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My interview with Jen Minkman

Publié par Léatitia

Hi everyone !

These past few weeks, I had the great pleasure to start a dystopian trilogy. It was not my first dystopian series, so I believe I know what I'm talking about. . So when I say Jen Minkman's trilogy is amazing and refreshing, I really mean it. It's two novellas and one novel and I really enjoyed the two novellas. I was looking for something different from what I read and The Island really intrigued me. I was not disappointed ! I hope you had a look at my previous review of The Island and The waves. Now I'm glad to talk to you about Jen Minkman through this little interview.


Who is Jen Minkman? (From Goodreads)


Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English and Dutch at a secondary school in The Hague, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication. In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.



1) First question, how did you know you wanted to become a writer? Is there a story behind it? 

From a young age, I loved reading and writing. I couldn’t stop coming up with stories of my own, and I didn’t even consciously think about writing them down for others – I wrote them for me. That changed when I finished writing a publishable story for the first time, though. I decided to send my manuscript to several publishers in Holland, got a book deal , and that’s how the ball started rolling. I wanted to share my work with the rest of the world too, so I translated my own book and self-published Shadow of Time (my debut novel) in December 2012.

2) What things about being a writer do you think are the most challenging ? The greatest ?

The most challenging thing is to stay ‘in the flow’ once you’re rolling with an idea. I have tons of ideas, but I have to be in a certain mood to do my best writing. And since I don’t write for a living (I  teach at a secondary school in The Hague), I have to balance between focusing on my daytime job and ‘spending time’ with my books.



3) Do you have a special habit when you write, something you have to do in order to focus for example? What could you advise to a budding writer?

I write best when I’m somewhere without distractions – the library, a local café, my study. The library is my favorite place at the moment. As for advice: if you have an idea, don’t be scared to write down the first few chapters of a book that’s begging you to be written. And don’t be scared it won’t be any good. You’ll have plenty of time to self-edit later, but you have to start somewhere !

4) I saw you wrote poetry too, can you talk to us about it? Do you prefer writing novels, short stories or poems?

I haven’t written poems for a while, but I used to do it a lot a few years ago. For now, I want to focus on . Writing poems, in my mind, is linked to writing songs, and I haven’t had a lot of  songwriting lately. Maybe it will come back later!


5) How do you find ideas for your books ? Is there something specific that get you inspired ?


Reading books helps. It’s not like I copy other authors, but reading in the YA genre inspires me to run with a certain idea and then completely make it my own. Same with movies – I might watch something and notice a certain kind of chemistry between two characters and feel inspired to do a similar thing, but make it my own. I have to admit that I always set out to do something completely different with a certain concept. My books have been called ‘ original’ and ‘a fresh take’, which is the biggest compliment anyone could pay me. I don’t see the point in writing books that have been written before.


6 )Regarding The Island Trilogy, could you tell us why did you want to write a dystopia? How these novellas are different from what you previously wrote or will write ?

I wrote The Island for a dystopian writing contest, which was quite a surprise even to myself, because there was a writing contest parallel to it for Paranormal Romance (which is more my genre) . After publishing it (and winning second place in that writing contest,  by the way!) I got so many comments from people who begged me to expand on the Island world that I wrote a sequel/companion novella, and then another one! I think the people on the island deserved to be written about. 


7) Like I said in my review of the two first novellas in the series, I found it was really clever and original the idea of an Island, of a world unknown. But could you explain to a potential reader why and how your dystopia universe is different from the others already out there ?


My dystopian series is not so much about oppressive governments and rebellions as it is about the origins of any system, religious, administrative or otherwise, and how people can rise above that. I guess it’s more contemplative than most other series out there. I realize that this is not for everyone, but I felt like I needed to add something original to the dystopian YA universe out there.


8) Now about your two main characters, I have to say I was attached to them quickly and I was wondering how would you describe each one them with only three words ? And how would they meet if they lived nowadays ?

Leia : strong, brave, generous
Walt : philosopher, loyal, caring

I think Walt and Leia would have met in today’s world on opposite sides of the ‘fence’ – maybe Walt would have been poor and Leia rich, or maybe Walt would have been  white and Leia black. Their worlds would have collided because it was time to broaden their horizons.


9) I found it was really great to read from their both points of view, can you tell us how the last book in the series is written ? From whom  ?

Ha! That’s what everybody wonders about. There are two points of view, actually – one is Leia’s and one is Alisa’s (Walt’s best friend who stays behind on the island)

10) Without telling us too much, could you tell us how Leia and Walt will react once they arrive into the  ? What can you say about what they will discover there ?

The New World is a  of wonders and dangers lurking at the same time. I can’t really tell you what they’ll discover yet, but I do think I might offend a few readers with my description of the regime of the World across the Waters. I don’t set out to offend anyone – I want to make people think.

11) Last question : what is your last good read ? Your favorite writer ?

I just read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and I absolutely LOVED it.
My favorite writers are Ray Bradbury, Thea Beckman and Tonke Dragt (the latter two are Dutch).



It was really great to ask my questions to Jen ! The whole series is now available on Amazon and Kobo. I really hope you enjoyed my review and this interview. Please go find Jen on Twitter and Goodreads. You won't regret it ! Her books are available on Amazon and Kobo. Thank you !


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