Ankur van der Woude
How long have you been writing?
I started at the age of twelve, writing poetry & short stories.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend towards lyrical prose & character-driven stories.
Do you write as a career?
I don’t think I’d do well as a professional author. I write for pleasure, for the sheer joy of being inspired. If I had to write to pay off the mortgage, the stress would kill any creativity I have.
Do you write full-time?
Alas, there’s that pesky mortgage, so I have to fit writing around a day-job.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I just won a prize, which was very reassuring.
What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I’m not sure ... is world peace too ambitious? Maybe breaking down the distinction between “literature” & “genre fiction” would be feat enough.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Viewing my work objectively, so I can see my failings & improve.
What projects of yours have been recently published?
A short story called Sarah2, which will appear in Little Raven Three.
What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
With my second novel, Red Velvet, I’m learning how to plot an intrigue & create an unreliable narrator.
Where can we find your work?
My stories appear in:
Little Raven Three
How often do you write?
It depends on how inspired I am & how much time I’ve got. At most, one day a week.
How do you react to rejections?
Regardless of what you do, there’ll always be people who like it & people who don’t. The trick is not to please others, but to find the people who like what you are.
How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
Outwardly you mightn’t notice much, but on the inside I’m living the dream.
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
I don’t think there’s a person alive who couldn’t benefit from a good therapist.
What are your favorite books?
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
Tanith Lee, The Blood Opera Sequence aka The Scarabae Trilogy
China Miéville, The Scar
Who is your favorite author?
I find most authors too multi-faceted to always tick all my boxes. It’s easier to talk about favourite works.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Carlisle Cullen from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Talking to someone like him – immortal & consummately compassionate – wouldn’t be much different from meeting a Buddha.
What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
For me, it’s having to sacrifice my social life. Writing is unbelievably time-consuming.
What is your favorite word?
I love “gothic” because its etymology is rich & convoluted. It’s meant such a wide variety of things over time, & the relationships between those meanings are so tenuous.
What makes you laugh?
Me – I’m such a fool!
What makes you cry?
Seeing how powerless people can be to alleviate their own suffering.
What is your preferred drink while you write?
Rooibos tea with milk. If you drink enough of it, you might be able to skip a meal, & that means an extra hour at the writing desk.
Beach or Mountains?
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Nine Inch Nails
Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Etta James, At Last
Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Byron & Poe
Cats or Dogs?
Anything you’d like to share about your country or its people?
The term “masochism” is derived from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s name, thanks to his novel Venus in Furs.