Author Spotlight – Bob Van Laerhoven

Author Spotlight – Bob Van Laerhoven

Read all about my friend Bob Van Laerhoven 😉

Writer's Treasure Chest

Welcome!

 

Please introduce yourself.

I am a Belgian/Flemish professional author – and have been for 23 years – who has published more than 35 books in Holland and in Belgium, and who has been translated in English, French, Italian, and Russian. I specialize in the cross-over between literature and the suspense novel. With “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” (Pegasus Books) I won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best suspense novel of the year in the LowLands in 2007 and the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category mystery/suspense. My short story collection “Dangerous Obsessions” was voted “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

I published my first book in 1971, at the tender age of eighteen. In retrospect, I realize that it was way too early, but, bubbling with youthful bravado, I took the first chance I got. Because I…

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Research phase over

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At long last I’ve completed my research of all the available sources, both the highly questionable historical accounts as well as the utterly fanciful for my latest adventure story. Because of it, I’ve compiled the background of the story (slightly over four thousand words), in preparation for when I begin writing from the point of view of the characters.

Once again I’m mentally exhausted (brain-fade). So I need to take a break for a couple of days. But very soon I’ll begin writing what at this moment in time I still believe will be a long short story (novelette). However when inspiration inevitability makes it its presence felt, the story may expand to a novella or even a full length novel. I have also decided who the fictional characters will be in the story, not forgetting their nationalities nor their personal traits, their likes and dislikes.

I can now reveal what the story will be about. It concerns the short time period of barely a month in the autumn of 1066, when three decisive battles occurred in quick succession, culminating in the defeat of Saxon England by Duke William of Normandy’s army, and the Saxon king Harold Godwinson’s death, where Battle Abbey now stands, close to the town of Hastings on England’s south-east coast.

PS – I’ve also decided on the story’s title – Autumn 1066, short, sweet and to the point.

More later.

😉

An Exhibition of Socialism

An Exhibition of Socialism

Remember when Socialism actually existed. What passes for it today isn’t Socialism. In fact it’s anything but!!!

The Champagne Epicurean

 

 

This is a blog about remembering. A blog not about politics but about the aesthetics of politics. It is about remembering what we owe to various degrees of socialist reforms over the past few decades, and centuries. Socialism today may be a victim of its own success. It might be less relevant today because it has achieved so much of what it set out to do. I have already written a blog as to why I think socialism is still relevant – https://justinfenech.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/why-we-still-need-socialism/ – the purpose of this blog is to pay homage to the heroes (and heroines) of history’s kinkiest ideology, an ideology which fulfilled the aims of the French Revolution, put the church, the aristocracy and the oligarchs in their place and gave us a society, which, whether you’re a socialist or not, is perhaps the best humanity’s ever known.

Religious suffering is, at one and…

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A little something just for you my friends

Do you remember the scifi film The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis? Here is a reminder of the one moment in the film that stood out for me when Diva Plavaguna sang this beautiful aria. It was said at the time that the vocal range, particularly the highest notes were unattainable for a human being, and that it was all down to the film studio’s skillful sound engineers.fifth_element_diva_plavalagunaThe accompanying video blows that theory right out of the water, when the charismatic Chinese pop singer Jane Zhang recently performed it. This exceptionally talented young artiste disproved once and for all the absurd assertion by the film’s more vociferous critics! I love it when know it alls get taken down a peg or two, don’t you?

Enjoy 😉

The hidden problem with research

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There is one thing that will soon become all too apparent to you while conducting research for any fictitious historical story you might care to write. When it comes to the written records of events in days gone by, every historian you come across has an entirely different opinion, based on what they believe actually happened. You will find that they agree on some points while differing on others. This is all too apparent as I continue to research a series of three specific ancient battles, fought back to back during the short time period of barely a month here in England, almost a thousand years ago.

The only thing the historians involved do agree on, is to disagree with one another over their fellow academic’s interpretation of what they think happened. All of this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you. Particularly as in this instance today’s historians are at an enormous disadvantage. They don’t have access to sworn eyewitness accounts of the particular series of events I am still researching. Therefore anything they come up with can be nothing more than conjecture. I do beg their pardon – I should have said theory, the posh word academics use in preference to the aforementioned. In other words, in this instance they are relying on pure guesswork on their part…

While researching for my latest story, so far I’ve read a dozen different versions, based on what the academics involved, think happened. As I said in a previous post, the initial account about what I’m interested in was not written until fifty years after the three battles happened. In other words, just like today’s crop of historians, its highly doubtful that the chronicler(s) involved back then, were able to lay their hands on any eyewitness accounts, mainly because of the fact that for one thing, at the time in question most people could neither read nor write. Secondly, given the fact that it is highly doubtful that any survivors of the events were still alive a half century later, when the chronicler(s) wrote their account to please the country’s new masters during those troubled times, it could not at the time be accepted as the truth. Which begs the question why today’s historians defer to it???

PS – I’ve come up with a possible title for the story

PPS – as the three events I’m interested in happened in a short time frame, I’ve had to reassess the probable length of the story. It looks likely that it may end up as a long short story (novelette). At best, by adding what my fictitious characters get up to in the narrative may add a couple of thousand words.

High ho, high ho, It’s back to work I go…

🙂