Saturday, January 11, 2014

Author interview with the "mostly harmless" Author Christoph Fischer #HistoricalFiction #ASMSG

Today Author Christoph Fischer is taking center stage for "Open Mic Monday." I couldn't be happier to host this author today. His work is historical fiction, and after reading his books, I can't recommend them highly enough. They play out like movies with characters you truly grow to adore. Let's cue the spotlight…drum roll, please…welcome, the mostly harmless, Christoph Fischer!

     How long have you been writing?
I have only been writing for a few years. I never thought I would finish as much as a short story but then I had some spare time and an idea and wrote it down and it turned into a novel and then another one and that has continued ever since.

How do story ideas come to you?
I wish I knew that myself. With the trilogy it happened while I was doing some research into my family history. Reading about the circumstances of those times and knowing some vague anecdotes about my family drove my imagination into overdrive and the first plotlines wrote themselves.
The other stories ‘just happened’.

 Do you outline the plot?
I always plan the plot and the big events but my writing is very dynamic and I constantly need to change my ‘battle plan’ to fit how the story evolves. It is good fun writing that way.

What inspires you as an author?
Real life, real events and problems - and real people.

Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.

The Black Eagle Inn is a family saga set in post war Germany.
It was important for me to draw characters that showed the diversity of German people at the time and to show them as individuals. Conformity and intolerance was central to Hitler’s success and in my book many selfish, greedy or intolerant characters are confronted with changes and diversity, just like the country, and all need to redefine themselves.
I wanted it to be interesting and juicy, so I gave it a lot of drama. I suppose you can also read it as a big historical soap opera if you like.
Who were the biggest influences on you as a writer?
Some teachers and ‘guides’ who encouraged me to believe in myself, some excellent writers whose genius is inspiring and mainly my editors and beta readers whose pointed remarks hopefully help to make the books more palatable.
Who are some of your favorite authors, both fiction and non-fiction?
Lionel Shriver, Christos Tsiolkas, Brett Easton Ellis, Fyodor Dostoevsky and OSHO.
Murielle Cyr, Scott Stevens, P.C. Zick, Malla Duncan and Andrew Peters.
Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published, in regards to your writing career? 
The perfectionist in me always wants to go back and change that scene or maybe rewrite that chapter slightly but you need to let your work go at some point. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. I feel quite blessed how it all went for me. It is all a huge learning curve and I am enjoying it, getting by with a little help from many supportive friends. So far I have no regrets.
Do you do a lot of reading for pleasure or does it feel more like work these days?
I read a lot but still mostly for pleasure. I come across many other authors in internet discussion groups and I tend to get curious as to what and how they write. I also have friends who run a small bookshop. My pile of books to read is never ending but I am still a book addict who loves it.
Do you do a lot of research for your books? Based on your genre, I assume you do. When do you realize you have enough to start writing or do you write and research simultaneously?
I do a lot of research for my books. I think as author of historical novels you have to make sure you are not cutting corners and try to pass off a half-hearted effort to your readers.
When you start reading the same information a few times it is safe to begin writing.
I sometimes have to start early purely because I cannot hold back the words anymore and I get worried that I will forget all the best ideas. But I always go back to the beginning several times, rewrite and edit.
Throughout the writing, I continuously double check facts and re-visit sources to make sure I am as much inside of the story as my characters.

It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult? 
Plot, characters and titles all come far too easily to me. They almost happen instantly and then evolve naturally in the process. I can visualize entire scenes quickly in front of my eyes but I sometimes find it difficult to stop myself long enough to include enough details in the setting. I can see them but might fail to mention some important ones to the readers.
Outside of writing, what do you do for fun?
I love my three dogs and I spend several hours a day walking them and throwing the ball for the youngest. I also like exercise, jigsaw puzzles, hiking, good TV drama and comedy programs, entertaining friends, cheesy 80s pop, candy crush and bowling.
When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your books and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?
I hope someone will say that the books were worth reading and that people generally enjoyed or even learned a little from them.
I hope they will say something like “He was ok, he can come again.”

Maybe that quote from Douglas Adams “Mostly Harmless”
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.
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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 finalisation.


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