would you like to have as a best friend and why?
Elizabeth Huxley from Nether. I met her at a very turbulent time in my life and would like to find out how she’s doing these days. We haven’t been in touch much.
If you had to switch places with one of your characters for a week who would you chose and why?
Probably Louie in Tainted. He has lived a long life and it would be interesting to hear of his experiences.
Which of your characters has been the most difficult to write and why?
Susan Huxley, Elizabeth’s mom in Nether. She turned out to be quite a dark mother figure which I could not relate to, but still had to write about. She kind of demanded it.
Would you say your writing style is more character driven or plot driven?
More plot driven. But I hope to become a more balanced writer as time passes.
Which of your books did you have to do the most research for? What does your research process look like?
I had to research a bit into policing for Nether but usually my books are highly fictionalized.
Do you have any set rules for yourself about how or when to write?
Yes, if I decide to start a new project I try to write every day until the first draft is completed.
What helps spark your imagination when writer’s block hits or you’re just looking for a new idea?
Usually a nice long walk in some secluded area.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
I think discipline is the most important part you must come to terms with if you want to write. You must persuade yourself to sit down and write something every day, even if you don’t feel like it, even if it’s just 50 words.
I agree with what you said in the article you wrote titled “Creativity” (click here for link) where you said that creativity in any form is a doorway into yourself. So, what have you learned about yourself from your writing?
I am a better person when I write. It’s an amazing experience to have a clear idea in your head and an equally clear drive to get that idea on paper. It focuses you and for at least a little while, blocks out the static from the outside world.
What age were you when you got into reading horror novels? Which books or movies had first kindled your interest in the genre?
When I think about it now I was about eleven when I first read Goosebumps from R.L. Stine. And when I was about the same age I used to watch the Outer Limits. After that I have been fascinated by the supernatural and the unanswered questions of our existence. I still mainly only watch science fiction or horror movies. I’m quite adamant that a movie or book must keep you guessing, and I’ve always found that in Horror and its overlapping genres.
Do you remember the first book that truly scared you?
That would have to be “Night of the Living Dummy” in the above-mentioned Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and how different is the reality from what you had expected?
I think the idea of writing has always been there, because I was always writing stuff down when I was younger. The thought of writing novels came to me just after graduating from high school. The reality of being a writer is a rollercoaster journey, seeing that writing is something I truly hold close to heart. There are times when I wonder if I really could call myself a writer and times that I absolutely know that I am. It’s about confidence, a lot like so many matters in life.
With self-publishing being an option, what made you choose to publish with TouchPoint Press?
I wanted to reach the widest possible audience and I knew that a publisher would make that a lot easier.
What are you currently working on?
A couple of short stories because of my hectic day time schedule but hopefully another longer story in the near future.
When can we expect your next release?
Hopefully next year.
What amazes you the most about your life?
I have a beautiful family that I’m very grateful for, more and more everyday. To have people that truly love you in life is pretty amazing. It’s surely something all of us search for in our time here.
Tell me a random fact about yourself.
I have a strong interest in astronomy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
“I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.”
Books by Sean Van Der Wath