Sunday, March 16, 2014

SPOTLIGHT WITH THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR CHRISTOPH FISCHER

I am incredibly excited today to welcome on my blog an exceptional author, 
Christoph Fischer for a delightful interview. 

Christoph is the Author of the very popular 
"Three Nations Trilogy" 

"The Luck of the Weissensteiners", "Sebastian" and "The Black Eagle Inn".






Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he is still resident today. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; 'Sebastian' in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization.


I asked Christoph for a short interview in order for us to get to know him a little better. So please sit back and enjoy!!


Tell us a little about yourself. 

I am a German ex-patriot living with my partner and three labradoodles in the countryside in the UK. I love reading and writing, dogs, exercise, films and comedy programs.  

What inspired you to write your first book? 

The first book I wrote (yet, to be published) was inspired by a very hostile funeral that I once attended. I was unprepared for the aggressive emotions on display without disguise, all at a time of grief and bereavement. I tried to imagine what went on in people’s minds and how things could have possibly reached a state like this. I sat down to write a short story about it and ended up with a novel.
The first book that I actually published was the result of family research about my father’s family and their background in Czechoslovakia. Nobody is still alive who could tell me the exact details of their story, so I read novels and history books about the times to get a better picture: there are so many stories to be told

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

With “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” I found it hard to leave historic details out that were not essential for the plot, but which I found very fascinating. I had only just found out those facts and wanted them in the story but my editors cut a lot of it out. 

How much of the book is realistic? 

Sadly almost everything in the book could have happened. After I finished the first draft I kept reading and researching and trying to verify everything I had written from two separate sources; there are hundreds of similar stories and tragic lives and plenty of pictures and sources to document them. Additionally, I spoke to a few survivors and their relatives. 
In my book there is a large amount of luck involved for some characters, but I feel that in historical fiction truthfulness and realistic plots are essential, so I tried not to sway into speculation. 

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

When I write a scene I always try to get into the head of all characters, so they all end up with my own life experiences as background. 
A lot of the plot is based around the marriage of my grandparents and their life in Czechoslovakia at that time. The Weissensteiner sisters are based on two family members. They never spoke about their time and experiences, and I only knew fragments of their specific story, so imagination did come into play. I had advice from some eye witnesses but my characters developed also in different directions than I originally had in mind, too. So it is a mixture of truth and fiction. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I learned a lot about history and about the concept of ‘luck’. I learned to love the bad and the mediocre characters as well as the good ones. They were all my “creations” or “children”. Writing a book can teach you a lot about yourself and who you are. Writing the book has helped me reflect on myself and hopefully as result to evolve. 

Are there places or settings in your books that hold a special meaning for you? 
My father grew up in Bratislava and Brno, so those places had to be in the book. Learning about Bratislava’s history and fascinating culture before WW2 has made it special in my heart. 
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
There are several messages in the book, mainly about humanity, personal growth and resilience. I want people to see that there were so many different lives and misfortunes, many stories to be told and learned from. 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
Patrick Gale has inspired me with his character and family driven plots and with his early inclusion of gay characters in his work without them becoming gay books. In real life, Paulette Mahurin [The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap] and Angella Graff [The Judas Curse] have invested a lot of time in me and my writing. Their feedback has been invaluable to my writing. 
Describe your books in a tweet (140 characters or less) 
THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS: 
Life in Slovakia during WW2 and the lot of a Jewish weaver family & their friends between 1933&1946. Survival during a dark era of history.
 SEBASTIAN: 
Life in Vienna during WW1: A Jewish family, their family shop, a handicap, love, romance and modern times. The end of Habsburgs Belle Epoche. 
THE BLACK EAGLE INN
A family saga set in Bavaria after WW2: Greed, money, politics, religion and redemption. A family business as metaphor & a plea for humanity. 
What are your current projects? 
A TIME TO LET GO is currently in the final stages of editing. It is a contemporary family drama in which the mother’s Alzheimer’s disease forces the family dynamics to change.
IN SEARCH OF A REVOLUTION (working title) is a Scandinavian war drama taking place between 1918 and 1950 in Denmark, Finland, Russia and Norway. 
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. 
Daz Simpson and his company http://www.nethed.com/ He is a good friend of mine and he pushed me to publish my book, designs the covers for me and helps with the running of my blog / web pages by telling me about all the latest “things” that should be on there. 
Do you see writing as a career? 
Yes. It has become more than just a hobby. 
What are your hobbies when you're not writing? 
Reading, running, walking the dogs, Tai Chi, Meditation, swimming, history, philosophy, psychology, a little bit of gardening, entertaining friends, board games and cheesy pop. 
Describe yourself in 5 words. 
Caring, mischievous, passionate, sensitive and grumpy. 
Why did you want to become a writer? 
I never wanted to become a writer until the stories surprisingly found me. I was lucky to have had the time to write them down and work on them. Luck pushed me in this unexpected direction. When I finished the stories I wanted to publish the books because I believe they hold something interesting for others. 
What did it feel like when you found out you were going to be published for the first time? 
Scary and excited. 
Where and when do you write? 
I write best in the early morning hours, before anyone else is up, in a secluded part of the house. 
What's the worst summer job you've ever had? 
I worked in a lot of museums and libraries, but I loved all of my jobs. 



Please tell us a little about the books




The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)



In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck. 


On Amazon:  http://bookshow.me/B00AFQC4QC
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8




Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)



Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the 'golden days' of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, "The Luck of The Weissensteiners" we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time. 

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sebastian-mr-christoph-fischer/1115243053?ean=9781484156001





The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)


The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.
Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/




Thank you Christoph for a wonderful interview.
Where can the readers find you ?

http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

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