Christoph Fischer is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read everything he’s ever written and when I found out he had recently published a new book, I Acouldn’t wait to ask him about it. Trust me, if Christoph has written it, it’s worth reading! This is a not-to-be missed book!
Christoph, why does an author write a certain book? Is it from personal experience, something that has always interested them, or something they’ve thought about?
That’s a very good question and particularly relevant to “Conditions” which is the first novel I wrote. As many first novels do – it reflects experiences and thoughts from my life. (Possibly too many, in fact, I cut a lot of paragraphs that had little to do with the story).
In “Conditions” I wrote about a dispute over material issues at the time of a funeral. The significant personal experience leading to this topic was the death of my father 18 years ago. Friendly relatives advised us children to get an independent advisor on how to split the estate and create records of who got what etc. – as to prevent future arguments and resentment. The three of us declined the offer because we were too grief struck to care. However, I didn’t want to write a memoir or tell a story as it happened and so in my book I explore characters that do care and argue over material things at the time of a family bereavement. That scenario was much more interesting to explore exactly because it bears no resemblance to my own experience.
As much as I would like to be a writer with a specific brand, a successful repetitive formula and bestselling series, I need to be involved with the topics of my books in order to get to the end of a story and often switch genres, as the ‘muse’ takes me to different places:
I have written Historical novels that explored the life and times of my ancestors. I used what I knew about them and what I found out about the eras and places during my family research. Then I wrote a contemporary novel about Alzheimers’ Disease, which affects so many people these days.
So, yes, all three apply to all of my books. Personal experiences inspire me but I need to have a strong interest in the subject that goes beyond anecdotal writing. Researching facts and working through the issues is important for me, too. Writing in that regard can be a learning curve for me and a mental process. A large portion of the editing process is dedicated to then make these heavy books more palatable.
Since my teens I’ve had friends or acquaintances who suffered with mental conditions, whether it be ‘regular depression’ or more obscure illnesses. Some were good friends, others I couldn’t relate to as well as I would have liked. However, those people kept popping up in my life and taught me a few things by sharing their thoughts and experiences with me. Observing them and witnessing some ‘naturals’ who knew intuitively just how to handle any type of ‘difficult’ people has always filled me with particular admiration and aspiration. Looking back now, I think it was always a given that my first novel would have mental health and being different as one of the main themes and that my characters would mostly be oddballs and ‘misfits’.
30 years ago many of these disorders were not diagnosed and people were branded as odd or as having ‘learning difficulties’. Nowadays we have labels, help systems and functioning treatment plans in place at least for some of them. I believe, however, that we all (myself included) still have a lot to learn about accepting and integrating ‘different’ into society, which is why I decided to publish “Conditions” instead of keeping it in a drawer.
I hope “Conditions” can help raise awareness and, as one kind reviewer phrased it, that it
“put a lovable face on a stigmatized group, and …[leaves reader]… feeling hopeful that with love, understanding, and proper medical care, mentally ill and autistic people can not only lead a full life, but enrich our world with their creative gifts.”
Thanks Christoph. Here’s some information about and links to his 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 Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395
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 Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
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
Time To Let Go:
Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/BtKs7
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG
When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw
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 now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.
Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. In May 2014 he published his first contemporary novel “Time To Let Go” in May. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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