I'm a screenwriter and novelist. The press often refers to me as the 'female version of Stephen King', so I guess that summarizes my work quite well. I'm originally from Belgium and I still live there. Although I write in English and French, my native language is Dutch.When I'm not writing, I love watching movies, going to film festivals, eating out, cooking, reading and cuddling my cat.
Can you tell us about your new screenplay A Good Man?
A Good Man is a dark comedy with a few horror elements. I could best describe it as American Psycho with a vampire. Some people have also compared it to the TV-series Dexter. It's a fun and moving story and it turns the vampire myth completely on its head. It's not the kind of vampire story you've seen before and if you think you know how things will turn out, then think again.
What is harder writing a screenplay, or a novel?
Writing a novel is definitely harder. Most people feel it's the opposite, but I think it all depends on what medium you prefer. I'm more a movie person than a book person, so that means I am more at ease with that medium. Writing a screenplay is different than writing a novel in the sense that a screenwriter is not allowed to tell what's in the character's mind; everything has to be shown, everything has to be visual. Structure is also important, because a screenplay (and the movie for that matter) quickly becomes boring if you put too much scenes in it for character development but that doesn't move the story forward at the same time. In books, you can get away with that, but not in a screenplay. My experience as a screenwriter has obviously influenced my work as a novelist in that I am more concise and more visual than most other novelists. I 'explain' a lot through the images and details I portray. Sometimes it's about two characters talking about ordinary things, but it's actually about something more profound that you can only 'get' once you have read the whole book. I love putting information into details that seem irrelevant at first.
What is your writing process? (Do you right outlines? Do you know how a story is going to end when you start it?)
Writing the first draft is always easy and I just go with the flow without outlining too much. Outlining even blocks my creative process. It’s the rewriting phase that is the most difficult, because rewriting is all about improving myself and finding better ideas than the ones I initially had. It’s difficult, because it’s not natural. Having a clear vision of what you want your story to become is important while doing this. So is listening to the advice of others in your field, as long as you stay true to your own voice.
What is it like to have something you write turned into a movie?
The first time my work got turned into a movie was with the film adaptation of my short story The Strangers Outside. I'm very proud that my story got chosen for an adaptation and it was fun to be on the film set, but at the same time it's a bit frustrating because the film was different than the way I imagined it. The movie based on A Good Man is still in pre-production phase, but I'm looking forward to seeing the end result.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Non-fiction titles, biographies and love stories. That's probably the reason why my supernatural thrillers always have a very strong personal element in it.
What is your favorite book of all time?
There are so many good books and writers that I don't have a favorite.
What are you reading right now?
I'm reading a French book called L'enfant nucléaire. It's the second novel from Daph Nobody, who is by far the most original new voice in French literature.
What can we be excited about that is coming from you in the future?
As some of you already know, A Good Man is now in pre-production and ready to be turned into a French feature film. Director, actors and part of the crew are already attached to the project and the production is finalizing the funding phase. It will be shot later this year and I will keep everyone up to date by posting behind-the-scenes pictures on my blog. Apart from the film adaptation of A Good Man, I'm currently working on seven different projects, both movies and books, and I'm lucky to be able to collaborate with some of the most talented directors and artists in Europe. Another project is a book based on the web comic about my cat (Found here).
Thanks so much for coming by the Spine today Vanessa!
A Good Man (screenplay)
Do you like Dexter and American Psycho? Then chances are you will love A Good Man.
Louis Caron is a good man – he's a vegetarian, feeds homeless people, takes care of animals and is converned with the ecological well-being of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge – he's a vampire and local detective Taglioni becomes increasingly suspicious of him. Louis' attempt to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but where he will also destroy the lives of those he cares about.
The Strangers Outside (short story)
Two sisters, Jennifer and Louise, return to their remote holiday cottage after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they're being surrounded. Soon after their arrival, the girls will come face to face with the strangers outside. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn and an intense battle for survival will begin.
Drowned Sorrow (novel)
Megan Blackwood has just lost her son in a terrible accident. Now she has come to Moonlight Creek with her teenage daughter Jenna, hoping that a change of scenery might help to put her life back together. But something odd is going on in Moonlight Creek. When rain falls over the village, the inhabitants commit grisly murders, leaving the village deserted with the first rays of sunshine. Beneath the lake's surface, an eerie presence watches... and waits... Waits to reveal a tragic past drowned in mystery and fear. One that doesn't bode well for visitors. By the time Megan realizes that her daughter is in danger, it might already be too late.