Amsterdam-based author Martin Vesseur

Have you always had an urge to write?
Ever since I was 10 years old. I discovered a comic (with the text underneath) by Marten Toonder in the newspaper and that did something to me.

Is it true that good writers have to read a lot?
For me personally, the answer is “yes”. I do believe, though, that there are some a lot are inspired by their hectic lives (travelling all over the world, meeting many people, etc.).

What are your ideal writing conditions?
Solitude. That can be: 1) a room without people 2) a park or a forest 3) a situation where I am left alone (although that is my least favourite). I don’t have any other specific needs. I can write for one hour or for two days in a row, whatever time slot is available. But the key is discipline. You must be
able to put your writing first and exclude the disrupting influences and endless other things you could choose from. Banish keuzestress. ‘No’ is a vital word.

You started out with short stories. Can you remember the first one you published?
I do remember my first story called “You Don’t See Many Women These Days” being published. But from the moment I took my writing seriously: “Burning Neil Armstrong” and “Babyface Junkie” in 2002. I had reached a point in my life as an advertising creative where I realised I was only doing stuff on behalf of others and nothing genuinely creative myself (few advertising types do). I wanted to do something autonomous without deadlines, the need to earn or any other pressures. I wanted to be creative in its purest form: to tell short stories on paper just for the story’s sake.

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