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Avans student publishes debut novel

Kleermakerszit (tailor’s position) is the debut novel of Layla Alizadah, who studies International Business and Management Studies in Breda. A moving story about destiny and responsibility.

Kleermakerszit tells the story of seventeen-year-old Lucy, who falls apart after the death of her father. She tries to move on and to strengthen her relationship with her mother, only to find that things take a turn for the worse.

When and why did you start writing?
‘Actually, I’ve been writing my whole life. For me, it’s a way of letting off steam. I started working on Kleermakerszit six years ago. Every time I felt my emotions were running high, I sat down and picked up where I had left off. At the time I had no idea that it would ultimately become a complete story. Mind you, I don’t spend all my time writing. I actually took a break from it for a year. That way I’ve found out that a novel doesn’t have to take years to complete.’

Kleermakerszit-460Did you always want to write a book?
‘Yes. I always thought that, one day, I would be able to share my thoughts and ideas with my readers. I never had a specific plan for it though. It has always been a childhood dream.

Did you ever expect your novel to actually get published?
‘Yes and no, I guess. All my life I’ve been living inside a kind of bubble. I always have big dreams and I never lose hope. I really hoped for my novel to be published, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It only dawned on me when I held a copy of it in my own hands and saw my name on the cover. The other day I walked into a Bruna bookshop and saw my book on display. That was the moment it hit home: this was all really happening. I didn’t know what to do when I saw my book there, whether to laugh or cry. I spent about fifteen minutes simply staring at my novel. Only when I left the shop I realised that my dream had come true.’

What did you have to do to have your book published?
‘Becoming a published author is quite a complicated process. First I looked at the books I read when I was younger. After that, I looked for a suitable publisher. Pretty soon after I approached them with my manuscript, they asked me to come by their office. I was studying in Spain at that time, so I had to fly back to the Netherlands. After that meeting, it all happened automatically. Before I knew it, I had signed my contract and published my debut novel.’

Where do you find your inspiration?
‘For me, writing is a way to unwind. Other people play sports or spend time with family and friends. Everyday situations are my main source of inspiration, but I also get inspired by travel and new things I see and encounter. I know it sounds like an awful cliché, but when I need to unload emotions I write them down.’

How did you come up with a storyline for your book?
‘I simply started writing. The opening section of the novel is still exactly how I initially wrote it. I haven’t changed anything. I just kept on writing. Every time something occupied my mind, I wrote it down, connecting one thought to another. And, bit by bit, a story emerged.’

Did you write Kleermakerszit to convey a certain message?
‘I did. There’s so much misery around us. The main character in my story often makes decisions that are a bit odd. Many people would be quick to condemn these decisions as foolish, without knowing what’s going on inside a person. I would like to make clear that every event can be considered from different points of view. People shouldn’t be so judgmental.’

What can we expect from you in the future?
‘I’m currently working on my second book. I’ve noticed that I’m working much faster than the first time. My intention is to make this one a psychological thriller. It will take you inside the mind of a mentally unstable person. For now, writing is my hobby and my passion. I greatly enjoy it, but a business career also appeals to me. I hope that one day I can combine the two.’

Dutch version of this article here.

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