As a girl, Marian Rijk wanted to become a detective. She devoured Agatha Christie novels because she loved solving puzzles. Now she creates them in her own thrillers. Blauwdruk (Blueprint), her second novel, published last year, was set in the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft.
‘He had not been at the faculty for thirteen years. The old building had since burned down, a new building was taken into use and the professor has been suspended. A new start.’
When she was studying Industrial Design Engineering, Rijk had not yet started writing. That happened about six years ago, as a hobby. “I always had a tendency to make up stories and intrigues. Then someone said: What an imagination you have, you should write a book!” After a course in creative writing at Scriptplus in Amsterdam, she found herself a publisher for her first book, written under the pseudonym Marian Rijk.
She was labelled a ‘literary thriller’ writer and her publisher insisted on a new book each year. That proved difficult. So she decided to self-publish her second thriller, about the dangers faced by a girl in search of her biological father. Blauwdruk was published in October, after “a lot of stress and panic attacks,” as she admits in her blog.
Professionally, Rijk has been developing products for online learning for around ten years, for the publishers ThiemeMeulenhoff, Bright Alley, Noordhoff and Vilans. User-friendliness is her byword. “I have always been preoccupied by buttons and screens. Do people know what they have to do? That was the main theme in my studies.”
It should therefore come as no surprise that she graduated at Philips in 1998 after devising a system to enable parents to set their TV so that their children can only watch non-violent programmes. Rijk then started
developing websites at Centric, for Neckermann, for example. They wanted to develop a user-friendly way of enabling people to book holidays on their website, with easy-to-use buttons. It was the perfect job for Rijk.
At Bright Alley, she became project manager, developing digital training courses. These included a simulation for flight attendants on how to use a new oven and a course for Hema staff on operating the checkout. In her current job at Vilans, which specialises in long-term care, she is developing e-learning solutions for healthcare professionals.
She still spends all her free time writing. She is currently working on her third book, an historical novel scheduled for completion in March. She is also collaborating on a script for a murder dinner: a return to her true love of puzzles.