Today I am interviewing Leonie Postma, author of the new dystopian sci-fi novel, Samir.
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DJ: Hey Leonie! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Leonie Postma: Thanks DJ, for inviting me here. Sure. I’m Dutch, and grew up in Amsterdam and some years in France. After my studies, I worked for a number of years in Namibia and Angola, after which I came back to the Netherlands again. Currently, my base is Amsterdam, but I stay several months a year in Portugal, which is for me the perfect place to write, while helping out on a farm. Besides writing and farming, I work as a trainer and project evaluator on freelance basis, and love to go for long walks.
DJ: What is Samir about?
Leonie: Samir is the story of a refugee in what seems to be a beautiful and peaceful place, a place I refer to in the book as the Centre. The story explores our desire to create and believe in utopia, beautiful places where all is good, and where, sometimes, we can forget that what is good for one, is not always good for the other. It’s also a story that question’s the manufacturability of a society: is it possible to create what we want? Are we, as humans, able to control it all? Or will there always be a dark side in whatever we make – whether it is new technology or a new type of society – a side we didn’t want to see, or which we forgot to take into account?
DJ: What were some of your influences for Samir?
Leonie: Maybe it sounds a bit clichéd, but Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico and the current influx of refugees in Europe inspired me to write Samir. When reading about all this, I was wondering: what would happen if someone decides to set up safe heavens, where refugees can live in peace and get everything they need: food, facilities, clothes, in return for forty hours of labor. And what will happen if we make everyone practice mindfulness and meditate at least once a day, so that they can experience living in the here and now. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Leonie: Let me briefly introduce Samir and Irene, the two main characters. From the start, we get to know Samir as a kind and friendly man who wants to help his family. While writing the story, I felt both respect and sadness for his struggle to do well for his family, while trying to fit in with the new lifestyle in the Centre and deal with the dark secrets of his past.
For Irene it’s different. Like Samir, she is kind and wants to help others and do good. But unlike Samir she doesn’t have a difficult past, and is somehow a little naïve. In this story, Irene loses some of her innocence and learns to see more clearly both the positive as well as the negative sides of the Centre. She becomes stronger, and more realistic, without losing her dreams.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Samir like?
Leonie: The story is set in the Centre which is kind of a sanctuary compared to the difficulties you have to face in the real world. It’s a moneyless society where everyone lives and works in peace. There is nothing to worry about, and everyone gets individual and family coaching and help to fit in, learn the new language, participate in sports, group meditation. When you don’t look too deep, or behind the curtain, it’s a beautiful place.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Samir?
Leonie: Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by books and love reading stories. Utill recently, I always thought that I was a reader, and not a writer. It’s only in the last few years I’ve discovered the joys of writing fiction. After years of working on official documents, evaluation reports, accurately describing findings and carefully formulating recommendations, it’s been a liberation to experience the freedom of writing fiction. It is so much fun to give your characters a voice and to get to know them closely. And it has been interesting to create the world in which they live and interact. Probably that last part is what I enjoyed the most about writing Samir.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Leonie: I guess people will want to talk both about Samir and the Centre. Some of the readers have already told me that they would like me to write a part two, in which they can find out how Samir and all the other main characters are doing. Others keep on thinking about the Centre, and the question of whether a life in such a perfect place is desirable. It’s these types of questions which keep lingering in their minds.
DJ: Now that Samir is released, what is next for you?
Leonie: I’m working on a second novella, called Krista, which I hope to release in early 2018.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Leonie-Postma/e/B071F6JVXV/
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo
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Samir has endured a long and torturous journey after fleeing the violence in his homeland. He’s relieved to find the Centre, and to be welcomed into its sanctuary. It provides the security he craves, and if he only accepts a few conditions, he’s assured his family can join him, without having to suffer the same arduous trip he made. While he’s introduced to the Centre’s new lifestyle, he’s given the chance to relax, gather his strength and work to give something back to those who are helping him. He settles in to this beautiful and tranquil place, where he can finally be who he wants to be. It seems like paradise – until he’s invited to sit quietly and meditate on his deepest fears and explore the darkest secrets of his past. Samir’s story reminds us of how outer beauty and utopian ideologies can blind us to reality, that what we see is not always what we get – or want.
Leonie Postma is an independent advisor with more than 20 years’ experience in human and social development. She is interested in people, their motivations, their dreams and the obstacles they encounter in life.
She loves travelling and listening to the stories of the people she meets along the way, to hear about their lives, the environment they live in and how they care for the world around them.
When she’s not working – or writing – you’ll find her on the road, most likely on foot, exploring the world around her or talking with and listening to the people she meets.