An Interview with The Thirteenth Child Author, Mark deMeza

It’s been a whirlwind the last few weeks for our author, Mark deMeza, but he has managed to find time to talk to us about his incredible book, The Thirteenth Child.

How would you describe your book?

A work of WW2 historical fiction, but written very much around my Dutch Jewish ancestors who were persecuted by the Nazis in the Netherlands and then transported to Auschwitz and Sobibor, where they were all murdered.

Who is your reader?

Anybody interested in the heroes and villains of this tragic, almost unbelievable time in world history. The very nature of this story should be of interest to all adults.

Tell me about the story of your story.

I knew our family had come from Amsterdam. I just happened to be on a website when it mentioned a new holocaust memorial in Amsterdam. The walls have a brick for each person. Eleven of our deMeza family names came up. Each with birthdays and the dates they died. My youngest relative, who died, was an 11-year-old girl. As I uncovered the dreadful truth of my family’s story, I was inspired to write a novel. Writing this was a deeply personal and emotional journey, and it follows a family struggling to survive as Dutch Jews come under attack.

Mark’s story as reported in the Jewish Telegraph.


Have you always wanted to write?

Yes, I wrote a draft novel in my teens, but then working life got in the way for several decades until now.

How long did it take to write?

Nine months for writing and editing

Is the book how you imagined it to be?

Good question – it’s my first novel. I’ll probably be able to judge the first novel when I can compare it to my second.

What do you find the most difficult thing about writing?

I have a clinical diagnosis of adult ADHD. Writing the opening chapters of an 80,000-word novel seems impossibly daunting.

Do you feel like a writer now, or do you have imposter syndrome?

I only feel half an impostor now. When I finish my second book, I hope that half will disappear.

Are you writing anything else?

Yes, I am writing a sequel to The Thirteenth Child. I have a draft chapter outline and expect to start in earnest once The Thirteenth Child has settled down after its launch.

If it was on TV, who would you like to cast?

Ralph Fiennes – he’s good at Nazi villains, so there would be several roles he could pitch for.

Any advice for a new author?

Stick at it. Always remind yourself that hundreds of thousands of writers have gone through the same emotional journey and come out with a book at the end.

What was the best thing about working with TAUK Publishing?

All the publishing tasks were completed to a high standard and on time. Even last-minute changes from the author! They also gave good emotional support when my confidence wobbled during the process.


The Thirteenth Child is now available here on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.


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