Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been be chatting with authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl . I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of months.
So far I’ve interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh and Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg . Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing them all and I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance. There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.
Today’s guest need little introduction. I’m really pleased to be chatting with my friend, Christoph Fisher. Christoph organised the first Llandeilo Book Fair this year and is now in the process of setting up another: http://llandeilobookfair.blogspot.co.uk/
Hi Christoph and welcome. Let’s start by asking you what books have most influenced your life?
I’m not sure which ones influenced me the most but here are some books that triggered big events in my life:
After reading “The Idiot” by Dostoevsky I became a true literary addict. Before then I liked reading, now I was hooked. I read all of his work and decided to find a way of living by working with books. I became a librarian.
I switched over to the travel industry after reading “Backpack” by Emily Barr. It is a thriller set in Asia but it is as much about finding yourself as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ – only with more bite.
- How do you develop your plots and characters?
I have basic plans for the story and the characters but I allow them to change as the story moves along. I often find that the great scene in Chapter 13, which I had built up to from the start, doesn’t feel right any more. I allow chaos during the first drafts and then iron things out in the re-writes.
- Tell us about your latest book?
Ludwika is about a Polish woman forced to work in Germany to fill the labour shortage during WW2. Although she is better off than other victims of the Nazi regime, her life gets disrupted beyond repair.
- We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?
In Ludwika’s case there is real-life inspiration. She was the mother of a friend of mine and I started writing her story after helping them find out more about their mother’s time in Germany.
- A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
I usually have a real villain in mind. One in particular found her way into two of my books. I imagine what they would say or do and then the writing comes to me very easily. In the re-writing process I make sure I change enough not to get sued.
- What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world-building within your book?
I used my grandparents as inspiration for two of my books. Their marriage was difficult for various reasons. In “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” I focus on the political circumstances and their life in Slovakia during WW2. In “Sebastian” I write about my grandfather and his disability.
Did you research for your book?
Yes. I think especially in historical fiction you need to get your facts right. In many cases the research came long before I had the idea for the book, so it wasn’t too arduous during the writing.
- What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting Ludwika go through her ordeals, knowing she was a real person and only in part product of my imagination.
- What was your favourite part to write and why?
One chapter in which Ludwika makes a new friend. I wanted to show how even in the darkest hours there can be hope, friendly encounters and a little joy.
- Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I learned that odd choices can make a lot of sense when you look at them closely and know the context. There are often good reasons for what appears irrational or risky.
- Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
I hope people will see that there were many heart-breaking tragedies and stories during that time. In comparison they may pale but for the individual they were still catastrophic.
- What are your future project(s)?
I am currently working on the sequel to my medical thriller “The Healer” and also on a humorous murder mystery.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Film and book critic.
- What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers/ new writers
Yes. Readers, please leave reviews for the books and recommend them to your friends. Your support is very important.
To new writers: Be true to yourself and don’t let yourself be discouraged.