Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Author and artist Gertjan Zwiggelaar in his Red Deer apartment.

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Author and artist Gertjan Zwiggelaar in his Red Deer apartment.

Author close to crossing final literary boundary

Local author Gertjan Zwiggelaar is a couple steps closer to his goal of writing a book in every genre.

Local author Gertjan Zwiggelaar is a couple steps closer to his goal of writing a book in every genre.

With his Journey to the Underside, published in 2012, and his Marty & Me, Another Pirate’s Tale, published in 2013, Zwiggelaar has respectively covered the adventure and horror/pirate categories. His previous books, A Pirate’s Tale and Into the Game, fall into the swashbuckling and science-fiction genres.

The Red Deer author has also written poetry, historic fiction, non-fiction, short stories and children’s literature over the years.

While he hasn’t full tackled romance yet, Zwiggelaar feels there are enough romantic elements in most of his books to make them also popular with female readers.

The former Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School art and drama teacher has never believed in limiting his scope of his interests to just art or just writing.

He paints in a wide variety of styles, from abstracts to landscapes to fantasy images, and has also been writing stories since childhood.

When Zwiggelaar began creating plays for high school students to perform, he said one of them won a literary award from the Edmonton Journal in the 1980s and this gave him encouragement.

He began his first big project, The Incredible Adventures of Princess Kiera and her Friends, as possible successor to the Harry Potter books. The 240,000-word tome is still being reworked by Zwiggelaar, who would someday like to publish it.

In 2008, he discovered publisher-on-demand America Star Books, which accepted his A Pirate’s Tale and the following three books for publication.

The company doesn’t require authors to pre-order copies of their books — Zwiggelaar said if the publisher thinks a book will sell, it prints off some copies and makes them available on and various other booksellers. Authors get a small royalty for each copy sold.

Zwiggelaar’s most literary output is a sci-fi adventure in the Jules Verne vein, A Journey to the Underside, as well as Marty & Me, the second book in a planned pirate’s trilogy. Zwiggelaar intends to put out the final pirate book, Hanzel Sventska, a Faustian tale of someone who sells his soul, by this summer.

He believes readers enjoy his plots because the action moves along, without getting bogged down by small or unnecessary details. “They’re page turners.”

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