Just like everybody, I have my own favorite writers. Some of them are gracious enough to answer my questions, and I want to share these with friends and visitors.
Luc Deflo is a Belgian writer of crime fiction. He is very successful in Belgium and the Netherlands, where he has a series of best-selling novels up to now, with detectives Dirk Deleu and Nadia Mendonk as the lead characters. Unfortunately his books are only available in these parts, and some other European countries. Luc hopes to find a publisher in the U.K. or the U.S.A. soon.
I got to know Luc by accident. I picked up one of his books in the library, and it was a real page-turner! I then found another book, which was even better. I sent some e-mails to Luc, telling him how much I appreciated his books, and since then we have kept in contact.
Luc was also so kind enough to come to my school twice. He spent an entire afternoon answering students' questions and the kids appreciated this very much! They were very enthusiastic about it. Afterwards Luc and I had a drink and a long chat, and this resulted in our friendship.
And now, here are my interview questions:
1. Is Luc Deflo your real name?
Yes, it is.
2. When did you start writing?
I’ve always written and I also like to read a lot. My first book was actually an autobiography, which I wrote when I was at high school. Alas, it was never published. Then I wrote a play for the stage.
3. How do you work as a writer?
As I read a lot, I get lots of information from newspapers and magazines. Not so long ago, I was reading an article about a serial killer in the US, who travelled from state to state and very nearly escaped getting caught. I thought: "Hey, this is a nice idea! Why not bring the action to Flanders?" And so I did, and wrote Naked Souls. I often work like this.
4. Are you a full time writer, or do you have another job?
I work as a consultant for the KBC bank. A year ago, I took a sabbatical in which I did a lot of writing. Now I have returned to work half-time, as I like my job and I can travel a lot Besides, writing books, even bestsellers, doesn’t make you rich in Flanders.
5. Do you have a favourite book or writer?
Not exactly. I’ll read a book to the end when I like it. Otherwise, I just put it aside.
6. Do you like it when your fans write to you or e-mail you?
I love it! I appreciate it a lot and I will always answer.
7. How do you handle criticism?
To be honest, the first time that a critic wrote a negative report on Naked Souls I felt devastated. It really hurt. But now I’ve learned to live with it. When some people don’t like what I write, so be it.
8. Why is the action always take place in Mechelen?
I was born in Mechelen. To most people, it is just a quiet provincial town where nothing special happens at night. Portraying it as a place where murder is ordinary was an idea that appealed to me a lot. The Mayor of Mechelen, Bart Somers, (who’s a good friend of mine) always asks me why I tell people that Mechelen is a dangerous town. I guess he’s afraid that people are going to believe it, even though he makes such an effort to have a safe town.
(Note from Nickie: Mechelen is one of the historical towns of Flanders, halfway between Antwerp and Brussels.)
9. Are the characters in your books real? Are they based on people you know?
No, they are truly fictive. I must admit however that my detective, Dirk Deleu, has some of my characteristics. When I describe his physical appearance, you can picture me as well. And sometimes he thinks like me. But, I must tell you that I use real names in my books! A lot of my friends and acquaintances spontaneously ask me if they can figure in one of the stories. Guess what, there is even a waiting-list!
10. What are your future plans?
I’ve completed two more books. In number five I return to the open ending in Naked Souls. There the serial killer escaped to France. A lot of readers asked me what happened with the man. Would he always escape justice? So I decided to bring him back in this book. I’m also working on the film scenario of Naked Souls, of which the film rights were sold to one of Belgium’s most renowned producers. With a friend I have written a TV-drama in ten parts, which I’m hoping to be able to sell soon. It’s about child abuse and corrupt policticians.
(Note of Nickie: this series is called Cell 5 and is among his better work).