Ursula Visser was born in Spring, in the most eastern part of the Netherlands, and she still lives there with her partner. She always had a vivid fantasy, from a young age on. She adores dragons, mystic creatures, and the magic realms of fantasy books. However, sci-fi books give her an interesting look into the future, and sometimes she wishes to be able to time travel, just to see what will happen in the future or live a day in the past centuries.
Writing is her passion. Her books are available in Dutch and English.
Author interview – Ursula Visser
Hi Ursula, thank you for sitting down with me. Let’s dive in! When did you start writing, and why?
Actually, I started writing at a young age. Then life happened and it kind of slipped to the background. However, once I started a blog during our sabbatical year in Australia, the writing bug caught on again. It took me until 2016 to start publishing my fiction books, once I sorted out how to self publish. Since then, I’ve published twelve books both in English and Dutch.
That’s not bad! At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
I think it was when I published my first two fantasy novels, at age forty-seven. So, you´re never too old to start writing, believe me.
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
I use both, not really preferring one. To me, it means the same.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
My first book was the hardest, I was still trying to develop my own style. It took me three years to write.
What was your last book about?
My last book was published October 1st of this year. It is a sequel (book 4) in the Dragon Queen Series; it’s a story about Mara Hamley. It all begins in book 1, where she steals two dragon eggs at a young age, with dire consequences. She gets banned from her home, and faces the Queen, who isn’t very happy with what she did. This fourth book is all about getting a grip on herself and everything that has happened since book three—sorry, I cannot tell you too much because of spoilers.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on Shadow Dragon, the last book (5) in the Dragon Queen Series.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
I just dive in. I have some kind of outline, but when I actually write, my character tends to do unexpected things, which can steer the plot in a different direction. I love this! I go through many drafts. The first one is mainly to get the story out of my head an onto paper. Then a few rewrites follow, then I order a proofcopy, because of several reasons; one of them is that I like the feel of the book-to-be, and another is that I tend to pick up on typos or mistakes faster. The number of drafts differ per book.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
Finding energy to write. It sounds strange, but I’m diagnosed with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome); I managed to find a new way of writing. I write on my mobile when I’m inspired, then mail it to myself. This allows me to write when I have enough energy, and I am so happy with this adjustment!
Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
It all changed in 2018. My body pulled the emergency break. It was a life-changing moment.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same or something similar?
Find a way to write if that makes you happy. No matter how bad your day is, even if you write two words, ten, two sentences; doing something that makes you happy is the light of your day.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
What do you do to stay inspired?
The thing is, that I have so many stories in my head, it will take a lot of years to get them on paper. Inspiration has many faces: music, a bird’s call, talking with people, smelling a scent…
Who’s your favourite author?
I have more than one. Charlaine Harris, Tamara Geraeds, Lynn Robin, Ben Alderson, Caroline Noe, Byrd Nash, Jennifer Ridge; all authors I buy blindly from. I like the way they build the story and make you want to read the next book and the next…it never gets old, they keep it fresh.
What’s your favourite book?
Again, not just one. There are several. Okay, if I have to pick one, I would say The Dragori Series by Ben Alderson. I was going through a difficult time, and his books took me away to a wonderful and exciting world. I love his writing style, the characters and…well, everything!
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
I haven’t read a book about writing, I did follow a writing class; How to find your own writing-style.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Write as much as you can. Write to get the feeling of words flowing from your brain to paper.