I grew up in the Netherlands (you can look up where that is on the map), where I spent my childhood riding my bike, catching tadpoles, and reading Pippi Longstocking and Roald Dahl books. I loved to read, and I loved to draw, too. My very favorite book was The BFG by Roald Dahl. I would read under the covers well past my bedtime, secretly hoping for the BFG to knock on my window.
But somewhere along the way (around my high school years), I sort of lost the passion for reading. It wasn’t until I was given a paperback thriller many years later that I caught the reading bug again. After reading many, many mysteries and thrillers, I decided to try my hand at writing (I was pretty bad at it at first, to be honest). It took a long time before some of my short mysteries started appearing in small press magazines, which encouraged me to keep writing.
If you have writing aspirations, don’t give up!
1. How old are you?
Old enough to remember grunge, young enough to have missed disco. That's the long answer for: in my forties.
2. How long have you been a writer?
About fifteen years. I started writing short mysteries, so I could learn to be a better writer. But I loved that so much, I never really stopped. Aside from writing books for kids, I also write short stories and sometimes articles for newspapers.
3. What's your favorite book?
Oh, there are too many to mention! This is the hardest question... I really liked Spy School by Stuart Gibbs, Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, Holes by Louis Sachar... I could go on for a while. And I love getting book recommendations, so send me an email if you've read a book you think I should read!
4. What are your hobbies?
I live in Colorado, which is a good thing because I love to hike. I also like to do DIY around the house, work in my garden, and go to museums. I love to learn new things; I'm always looking for new book ideas.
5. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Read a lot! The best writers read like crazy. It's how you learn to get better. Keep writing, and don't be afraid to mess up. You can always edit to make it better.
As you can see, I was very happy that I got a shirt with my name on it (when your name is Fleur, that's basically impossible to find).
This is me, happily drawing with my crayons
What made the journey even better was the passion from my editor to make the book the best it could be, and the illustrations from Xavier Bonet, which really brought the story to life. I’m really proud of this book, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
As for me, I now live in a small town in Colorado that's just perfect for a mystery... My husband, two daughters, five cats and two dogs (yes, we really have that many pets) keep me grounded and inspired.
My cat Apollo, "helping" me write...
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, my latest MG novel, really started with my love for mysteries, a love that was born long ago when I was about JJ, Penny and Emma’s age. I was a very avid reader, but without a YA section (there wasn’t one at the time), I moved from kids books to the grown-up section pretty quickly. At the recommendation of a librarian, I read The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie, and I was hooked.
I may have lost my love for reading for a while, but it was my love for mysteries that eventually brought me back. So I wanted to write a mystery, for kids who (like JJ in Midnight at the Barclay Hotel) maybe don't like reading so much...
I set out to write a mystery for kids that has some of the same ingredients of Agatha Christie’s books: a good mystery, several suspects, and an interesting, closed-off setting. After visiting the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park (of the famous The Shining movie), I knew I had all the ingredients for a fun—and spooky—mystery for kids.
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Contact Fleur: email@example.com