A writer in Brussels: Luc Deflo

Article published on June 11, 2010
Article published on June 11, 2010
He writes theatre plays and books, psychological thrillers to be exact. Though born and raised in Mechelen (Flanders), he has made Brussels his home now. Meet the spiritual father of detectives Bosmans and Deleu. Cafebabel Brussels proudly presents: Luc Deflo. An outdoorsman in Brussels How does someone from Mechelen end up in Brussels? Easy. He marries a Venezolan woman.
She's from Carácas and cannot stand living in small, provincial towns like Mechelen. So there's only one thing left to do, really: moving to the country's largest city: Brussels. At least, that is how things went down for Luc Deflo. At the beginning he might not have been that enthusiastic about it, but in the meantime, he has learned to appreciate Brussels for the city it is. He has -as did his wife, by learning both French and Dutch- adjusted to living life in the Belgian captial. And even though it was hard at the beginning, Deflo now feels quite at home there. In the 8 years he has already been living there, and with special thanks to his wife, he certainly managed to build a large circle of friends, and a very international one at that.

Having a (little) garden however, is key when it comes to life in Brussels. Deflo likes to do his writing outside, but "there's to much to be distracted by in a park," he says, laughing. And he simply cannot do without his little patch of green. He describes himself as being "as real outdoorsman, an outdoorsman in Brussels." But if you ask him to choose between Brussels and Mechelen, he will awlays, always prefer his hometown, Mechelen. He was born there, all of his 'real' friends live there and he's never actually been a "big city boy".

Brussels, city for the young

Brussels according to Deflo is "a city for young people." To him, Brussels is "just a wee bit too big, a wee bit too fleeting." Flemish people in Brussels? According to Deflo, a lot of Flemish are scared of Brussels. As a matter of fact, he's the only Flemish on his street. And the Flemish he knows in Brussels, he got to know thanks to his wife and her French class.

For Deflo, the most fun neighbourhood in Brussels is Matonge, the African face of Brussels. "The whole world kitchen is represented there, you can find everything there. 'Le President', a real African disco where I've had so much fun, being the only white person there, is next to a rocker's bar with a completely opposite audience, but also much fun." A lot of Deflo's book 'Pitbull' was inspired on things happening in this African neighbourhood.

Theatre, books, movies

My question "theatre or books?" gets a very quick response: "theatre," he says, no doubt about it. Writing theatre plays is a hobby for Deflo. "In writing books, I can earn a living; that's not realistic for theatre," according to Deflo. In his opinion, that's because they both have very different markets. And after 10 years full of writing books, it is time for 'and now for something completely different': a movie. Deflo is currently working on turning his book 'Naakte Zielen' ('Naked souls') into a movie. The whole project would be situated in Mechelen and Deflo would like to be involved during the whole process; he knows what he wants and where he wants to go. Together with a good friend he is working on transforming his psychological thriller into a blood-curdling scenario.

Bookworm en mass producer of books

But even though Deflo lives by his pen, he still has a part-time job at KBC. After a year's long break, he got back to work there. "I love the social contact, I able to travel a lot and my colleagues as the best." The "romanticised idea of a writer working on a book in his attic" he loathes in particular. That's not at all the way things go down, according to Deflo. You have to have a lot of disciple. He himself aims at writing about 40 to 50 pages every month. That way, it takes him about 8 months to write a book. He knows who he is, what he wants and he believes in himself and what he can do. "I am ambitious, yes, but I also am a hard worker," he says.

Inspiration Deflo gets from the stories his friends tell him and from the articles he reads in the newspaper. Or he comes up with a certain theme he wants to write about. So no problem for Deflo getting ispired, on the contrary! "I have too much things I want to write about," he says. On top of that, his next book, about phobias, is ready to be printed and shipped off to the book store in October. Fans have no need to worry.

And the author of course has his own favourites. Amongst his own work, he especially thinks 'Hoeren', 'Pitbull' and 'Fear' are well worth reading; he doesn't like 'Kortsluiting' that much. For 'Pitbull', he received the Hercule Poirot price in 2008. For him it's easy: "a book has to make you want to read on." Whenever he does not like a book, it's gone in 50 pages. But the opposite can also occur. When he's really crazy about a certain book, it gets turned into one big post-it and/or one big notebook. The poetical language Carlos Ruiz Zafón uses, for example, he thinks is great. "By the way, the most beautiful compliment anyone can ever give me, is when they tell me they could not stop reading in one of my books, that they kept on reading through the night, even though they had to get up really early the next morning."

Jaloezie His latest book, the fifteenth already, is called 'Jaloezie' ('Jealousy'). It's about a murder around Mechelen; detectives Deleu and Mendonck start an investigation. The neighbours though, turn out to be less inocent than thought at first. Nice to know: the book is not based on Deflo's neighbours. (It is based on what happened with neighbours of friends of his).

Driven to find out more? Take a look at Luc Deflo's blog!