By Julie Kish

Centennial resident Nicholas de Kruyff says holding a copy of his first published novel is a “surreal experience.” He beams as he flips through the pages of Slippery Times, a highly entertaining and wildly imaginative science fiction farce.

“I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t make writing a priority until five years ago,” Nick said. He enjoyed writing stories when he attended Charlottetown Public School and Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate and has never forgotten the time his Grade 8 teacher praised his work and told him he should be a writer.

But in high school, Nick moved in a different direction and became a “Mowat drama kid.” His passion for acting led him to study theatre and creative writing at York University, where he met his wife.

During the 1990s, Nick pursued his acting career, performing in regional theatre and Stratford productions. He also appeared in hundreds of television commercials and published three short stories in prestigious science fiction journals.

He moved back to the Centennial area with his wife and two daughters in 2002 because he knew it would be the perfect place to raise a family. His parents still lived in the area, and he knew the schools were excellent. He refers to the Centennial community as a “hidden gem.”

Their house is on a quiet street and backs onto a wooded area close to the waterfront trail. He sometimes writes on his back deck, with the hum of the trains in the background and his rambunctious dog Lily periodically dropping partially-chewed soccer balls at his feet.

Slippery Times is Nick’s first published novel, but he has penned five other “practice” books that he has no intention of ever publishing and has two partially written novels he plans to finish.

Nick tries to write 2,000 words a day to keep his writing on track, which could take a couple of hours or all day. He finds rewriting and editing to be the most challenging and time-consuming part of the process.

He doesn’t use an outline when he writes; instead, he develops characters in his imagination and allows them to propel the story. Sometimes he’s surprised by the direction of the story and will say to himself, “Oh, that’s what this is about.” Slippery Times combines two stories that naturally merged together when the characters started to interact in his head.

When he isn’t writing, he enjoys scuba diving, cycling, photography and of course, reading. The excitement of seeing his first published novel in book stores has inspired him to keep writing.