Second City Signing

Second City Signing Author Spotlight – Frank van der Kok

As you know, I snagged a spot at the Second City Signing in Birmingham, UK in July 2015. I decided it would be great to get to know all the other confirmed authors who will be appearing at the event with me.

I hope everyone will share these posts around and comment on them, wishing each author well. Maybe even some of you will come along to the event to meet us all in person.

Up this week is…. Frank van der Kok

Frank van der Kok is a Hungarian writer, currently living in Netherlands. Author of Fights of Your Life, a fictional memoire. 

The book was first released in Hungarian in September 2013 and tells the story of a young woman fighting for her life after a severe car accident. While the story is based on real events from the author’s recent life, the book still remains fictional, showing the events in a subjective manner. 

Just recently the English edition became available as well. 

Readers of the Hungarian edition commented the book like this:
“Amazing book, just like the key players in it. I laughed a lot at the well placed irony, but I also cried a lot. Fantastic reading” 

“While reading this book you will realise how insignificant and unimportant dreams and wishes we follow at times. Those who never had to go through anything similar will hopefully go home and hug their spouse and children, reconsidering their values.”

“I met several people who didn’t want to read this book, expecting it to be a depressing story; a story that would take their joy of life and energy for weeks. But then aftetr finally reading it they changed their views completely. The book gave them strength and faith. And a completely new viewpoint on life.”

Follow Frank van der Kok on the official facebook pages of the book (Eleted harcai & Fights of Your Life) for more details and insights.

And now for the interview:
First the ‘business bit’…
  1. Tell me about yourself… the usual, age, name, (penname if different – if it is different, explain your choice behind it), location.
Hi! I am a 34 year old author. Well, perhaps I should not exaggerate: I have a book out on the market. My name is Frank van der Kok. Which is actually the Dutch translation of my actual name… A Hungarian name, not sure which one would make it more difficult for English readers. Still, I can’t call myself Frank the Cook, can I?
  1. What genre do you predominantly write in? What drew you to that genre?
I published a fictional memoir for now, called Fights of Your Life. I know, I know, memoirs are supposed to be non-fictional by default. Still, mine is fictional. In a sense. I followed a real story. My real life experience. Just with some add-ons. A subjective view. And a message. Making it the fights of YOUR life. Not MY life. 
  1. How many books to you have on sale right now?
Proudly promoting one book, the Fights of Your Life. Soon to release a second one! For sure, I intend to sign 2-3 books on the Second City Signing event…On top, I write both in English and Hungarian. So that would make it 4-6 books, right?!
  1. When do you plan to have your next release available? Tell me about it.
Let me give an exclusive appeal to this interview. This has never been shared before. Nowhere. My second book is expected to be out still this year. And the title is… (can you hear the drums?)… TWICE. Twice, as in lightning doesn’t hit in the same place twice. Twice, as in statistics show a person will not suffer 2 major life traumas in a time frame of less than 5 years. Twice, as in the second book of the Fights of Your Life. They will form together a complete story. A complete memoir. Fictional memoir…
  1. When did you start writing? Was it for fun at first, or did you want to write for publication from day one?
Both. I enjoyed every single minute of it. Even if the story is not light hearted. Or rather exactly because the story was not an easy one. Giving myself the challenge to make it digestible to a wider public. A read you can actually enjoy. While taking some personal learning.
  1. When you decided to write that 1st book, what motivated you to keep going?
When you have a clear message and mission, nothing will stop you from delivering it. Not even bad sales. Or negative reviews.
  1. Are you a planner or a pantser or a mix of both?
I do plan ahead. Probably even too much so. Which only makes the events of my books even more difficult. As you can’t plan an accident, can you?
  1. Who is the favourite character you have ever written? Why?
Flower, the main character of my books. A natural, average lady who becomes a heroine. Remaining natural. Average. I just love her. I think readers share these feelings as well. If nothing else, they do appreciate Flower in my book.
  1. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Real life. I look around and write what I see. How I see it.
  1. What do you find hardest, naming characters or thinking of an overall title?
Titles are always difficult. They need to say thousands of words in a single line. They represent your book. They lead, market, sell. Or not.  
Now for the ‘fun bit’…
  1. Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?
Now that’s a good question! Never thought of it actually. More hands would come handy for sure. Could help in making the 24 hour day more. As we all try to achieve.
  1. If you could have written any book, what would it be and why?
That’s the beauty of self-publishing. I actually could write any book I wanted.
  1. If you had a superpower for the day, what would it be and what would you do with it?
Oh, that’s a long list. Which doesn’t include saving the planet… Rather saving humanity. From diseases. Giving ourselves much more love instead.
  1. If you could start on your writing journey from the beginning, would you do anything differently?
I learnt a lot of course. Not only as a writer, but also as a marketer, salesman, producer, publisher, blogger, and whatever else a writer needs to be these days to sell a few copies. As for the content itself – no, not really. I am happy with the results achieved so far.
  1. If someone gave you an elephant to hide, where would you hide it?
Haven’t you seen my elephant? It’s right there. Just keep reading.
  1. When writing, do you need total silence or background noise?
I work in an open space environment. So learnt how to manage and isolate background noise. Easily applying that when writing as well.
  1. You’re having a dinner party, and can invite 5 authors (alive or dead), who do you invite and why?
Coelho. Would be high time we had a chat finally. A chat that would cover the whole evening. No space for other invitees.
  1. If you listen to music, do you have a specific CD or playlist, or do you live life on the edge and shuffle everything?
Random shuffle. Both in terms of genres and artists. It actually depends on my mood and on what’s going on in my head. Usually quite a lot, sometimes even contradicting, but that’s a different story.
  1. If you could have the experience of reading a book for the first time, which would it be and why?
I always wondered how my own book(s) would seem to me on a first read. Impossible, I know. Still, I keep on dreaming…
  1. Who do you fangirl over? (Doesn’t have to be an author)
I could at best fanboy. I guess. Not sure. So no, I don’t.

What are your top tips for aspiring writers/authors?
Keep going. You can’t be liked and appreciated by everyone. Your book will not start selling from day 1. Give it some time. And keep writing.
Can you tell us (and maybe tease us) about your latest WIP or next release?
As already shared exclusively, only here, only now, I write further the story of Flower. In a fictional memoir called Twice. To be released very soon. With unexpected twists and turns. Yet,the expected heavy subject in a light read. Just as we would be sharing our life experiences with each other over an old bottle of wine.
Give us all your social media links so we can all stalk you (legally and pay you money to do so)
What are you hoping to gain from attending the signing in Birmingham?
Money! No, just joking of course. Experience. I want to learn from my fellow authors. I want to meet readers finally. Talk to them. Learn from them as well. While pushing myself into new challenges as well. Testing my boundaries. Leaving my comfort zone.
Thanks for taking part and I wish you lots of luck and oodles of cash at the event. See you there!

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