Iris van Ooyen, Author Spotlight

Poisoned Arrow

“How can you call what I have—what I did—a gift?”
Raised in solitude to protect her from the world—or is it the other way around?—Iris is fated to save Fleuris from a power-hungry priest. A spirit from the afterworld sends a legendary magician who teaches Iris to master the devastating power lining her veins.

Backed by her best friend Auran, Iris struggles to accept her destiny. But when their hiding place is pierced with poisonous arrows shot from the past, she must choose whether to listen to her heart or turn her curse into a gift. Will she find the strength within?


Are you struggling with your energy level? Living from weekend to weekend? Unsure why you feel the moods, energies and actions of others so deeply? You may be a sensitive soul.

Being busy and tired is a disease of our time. Some people wear their exhaustion like a badge of honor. Today’s pressure for high-energy performance, all the time, has trained us to ignore our body’s signals. But it is not normal to be tired most of the time.

TRUTH: We must learn how to take good care of ourselves, because we have never been taught.

Using personal stories, tips, and insights, Radiant will teach you how to move from being drained to having plenty of energy, and each section ends with an invitation to help you put the insights into practice:

  • Learn to manage your energy and take back control.
  • Get back in touch with your body and what it’s been trying to tell you.
  • Set (and uphold) healthy boundaries.
  • Increase your productivity and creativity.
  • Enhance your overall well-being.

Find a happy, healthy balance and start loving your life!

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Iris van Ooyen whose books Radiant and Poisoned Arrow both informed and entertained me from beginning to end. Radiant is the perfect book for those that enjoy self-help guides and are looking to live a more fulfilling life with more energy and an overall improved mood! And Poisoned Arrow is perfect for those that are looking to be taken on an adventure; but really the books can be read by anybody as they are flawlessly written and highly enjoyable! With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Iris van Ooyen will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Iris van Ooyen!

Iris van Ooyen is a creative entrepreneur and the creator of the SWEET POWER approach to personal and career development, growth, and self-care. An MBA with a background in corporate marketing, Iris combines her extensive business experience with her renowned razor-sharp intuitive insights in order to support thousands of clients in living fuller, healthier lives.

Now, how wonderful does Iris van Ooyen sound?! Iris van Ooyen is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Iris van Ooyen’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

I’m an author and transformational mentor and I live in the south of The Netherlands. I’ve been running my own business for twenty years and I love supporting people in their personal and professional growth. Whether it’s having more energy or steering clear from burnout, embracing your sensitivity or learning to trust your intuition. We’ll cover what’s needed for you to be able to truly love your life! 😉

I have a closet with too many dresses and I don’t go anywhere without organic dark chocolate and a bottle of filtered water. Nothing makes me smile as much as the huge fragrant roses in my garden. Except perhaps books.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

I’ve written a novel as well as a non-fiction book. Where the inspiration came from was completely different for these two books.

My first book is Poisoned Arrow, a YA Fantasy novel. It’s the story of a girl who needs to turn her curse into a gift—similar to what I went through myself when I had to learn to embrace my sensitivity and my intuitive abilities. It’s a coming-of-age story with some dystopian and paranormal elements. But most of all it’s an adventure with a strong woman as the heroine. There’s a deeper layer to the story for those open to see it.

For Poisoned Arrow it feels like the inspiration found me. I lay in bed one night and just before I fell asleep these three sentences came to mind:

They do it again.
I’m so tired.

Did I turn them on?

I got up and wrote this text down on the back of an envelope because it felt important. The next morning, I reread these sentences and thought “This could be a book.” I put it aside and several weeks later the first chapter poured out of me on a Saturday afternoon. I could barely keep up with writing. I was expected at my parents for dinner that night and the inspiration kept flowing so I recorded the text with the voice recorder on my phone. The following day I reread what I had written and felt this could be a book that I would write when I had more time.

Radiant: How to Have All the Energy You Need to Live a Life You Love is a self-help and self-care book and it was recently released. I believe most of us need to learn how to take good care of ourselves—because we’ve never been taught. This book helps you get clear on where you’re losing energy you don’t need to lose, what will bring you more energy and how you can make conscious decisions so you end up living a life you love.

Writing Radiant was something that had been in the back of my mind for a while. During the pandemic I realized the insights I had acquired over the years were much needed now—not later.

I’ve always been passionate about supporting people in having more energy and loving their life. That’s what I’ve assisted clients with for many years.

I believe life is meant to be enjoyed. We’re here to thrive—not just get by and survive, though that’s what many people are doing for a variety of reasons.

One of those reasons is lack of energy. Another important one is lack of clarity on what you truly want and what makes your heart sing. Plus many of us have lost touch with our body and our intuition.

That’s what happened to me when I was burnt out at the age of twenty-four. That period thought me a lot and it set me on a journey of self-discovery. Later when I started my own business, I ended up supporting people with the tools I had created for myself and what I had learned along the way, coupled with my sharp intuition.

Radiant is a combination of personal stories, tips and insights that will teach people how to move from being drained to having plenty of energy. At the end of each section, I added an invitation so you can immediately put the insights into practice.

I even created a complimentary webpage filled with exercises and guided meditations so readers receive maximum support integrating these new practices.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

Trust your instincts and write what bubbles up from inside. As I mentioned for my novel it feels like the book found me rather than the other way around. Write about something you’re passionate about or where you feel you have a message you need to share with the world.

Focus on the joy of writing and don’t worry about what readers might think. I believe when you enjoy the writing process that will ripple through in the book. Once you have a solid draft, you can ask beta readers for their input so you can clarify and finetune things. But remember it’s your book.

And don’t be afraid to speak your mind or say something controversial. The most important thing is that the book is true for you and how you view the world. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

For a novel I’d say the crucial thing is that you draw people into the story. Readers have to want to continue reading. A part of that is having characters that come alive on the page and that people can relate to—even when they don’t like the character.

For non-fiction the most important thing is that the book is clear, inviting and inspiring. For Radiant it was my goal to make the chapters easy to digest and to keep it light (both in the setup of the book as well as the design of the layout). Plus I made the conscious decision to include a lot of personal examples because I know that’s what I often enjoy and appreciate in a book.

What is your writing process like?

For my novel, after I wrote that first chapter, it took me a year to commit to writing the book. During that period, I was regularly reminded of the book and after about a year I decided I was going to write this novel today—not someday. And that even though it didn’t make any sense and I had no experience writing novels, I was going to do it because it seemed a lot of fun! And so I did.

I committed to writing 1500 words per day, including weekends, and I finished the first draft almost five months later. What worked for me was rereading what I had written the day before, and by the time I neared the end of that section I would know what to write next.

Anytime I was at a loss for how to continue, I would get up to make some tea. Usually by the time the water was boiling I had to run back to my desk to write down the next sentence 😉 Later when I was editing and had to add new scenes, the process wasn’t always as smooth. But I think part of the magic was my curiosity about how the story would unfold. I knew the broad strokes of what would happen in book one (It’s a trilogy) but not how the characters would get there and which adventures or challenges they would come across along the way.

The writing process for Radiant was an interesting journey of looking back at several formative moments in my life. I love how my personal journey turned out to be the red thread of moving from willpower to SWEET POWER(TM). That allowed me to see things in a new perspective. Hindsight made it abundantly clear these shifts were only able to occur thanks to a combination of my desire to grow and the need to change—given specific circumstances. My personal search for a way to feel better about being me and enjoying life, without being drained by people and the demands of living, resulted in the tools and tips described in this book. I decided to share the topics that had helped me and that have been most useful to clients. In addition, I had to research a lot of the facts that were common knowledge to me but that I wanted to attribute correctly.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

For Poisoned Arrow I researched things as I came across topics that warranted double-checking. I didn’t do any research prior to starting the book. My knowledge about essential oils and their properties came in handy when I decided to use herbs and potions in the story. I transferred what was true for e.g., lavender or cedarwood oil and used that as the obtained effect for the brews the magicians made.

For Radiant I researched e.g., the effects of sleep on your energy level and productivity, impacts of skincare on your health and the current statistics on burnout. I enjoyed diving deeper into the research methodology of David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. for his book Power vs Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior for my chapter about the impact of your vibration.

Many of these things I already knew but I had to verify the source and make sure to quote things properly to be able to use the insights in the book.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

For Poisoned Arrow it worked to use the ‘1500 words per day’ strategy. I need to have some sort of deadline or goal to keep the focus on writing because there are always a million other things to do. Generally, it works to create the time and space to write undisturbed so I can get into the flow. I like blocking off days to write. If I don’t have the space for that in my agenda, I try to create a 1-hour window for writing. I find that it helps to stay in touch with the book. If you leave the manuscript alone for too long, you’ll need to fight your way back in again. Or at least that’s what I have discovered is true for me.

There are also moments when I feel so inspired that I just have to write—like with that first chapter for my novel. But I don’t believe in waiting for the inspiration. You have to create the space for the inspiration to occur.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love reading! I’m a ferocious reader, 10-year-old me was already exploring the adult section in the library—having read everything in the children’s section more than once. At the moment I enjoy a lot of YA Fantasy like the books by Sarah J. Maas or Historical Fantasy such as written by Deborah Harkness.

When it comes to non-fiction, Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle are some of my favorites.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?  

I’m working on the sequel for Poisoned Arrow at the moment. I hope that book will be published in 2023!

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Iris van Ooyen! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the previews too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

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