John (Joannes) Vermeulen (Antwerpen 13 mei 1941 - 23 augustus 2009), pseudonyms Tessy Bénigne, John Linden.
At the age of sixteen he wrote his first book: a science fiction novel for young people; it was published by Standaard Publishers in Antwerp.
Being a passionate sailor John Vermeulen soon started to write short stories about water-sports and yachting. It didn’t take him too long to become editor-in-chief of two Belgian yachting magazines and freelance writer for the Dutch magazine ‘Waterkampioen’.
During this time he also began to write novels. At first he stuck to science fiction, one of the author’s passions along with sailing, diving, gliding and horse-riding.
But after a while he started writing thrillers for Dutch publishing house Bruna. I a few years time half a dozen book were published around central character Ansen Wagner, some sort of feminist James Bond.
When his friend (and Bruna publisher) was appointed as publisher at Spectrum Publishers, John followed him. Now it was time for some more ‘serious’ thrillers.
SOLO RACE was awarded in 1988 with the ‘Award of the Grand Jury’. From HELLEPOEL, an ‘eco-thriller’ film rights were already sold before the book appeared in the bookshops.
After this successful episode, this versatile author explored yet another genre: the historical novel.
In 1992 DE EKSTER OP DE GALG was published, a novel about life and work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Unfortunately plans for a tv series on Dutch television were cancelled, but the book was translated in various languages.
The success of this wonderful book encouraged John to pursue this genre and more historical novels followed : about painter Jeroen Bosch, cartographer Gerard Mercator, Nostradamus and Leonard da Vinci.
Meanwhile Vermeulen kept on writing and publishing about water-sports, stories for young people, and short stories. Some of the latter being published in the American anthologies ‘World’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories’.
Yet another genre he discovered was writing for theatre: some of his comedies proofed to be quite successful among amateur players.
Vermeulen’s last thriller KOLONELS EN DIAMANTEN was published posthumously in 2011, together with HOMO SOLUS, a novel which contains many autobiographical elements.
John Vermeulen published more than fourty novels. No doubt he was one of Flanders most talented and versatile authors in the genre of adventure novels and thrillers.