2009 was a very important year for R.E.M Verberg. In this pivotal year, she simultaneously stopped and started writing. So, let’s take you back to the beginning. Or shall we say, the end?
In 2009, she heard she suffered from Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition she’d never recover from. Soon after this diagnosis, she decided to give up writing.
At that point in time, she had spent several years struggling with literary fiction, and still wasn’t sure if she even had anything to say. Yes, she had a degree in Writing – with a capital W – from the Utrecht School of the Arts, but all that had really done was make her the harshest critic of her own work, ever. So, she bravely decided to soldier on in her copy writing business, and hang up the writing dream. And then the silent retreat came along.
The retreat was horrible. It was wonderful, but it was horrible too. Because you couldn’t speak. And you couldn’t read. And you were encouraged not to write, either. It was there that she discovered how much she truly needed words, needed to express herself in words to feel like she was alive.
From that point on, she decided that yes, she was going to write, but completely on her own terms. She spent the next nine years discovering a new language – English – a new genre – contemporary fantasy – and a new way of life – a constant balancing act between health and ambition. It was a long journey, but it made her the woman she is today: a prolific, confident, and completely dedicated lover of her craft.
R.E.M. Verberg lives in Utrecht, The Netherlands, with her partner Dirk and two pet rats, Aagje and Juul, who love food even more than she does. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading, knitting, or in the small artisanal soap atelier she works at, Werfzeep.