|C: Petr Kozlík (MAFRA)|
Would you like to introduce yourself to the Dutch readers, using five characteristics?
Hello to all my wonderful Dutch readers, I’m Robert Bryndza. I’m so excited that my book is being published in your country. I’m love my work, and as I’ve grown older I find I have the confident to speak my mind, I’m loyal, I really care about my readers, and I love animals. I can also be impatient!
How did you come up with the plot of this first book?
I had the idea, several years ago when I was listening to the Kate Bush album 50 Words For Snow. It’s a hypnotic and evocative album, and it captures the loneliness and beauty of snow and ice in winter. An image came into my mind of standing on a frozen lake, scraping away the snow and seeing a girl’s face staring back at me from underneath the ice.
What character in the book has most of you in it?
I’m not sure, I think I put a part of myself in all my characters – even the bad ones! I don’t think I could write a character I couldn’t identify with. I have to find that angle or trait in their personality to understand them, which makes them real. You don’t always have to like your characters, but you need to know what makes them tick. I don’t become my characters, but I carry them around in my head and once they are established I can very easily channel their voice.
Was the plan from the beginning to write more books about Erika?
I always hoped that I would be able to write a series, but the original plan was to write two books and see if readers liked them. Luckily they did.
How is the feeling when you sold two million books? What did you to celebrate?
It didn’t sink in at the time, obviously I was thrilled, but it wasn’t until I went to see a concert in a stadium in Vienna with 20,000 other people, and my husband, Ján said that it would take 100 stadiums to hold 2 million people. That was pretty huge.
There are 27 kinds of translations of your debut: are they all on a bookshelf in your house?
Which of them do you like the most?
Yes, they are on a bookshelf. Like a parent, I have to say that I love them all the same. However, the Hebrew edition fascinated me. I had never seen a book before where you read from back to front.
What kind of books do you like to read yourself?
Science fiction, horror, humour.
Do you have a writing-routine or any writing rituals, and if so, what are they?
I don’t have any rituals, but I think routine is important. I thought, early on, that as a writer I would have to wait for inspiration to strike, but I’ve realised you have to show up every day and put words down on the page. It’s a simple, and as difficult as that. So I’m at my computer at 9am and after a break for lunch I work until 5pm. I try to write 2,500 words a day.
What can distract you from writing?
The internet, and in particular social media.
When did you discover you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, from an early age, but I never imagined that I could make a living from writing, so I got sidetracked in my twenties going to drama school and then working as an actor. One of my first memories is of my dad telling stories to my sister and me. On Saturday and Sunday mornings we would go through to my parents’ room, sit at the end of their bed with tea and biscuits and listen. He wouldn’t read to us from a book, he would make up his own stories, and I thought they were wonderful. One in particular I still remember was about birds nesting under the eaves of our house. He created all of these characters, like a soap opera, and on the Saturday morning there would always be a cliffhanger, which would be resolved on Sunday! I think something lit up in my mind. The power of storytelling, and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are your future plans? Is there a plan for a stand alone?
Yes, there are, but you’ll have to stay tuned. I plan to write many more books.
Some other questions:
*If you had to stay on a deserted island for a year, what 3 things would you take with you?
My Kindle e-reader (plus solar charger), a box of matches, and water purification tablets.
*If you have someone over for the first time, what do you cook for them?
I do a great home-made pasta.
*What makes you very happy?
Loads of things. Springtime, spending time with family and friends, a great book, cooking, writing