An Interview with Margot de Klerk

Hello and welcome to the next interview of 2021! To read past interviews, click here. Today’s spotlight is on debut author Margot de Klerk. Let’s dive in.

Your debut novel’s release date is nearly here! What inspired WICKED MAGIC? Are there any nods in it to, say, television shows of the same nature?

This is actually a story which has been in my head for years. I was always a fan of vampire novels as a teenager, and I’ve been developing this universe and the characters for a long time.

The original inspiration, weirdly enough, came from a manga—Rust Blaster, by Yana Toboso—which I read years ago. I’ve drifted a long way from that inspiration in the intervening years. As for books/TV series, I’m sure there are elements in my novel that it shares with other vampire novels. Everyone builds their own lore about vampires, and there are always overlaps. I’ve tried to combine familiar elements in an original way.

What are your go-to writing tools? Snacks? Places? What’s that one thing you always need to have when you sit down for a writing session?

I don’t really have a lot of habits. I like to write in cafes, or anywhere where I’m around other people. I usually listen to music, and I type directly onto my laptop. I don’t have one thing that I need when I’m writing, but I do have to keep a notebook next to my bed. My best time for coming up with ideas is around 4am when I can’t sleep, and I like to write them down straight away.
Why did you choose to write YA? Would you ever consider writing outside your chosen age group?

That age where you’re on the cusp of adulthood, but society still considers you a child, and you’re trying to figure out your place in the world, is particularly interesting to me. I really like coming-of-age tales, and books that explore the relationship that young adults have with school/university/their parents/society. I think it’s a tough time in most peoples’ lives; it certainly was for me.

I would write for other ages. Definitely middle grade—I don’t think I’d go younger than that. I’d write for adults, too. There are some themes I’d like to explore which are more suitable for older readers. I think the only constant in my writing is that it will always be fantasy. That’s my one true love.

What inspired your writing journey? Was it a single thing or multiple happenings? Do you think you’ll ever stop writing?

I don’t think there was ever one thing that inspired my writing journey. I have been obsessed with books since I learnt how to read, and I’ve been writing stories since I was about seven or eight. I’ve always just known that I would write books one day, and I’m excited to finally realise that dream.

I can’t imagine ever not writing. I did go through a period when I was ill and couldn’t write, and it was one of the worst times of my life. Coming back to the writing afterwards was like rediscovering a part of myself, and that has definitely pushed me to pursue the dream more actively.

Do you have any recent reads you’d like to share? What are your book recs? Favorite authors?

I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to reading at the moment, but I did read the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (I know, I’m late to that bandwagon!), which I absolutely loved. My favourite books, hands down, are Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (best urban fantasy book I’ve ever read by a wide margin) and Sunshine by Robin McKinley. My favourite series are Harry Potter and Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap books.

On a side note, I am also a total geek over medieval literature, particularly epic poetry. My favourite is the Nibelungenlied, which is a brutal Middle High German tale about revenge.

Did you make any for 2020? Were you able to achieve any of them? What are some of your writing goals for 2021? Did you make any for 2020? Have you completed any of them yet?

I’ve decided to self-publish, so the goal for 2021 is to get the book out there. I’m also working on a second manuscript, which I’d like to finish by the middle of the year. At the moment, I don’t have a lot of fixed goals. There’s been a lot of learning as I go along, which means the goalposts have shifted as I gained more knowledge. I’m quite okay with that. I generally set myself very short-term deadlines (write X number of words or edit Y chapters this week), and as long as I’m hitting those, I know I’m progressing.

And now for some fun! Answer the first thing that pops in your head with these either/or questions:

Airplane or Spaceship: Airplane. I would never go to space, although I do enjoy writing about it, and my favourite TV series ever are Doctor Who and Firefly.
Ocean or Mountains: That is a hard choice! I love the mountains, but it’d have to be the ocean for me.
Sparkling water or Juice: Both, together!
Tacos or Burritos: Tacos.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate is literally my worst vice.
Marvel or DC: Marvel. Hawkeye forever!
Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer: To be honest, I’m not a fan of either. I’d probably pick Supernatural if I had to.
Typewriter or Keyboard: Keyboard.
Chromebook or Laptop: Laptop.
Rain or Snow: Snow. I’m British, and it hardly ever snows there. We have no shortage of rain, trust me.

Okay, so once again that was more than five questions, but still loads of fun. Many thanks once again to Margot de Klerk for participating in this year’s interview series!

Check back next week, Wednesday, March 24th to meet debut author KJ Harrowick!

Interested in being interviewed? Message me here.

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ABOUT Margot de Klerk

Margot de Klerk is a young adult fantasy author. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Dubai. She read German at Oxford University, and currently works as an editor and copywriter. When not writing, she enjoys travelling, photography, and sewing. Her debut novel, WICKED MAGIC, will be available as an e-book in summer 2021. Come and get to know her at or on Twitter @MargotDKAuthor.

Never be afraid to put aside a manuscript for a few weeks or months. Coming at your work with fresh eyes will help you solve problems you might have been struggling with.

Margot’s advice for fellow writers