How is your name pronounced?
My first name is pronounced in English as “Cor-inn,” not “Cor-een.” If you want to approximate the official Dutch pronunciation, “Cor-inn-uh” can work, as well.
My last name is difficult to pronounce for English speakers, so I usually go with the close alternative of “Dow-viss.” That’s “dow” as in “how,” and “viss” as in “miss.” Please avoid pronouncing the final syllable as “vee” or “vish.”
To be honest, having had my name misspelled on countless occasions, I’m much more sensitive to misspellings than mispronunciations. Please note: it’s Corinne, not Corrine; one R, and two Ns.
Are you actually Dutch?
Yes. Born here, raised here, never lived anywhere else, still have 80% of my family plus a fully functional windmill within a ten-minute radius.
Dutch is my first language. Since I had no English family or friends growing up, how I learned to speak English so fluently at a relatively young age is something of a mystery.
(I blame TV and Internet.)
How did you get published in the US?
The same way US authors do: I wrote a book in English, then contacted American agents by email until I found someone who wanted to represent me to American publishers.
With the advent of the Internet, your location doesn’t matter much when it comes to getting your book published. Many authors never or rarely meet their agents and editors. It can be occasionally tricky later down the line, when you’re dealing with contracts, taxes, and book promotion, but that’s about it.
Do you have publishing or writing advice?
I feel terribly unqualified to be giving advice, but I also don’t know when to shut up, so that’s a pretty good combination.
I’m gathering my thoughts (and some links) and will update this in due time.
Will you refer me to your agent or publisher?
I’m sorry, but the answer is no. My agent and editors are flooded in submissions already.
The good news is that you don’t need a referral. Many authors get published without any kind of publishing connections or foot in the door. Querying literary agents still works. The absolute best thing you can do for your book is to do your research about the publishing world and write a good, marketable book.
Will you read my book?
Unfortunately, no. I’m already dreadfully behind when it comes to reading books as it is.
I need to read books to keep up with the market; to see what my friends are writing; to learn from how other authors tackle certain genres or styles; to review or vet for Disability in Kidlit; to critique my friends’ work; to consider for a blurb; and, on rare occasions, purely for fun. I already struggle to stay on top of things, so the last thing I should do is add even more books to read.
I highly encourage you to find critique partners or a group. Having author friends is essential in this business, whether you’re looking for feedback, cheerleading, or both.
I’m an author. Will you blurb my book?
If you have a book contract and the book is up my alley in terms of genre/style/subject, I’ll definitely consider it. I’m particularly interested in supporting marginalized authors.
Please contact my agent with your blurb requests. And remember: if I turn it down, it’s almost certainly because of time issues, rather than anything else. I’m very sorry, but I wish you the absolute best of luck with the book. I’m very excited for you!
Will your book be available in my language?
Check out my books’ individual pages! 🙂 If an edition in your language isn’t listed there, it either means that no such translation is forthcoming, or that we’re still trying to make it happen and I can’t announce it publicly yet. Either way, the page will have all the information I’m able or allowed to give you.
Can I have a review copy?
Perhaps! Contact my publisher; they’re in charge of these decisions.
If you contact me directly, I probably won’t be able to help. I only get a limited amount of copies for personal use, and sending them abroad (which is nearly always the case) costs a lot of money. I’d have to spend well over €30 of my own money for each requested book, which I can’t afford. Sorry!
I’m autistic / I have an autistic relative. Can you help me?
I am flattered that people feel comfortable coming to me with these questions, and I sincerely wish I could help. Unfortunately, I can’t. I can’t suggest resources, I can’t help with diagnosis, and I can’t help with questions about problems or symptoms. I am not a doctor, therapist, or any other kind of medical health professional.
If anything I’ve written about has been helpful to you, whether it’s in an article or in a novel, I’m delighted! I really hope you’ll be able to find further help if you need it. But I’m just a writer talking about fictional representation and my own personal experiences; that doesn’t qualify me to be any kind of support for other, real-life individuals. For me to give you one-on-one advice would be irresponsible.
Please find professional help. If this is inaccessible or unsafe, there are many websites online who offer advice and resources. They’ve been invaluable to me over the years, and I hope they will prove just as useful to you. I’m so sorry I can’t help further.
I have an autistic character in my book. Can you give me feedback?
Depending on my schedule, I sometimes consult for major publishers (or authors published by major publishers) about the portrayal of autistic characters. I can’t make any guarantees, though; even when I do consult, I won’t accept responsibility for accusations of poor representation. I’m giving my personal opinion and advice, nothing more.
With that out of the way: Feel free to contact me with details via email.
It’s a Twitter hashtag I started in September 2015 that has taken off and become a common term in discussions of diverse representation. For more detail, I’ve put together an #ownvoices information/FAQ page.
What’s your connection to Disability in Kidlit and We Need Diverse Books?
I co-founded Disability in Kidlit in 2013; it’s a resource that discusses the portrayal of disability in children’s literature via reviews, articles, discussions, and more. I’m still actively involved as a senior editor.
I was a team member of We Need Diverse Books from mid-2014 to early 2016; WNDB is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to promoting diverse literature in children’s books.
Although the two websites are friendly and I’ve been involved with both, they have no connection to each other.
How do you identify?
This seems like a strange question, but having this answer out in the open can be useful for those seeking to promote diverse content or who want to be careful not to misidentify someone in an article or discussion.
I identify as a white, Dutch, cisgender, disabled/autistic, bisexual/biromantic/queer, thin, atheist woman, and I use she/her pronouns.
What’s the proper terminology when talking about you or On the Edge of Gone?
Thank you for asking. Although I never want to dictate reviews or articles, a lot of people seem unsure about what words are or aren’t okay to use, in particular with regards to disability or autism.
Autism: For both Denise and myself, feel free to use “autistic” or “with autism.” I’m fine with either term. I do prefer the former, so please don’t feel the need to go out of your way to use person-first language. There is also no need to correct anyone else who uses person-first language to refer to either Denise or myself.
Disability: The same applies. Either “disabled” or “with a disability” works. I lean toward the former even more strongly in this case.
Other phrasing: I would appreciate it if you avoided inherently negative phrasing like “suffers from autism” or “afflicted with autism.” Depending on context, things like “struggles with autism” may be fine, as Denise does in fact struggle with her autism throughout the book – just like she struggles with people’s reactions to her autism.
Conversely, seemingly positive phrasing like “overcoming autism,” “inspiring,” and “high-functioning” are loaded terms within the disability community. I would ask people to consider those terms carefully and perhaps read up on the context.
The diagnosis of “Asperger’s” is no longer in use and certainly wouldn’t be in 2035, when the book is set, so Denise should not be referred to as such. I prefer not to use the term for myself either.
If you’ve already used these terms, please don’t worry; I’m not trying to call people out and I don’t have anything specific in mind when writing this. I’m delighted about anyone choosing to talk about the book in the first place! But a lot of people have asked me about terminology, so I thought I’d have my thoughts out in the open.