Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Mark Koopmans,  author of that funny blog Aloha! Mark Says Hi from HI

Welcome, Mark!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.


Mark Koopmans

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, I’m a naturalized citizen since 2003. I’m also a husband, writer and stay-at-home dad to three boys under the age of six :)

Normally I post on Wednesdays, but have added a wee bit of humor Mondays and Fridays.

What do you do for a living?

See above, but I was a trainee truck driver in Ireland, a busboy in Holland, a clown in Spain, a cowboy in France, a restaurant manager in England (and that’s before I came to America…J

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

My current WIP is co-writing the memoir of Donald Braswell, an opera singer who lost his voice at the height of an amazing career.

When that’s done, I am going to tend to the patient seeds buried in my small garden of fiction.

I love to read, and always have three books “on the go.” I *heart* baseball in general and the LA Angels in particular.

 Do you have a hidden talent?

Does patience count?

Hired by several bars (in my youth!) to sing Karaoke at the end of the night, I could clear *every* punter in twenty minutes… I still do a mean “Tragedy” by The Bee Gees :)


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write here, at the dining room table, so I can’t get clutter-y, which is a good thing. No, it is!

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area? 

We bought it once our third son was born… we used to have a round table for four. Now, we have a rectangle table built for six :)

Mark’s Workspace

Sit, open laptop, arrange beverage to my left, Baby Monitor to my right, and away I go… 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work? 

I write evenings, so after we do prayers with the older boys, my wife stays to settle them, and the Baby Monitor (yes, it is a proper noun :) and I head downstairs. 


Mark’s Baby Monitor

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often? 

Every night it’s tidy! Apart from the BM, the only favorite thing is the remote control for the fan (this came with the house. It’s the coolest invention, evah!) 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee in the morning/afternoon, *IF* I ever write in those hours, otherwise I’ll have a glass of wine in the evening.


Mark and his Uncle Tom, on a recent visit to Ireland

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Dennis Lehane (Gone, Baby Gone; Mystic River) is my favorite author. My Dutch Oma (grandmother) gave me the love of reading and later, writing.

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Don’t laugh…I *have* to shower before I can work on WIP :)

For other stuff, I check email and visit blogs in the morning and afternoon, but as a stay-at-home Dad… Yeah, I don’t do much writing in the daylight (which is *fine*… we’re blessed with these boys and the WIP will get done… one of these days :)


Mark and his boys

3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I write Sunday to Thursday for about three or four hours – children permitting! My distractions are the three mini-monsters, but as we tried for years to have even one baby, I wouldn’t change these “distractions” for the  world :)

 4. Why do you write?

I’m like that old fable about the scorpion and the frog and the scorpion stings the frog, and when the frog asks him why, the scorpion said, “I can’t help myself. It is my nature.”

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote? 

  • ·        Passionate about writing? Be professional, too.
  • ·        Dying to tell your tale? Be true, too.
  • ·        Facing another rejection? Be resilient, too.

 “Give us your tired draft, your poor query, your huddled ms yearning to breathe free.”

 Ok, so my made-up quote isn’t written on the Statue of Liberty, but it would be cool if it was :)


 Thanks Nutschell for such a fun interview… you think outside the box, and I truly enjoyed answering your interesting questions J



Thanks, Mark, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.



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33 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Mark Koopmans”

  1. Aloha Nutschell,

    Thanks again for letting me be a bother on your blog. As I said above, people in Rhode Island should never eat yellow snow.

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell .. that was fun finding out Mark’s route to Hawaii and where his writing came from – thankfully he doesn’t write in Dutch – that would floor me! Your kids are lovely and obviously give you much pleasure, as they well should – love the photo of you with your uncle in Ireland … you look relaxed there!!! No kids around … Cheers to you both – and Happy Thanksgivings … Hilary

  3. I applaud anyone who can write with small children in the house. The time of my life when my girls were under 5 is the only time in my life I was not writing. I kept a Creative Memories scrapbook of those years — that’s the closest I came to writing.

    There’s got to be a story (or a joke) in your varied careers somewhere: a truck driver, a busboy, a clown, and a cowboy walk into a bar … and they are all Mark Koopman …

    • Yes,

      Writing with wee ones in da house is always interesting… I have created a code that I email myself when I’m interupted in the middle of a sentence:

      “Chp7 P11 see bold”

      That helps a lot, but I tend to write once the boys are asleep… that works even better :)

      Ha! Ha!

      A story about my life…. it would be greater than a whoopie cushion and stronger than a wet paper bag :)

      You know some stories are *never* meant to be told :)

  4. Remote controlled fan – the ultimate in laziness!
    Hope you get to finish that book soon, Mark. You’ve talked enough about it. We want to read it.

  5. Brinda says:

    I love your youngest child’s face in that pic. :) It was fun to hear about your writing life.

    • Hey Brinda,

      Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you weren’t bored reading about me :)

      I enjoy doing guest posts, but they do make me a little uncomfortable, too… isn’t that weird :)

  6. Julie Luek says:

    Ah a glimpse into the workspace behind the man. I love the Baby Monitor. Such a visual of your priorities. And oh my goodness, your little herd of kiddos are precious.

    Great feature idea!

  7. mooderino says:

    Mark’s certainly been around the world, and ended up in Hawaii! Nicely done.


  8. Patience definitely counts as a talent.

    I’m impressed at how you balance everything, Mark. You’re like superdad. 😀

  9. mlswift says:

    Good to get to know more about you, Mark! I’ve seen you around the blogs…trying to meet everyone. Wonderful that you are a father of three rambunctious sons – enjoy it. And…you bear a striking resemblance to nutschell. :)

  10. Tyrean says:

    Nutschell – I love these interviews on writing space!

    Mark – I love that your boys are important to you and that you write with a Baby Monitor by your side! That’s awesome! I also really like your quote. :-)

    • Hey,

      OMgosh I would be *lost* without the Baby Monitor…. all was fine until No. 3 Son came along… now my wife and I are “outnumbered” so the monitor evens up the playing field :)

  11. Mark, you’ve got a cool life. :) I love you point about being professional along with being passionate! Thanks for the interview, Nutschell!

  12. “I can’t help myself. It is my nature.” Me too! I write whether it’s for my WIPS, Poetry and even fan fiction or just random stuff. Reading books is my other ‘natural’ habit. You have a nice work space and a great family. Don’t ever take either for granted Mark.

  13. Johanna says:

    Such a great interew Mark! I learned so many things about you…from clown to showers. Good stuff :)

  14. Morgan Shamy says:

    You couldn’t have picked a better interview-ee, Nut! Mark is awesome. Cool to see his almighty workspace!

  15. Lynda Young says:

    Ha! I’d love to have a remote control for a fan. How cool!

  16. What a fun post! It sounds like he came up with a good way to keep his desk nice and neat. I had to laugh that he has to take a shower before writing- but I guess we all have our things. :)

  17. Livia says:

    Great interview, Mark! I write in the evenings, too! I don’t know how I possibly do it but I make it happen! You have a great writing space – it’s cool! :)

  18. Nas says:

    It was lovely reading about you Mark. Thanks for sharing. Loved the photo!

  19. Hey Nas,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment :)

  20. Leslie Rose says:

    Love the scorpion and the frog. So true. I dream of going to Ireland – family is from County Cork a few generations back.

  21. tara tyler says:

    what a cute bunch o boys you are!
    glad you shared your writing habitat & love the scorpion frog story! i feel the same way!

  22. Okay. So I’m coming late to the party. I still enjoyed reading about your workspace, Mark. :)

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