The Heroine’ s Journey of Kim ten Tusscher

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love being an explorer in the world I have created. When I write, I discover new places and meet new people. Slowly, the fog disappears. When I started developing this world I felt like an intruder, but after six books I feel at home. So now I can go and explore what lies below the surface. You can compare it with real travelling. At your first visit, you’ll see the highlights everybody is talking about. Only when you have visited a country multiple times or for a
longer period of time, you really get to know the country.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? My husband and I just came back from Iceland, where we went camping and hiking. It was an amazing holiday. I found out that I’m perfectly happy when life is not complicated: waking up in nature and drinking a cup of tea. For me, that’s the best way to start the day.

What is my greatest fear? Not long ago I was reading an article about regret at an older age. What would these elderly people have done different? I realised that I would probably regret all the moments that I was waiting for somebody else to take the lead. When I die, I don’t want to realise I missed some great opportunities because I was
afraid of being rejected.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I’m very good at focussing. Maybe that seems a good thing, but way too often I forget the world around me and don’t do the things I should be doing because I only focus on that one thing (probably my next book).

Which living person in my profession do i most admire? Robin Hobb is a huge example for me. The way she builds her stories is something I admire. I hope that one day I have achieved all the things she did.

What is my greatest extravagance? Travelling shouldn’t count as an extravagance, but sometimes I feel really spoiled when I pack my bags again for another short trip to wherever.

On what occasion would I lie? When telling the truth will hurt somebody more.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? When I freak out about the quality of my work. This always happens just before a new book is ready. I try to convince myself that the story is horrible. Luckily, after seven books, I have some experience with these episodes. I know it has nothing to do with the quality of my work, but with me being an insecure perfectionist.

When and where was I the happiest in my work? I don’t have a specific moment, but I really enjoy the moments when readers let me know what impact the story had on them. Sometimes they share very personal stories with me. The biggest reward I can get is people telling me that the story did something to them on a personal level.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Other people see me as somebody who immediately realises her ideas, but I don’t think that’s true. Yes, when I have an idea and I can do it myself, it’s done fast. But when I need help from others, I wait for the others to take the initiative.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Every new book is a bigger achievement than the previous book, because with every new story I set new goals. I like to challenge myself, so I don’t create what I can, but what I think I can. And every day I can do a bit more than yesterday.

Where would I most like to live? I think about this a lot. Would I sell everything I have to go and live in a different country? No, I wouldn’t. I love travelling and discovering new places, but I also love to have my family and friends around. Besides, I really like the house we bought recently. It’s home and the perfect starting point for all my
adventures.

What is my most treasured possession? I don’t value possessions, so this is a difficult question. The only thing I have that isn’t replaceable is a painting of Elion by Iris Compiet. Elion is one of the first characters I created and the image was on the cover of the first edition of my debut novel Hydrhaga.

What is my most marked characteristic? I can get very excited about new things and will give it everything I have.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The best ideas I get when I’m cycling. It doesn’t really matter if it’s on my way to the supermarket or train station, though.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? I like little, cosy spots, tea and cake. If you like that too, I recommend Het Gouden Randje (The Golden Edge) in Enschede. The name comes from the old fashioned cups they use for their self-blended teas. Their homemade cakes are delicious.

What books influenced my life and how? As a child I read “Everywhere shines the moon” by Ursula Wölfel. A few years ago I reread it and it struck me how much this book influenced me. The story is about two gypsy girls and all the prejudice they have to deal with as they try to find their family. As a young girl I could identify with the youngest character in the book and I couldn’t understand why everybody was so mean to her only
because she was a gypsy. This book taught me to have no prejudice towards
other people. Another book that changed my life is “The lord of the rings” by Tolkien. That story got me involved with movie making and was the reason I started writing
fantasy myself.

Who are my favorite writers? Robin Hobb, Kelly van der Laan and Michelle Visser. Apparently I have a preference for female writers.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Unfortunately, during our trip to Iceland we didn’t bring the music from Lord of the Rings. I’d like to listen to that on my last day, but only if it means riding through an epic landscape like in Iceland and with my husband besides me.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I thought about this for a long time, but I give up. Maybe because I expect a hero in fiction to be flawless, but at the same time, I think that’s boring. So I guess that’s why I can’t think of anybody to look up to. The most interesting characters in fiction all have their flaws.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My real life heroes are my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. They are independent women who, sometimes perforce, live by their own plan. My grandmother travelled (alone!) to remote places in Africa when she was older to visit my aunt who was working there. Thanks to these three women I am a strong and independent woman who can live the life she wants.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Although it’s technically a web series and not a movie, I’d recommend Ren – the Girl with the Mark. Ren is made with a small budget and prove of what you can achieve with passion and love for a story. I participated in this project as a costume maker and I have amazing memories on working at this with a passionate team from all over the world.

What role plays art in my life and work? I like to collect art around me and I love to go to museums. Work created by other people can be very inspiring because it lets me see the world through their eyes. I prefer art that is both visually attractive (that’s not the same as beautiful) and tells a story, but one of both is also ok.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Whenever he can, my father joins me to every book release, festival and performance I do. I often do things I fear a little, so it’s great to see a familiar face in the crowd. I know he’s proud of me, so the opinion of other people affects me less.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? As a writer I work alone. I don’t think I will be able to write a story with somebody else. But I love collaborating with people and start projects that have some attachment with my books. For example, I worked with the band Seven Waters to create a song and epic video clip about my books Hunter & Prey. I’d love to do something like that again.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? I’d love to meet people who can bring my stories to the rest of the world. International bloggers who want to do an article about my books or agents who can get me a contract with a good publisher. I can’t do this on my own, so I hope to meet the right people to help me.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? I’m looking forward to Worldcon in Helsinki, a big convention about speculative fiction. I will be doing a few panels and a signing. It will be my first performance in a non-Dutch speaking surrounding.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? You can find me at Worldcon Helsinki, but also on festivals like Castlefest and comic cons in the Netherlands and Belgium.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is not bound to age. Most day jobs end at a specific age (at least in the Netherlands) and that’s fine, but when you create from your heart you’ll never stop. Not when you’re 67, when the clock strikes 5 or when it’s the weekend.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
You should contact Karen Leijzer. She is the singer of the band Seven Waters
and very creative and passionate.

How can you contact me?
You’ll find all you want to know at http://www.kimtentusscher.com

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