About Me

Afiena Leaf
Afiena Kamminga

Hello and welcome to the home of my historical fiction. I wonder What would you like to know about me? I’ll venture a guess.

Who? Where from?

I’m a writer who loves to read and write historical novels.

My present is in Canada — my yesterdays took place in the Netherlands.

I was born at the end of World War II, hazardous times for much of the world. My birth place, Deventer – 13th century Hanseatic town by the river IJssel — was routinely bombed.

After the war, Deventer enjoyed short-lived feature-film fame  by serving as a substitute location (instead of Arnhem, the actual site of the ill-fated Allied operation Market Garden) for the shooting of a Bridge too Far.

Deventer and IJssel River Netherlands

What next?


I spent my childhood in different parts of the Netherlands, moving with our family north, south, and west. For good measure I found my first job in the far East of the country. Then, running out of new spaces, I immigrated to Canada, second largest country in the world, to start again — new places, people, schools — first on Canada’s Atlantic east coast, eventually heading to the west coast to settle on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island

Why I write?

I was always blessed (?) with an inquisitive mind, and couldn’t wait to go to school. In no time I learned to read well — too fast perhaps.  I used to page forward stealthily through the book we were reading in class — finding my way back to the right page in a panic, when it was my turn to read out loud. Geography and history class were also among my favourite times at school, offering chances to travel from the familiar present and near-at-hand, to other times and far-away places.

Afiena with Horse
Afiena and Horse
After school came university — Law School to start with. I learned that a university degree or two can indeed lead to a job that puts bread on the table, but for all that, one is left with little time to write stories. And that was what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to be a writer since I was in grade 5. My best friend (in grade 6) asked me to help her write a free-subject essay.  I wrote a little story for her — about a baby bird I believe — and she turned it in. The teacher accused her of having copied the story from a book (teacher couldn’t name a particular book, but never mind) . My poor friend received the lowest possible mark and we cried over it together.

Still, the episode helped to firm up my budding ambition to become a writer of fiction, someone who creates stories and tells them in writing to others, who enjoy as I do, living multiple lives by sharing the trials and tribulations of fictional people, whose fictional lives in imagined settings of time and place are captured between the covers of a book.

What else?

At some point, of course, life took over. It happens even to writers, as it should. I met my husband and we moved out of town to build a small farm in rural New Brunswick, the first province one encounters in Atlantic Canada when traveling east from Montreal. We raised Welsh Cob horses, and Scottish Highland cattle, which took nearly all of our spare time and energy. I squeezed out mere slivers of time in those years to keep writing, producing short pieces of fiction and non-fiction.

Farm in New Brunswick

After twenty plus years we said goodbye to our farm and moved away — with two old horses, one dog and two cats — back to town life. All of us, including the horses, adjusted to smaller living quarters within town limits. And I turned to writing book length fiction.

Dogs in Snow - 4-19-2010
Afiena and Horse
Afiena and Friend