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26 Mar 2014

Su Williams Author Interview #ASMSG Electorate blog hop

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1 Twitter photo w AdB-001

Today I have Su Williams on my blog as part of the ASMSG Electorate Blog Hop, a lucky choice since I adore her novel Dream Weaver. 

Here is my Interview with Sue: 

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person. What is your writing routine like – our daily routine and the process?

Thank you for hosting me here Christoph! Well, I live in the sometimes white/sometimes green Pacific Northwest with my husband Ben, and two of my four children, Aundraic, Jack, Josiah and Sarah. Our home is an ever changing menagerie of critters that now includes 2 cranky cats, an adorable crested gecko and my teddy puppy beagle. I’ve been writing most of my life—poems and short stories—but only tried my hand at a novel in the last 6 years. It has been a long journey of learning for me.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

My favorite authors—Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Meyer, Lisa McMann and Maggie Stiefvater influenced me to take on the challenge of writing a novel. And my family, especially my parents, have encouraged me to chase after this crazy dream. me n my bike

What do your family say about your books / your taking so much time up writing?

My family has been pretty supportive. We’ve all learned what kind of time it takes to create a single book and present it to the world. My husband gave me a standing ovation after reading my second book Rock Star; and my mom and dad are my constant champions…word of mouth IS the greatest advertisement, ya know.

When did you decided to write for young adults and in the paranormal genre?

I find even as an ‘adult’ I prefer to read young adult books. And I’ve always been drawn by the whole vampire, werewolf, magic kind of world.

How long does it take you to write and publish a book?

I’m not sure I can give a fair answer to that. Dream Weaver took me 5 years. I knew absolutely nothing about how to do it. So I took that time write, learn, edit, learn, go to conferences and learn and edit some more. Rock Star took me maybe a year. And Private Eye should be done within 6 months. I guess the more you learn the less time it takes you to write a good story. But I tend to be a perfectionist and put out the best quality of work I’m capable of.

What would you do if you did not write, so you have any other ambitions and creative outlets?

Shrivel up and die…oh you said if I didn’t write, not if I couldn’t write. I’d get an amazing camera and take pictures.

What is the easiest about writing and what is the hardest? Dream Weaver cover cropped final

I guess I might rank it like this: Easiest – writing. Not as much fun – editing. Hardest – promotion.

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story?

A lot of people toss around the term PTSD but don’t truly understand it. I’m not an expert by any means but PTSD has been a big part of my adult life. In a way, I guess I wanted people to understand the disorder better and show people who suffer from it that there’s light at the end of the tunnel…ya just gotta keep moving toward it. 

 Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

For the most part, yes. Dream Weaver holds a 4.4 star rating on Amazon; and Rock Star a 5. But there are always going to be people out there that don’t get it or like it.

What do you like most about your characters?

I love that this ‘journey’ hasn’t simply been their story. It’s been a learning adventure for me. From sleep stages and brain waves to historical facts of England in the 1750’s and America in the 1770’s and early 1900’s, the research has been interesting and bonded me to my characters a lot more closely. Even if the reader never knows that background, I still have my private scoop on each of them.

 Which one is your favourite?

Ya know, you’d think it was either of my main characters. But I’m actually more attached to a secondary character Sabre James the most. Sabre’s a bit of bad boy, a lot of an ass. It’s fun to write for him.

Who would play the characters in a film?  Rock_Star_Cover_for_Kindle

Emari Sweet – Haley Ramm

Nickolas Benedetti – Jackson Rathbone

Sabre James – Matthew Gray Gubler

Ivy Summer – Elle Fanning (Elle actually favorited an Oscars tweet I posted!)

Jesse DeLaRosa – JD Pardo

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

The final book in the Dream Weaver series is in the works now. I have twist on a zombie story that I’m percolating on and plan to pick my tattoo artist’s brain about ideas (he’s an avid zombie fan and apocalypse enthusiast); and an anecdotal short story collection of when I was a kid and stories my parents have told me called Sunshine and Daisies.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I LOVE to take pictures. My favorites are landscapes and normal objects from abnormal angles. Guess I like to look at the world a little differently than most.

What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

BOOKS: The Shiver series by Maggie Steifvater; Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series; Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead; Dead to You and the Wake/Fade/Gone series by Lisa McMann.

MOVIES: Bruce Almighty, Warm Bodies, Red Dawn, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…

TV: The Walking Dead, Revolution, Criminal Minds, Law & Order SVU

MUSIC: Evanescence, ACDC, Metallica, James Durbin, Good Charlotte, Bon Jovi, Halestorm…I could go on and on.

What are your views on independent publishing? blog background-001

Independent publishing is an amazing invention and I’m glad to have the resource. I believe every indie author should strive to put out the BEST material they can…even if that means they have to do what I did and spend years learning how to do it.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

I NEVER pass up a chance to give a shout out to my favorite indie author, Sam Whitehouse. Sam is a young writer from Great Britain that writes magically about magical worlds. I’ve loved him from the moment I read the first words he posted on Goodreads. Also, I love Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo and her horse Pie’s book. Pie: An Old Brown Horse…is written from the horse’s POV and tells the life story of 39 year old ranch horse.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

Who has time for friends as a writer??? LOL. No, they’d probably say…I’m a faithful friend and a HUGE dork. intro Sabre trailer-001

What would you say are you best and oddest qualities?

Personally, I think my tenacity is my best quality. I tend to be pretty longsuffering and stick with stuff even if it sucks. My oddity? I have a fascination with a local cemetery. And one grave in particular…that gave me the backstory for my character Nick.

What (not who!) would you take to a remote island?

My camera with tons of batteries; my computer so I could write; and a wheelbarrow of great paranormal books—lots of vamps and zoms!


Contact Links:

Su Williams on Facebook

Dream Weaver Novels on Facebook

Dream Weaver Novels Website

Su on Goodreads

Amazon Author Page for Su Williams

Buy Links:

Dream Weaver Global Link

Rock Star Global Link

Dream Weaver & Rock Star paperbacks on Create Space

Rafflecopter link:

All Stops on the Blog Hop: 

March 18, 2014

Kirstin Stein Pulioff

Ceri London

March 19

Stefania Mattana

March 20

Maer Wilson

Marsha Roberts

March 21

Sandra Robinson

Luca Rossi

March 22

Melodie Ramone

Anna George Othitis

March 23

Khalid Muhammad

Su Williams

March 24

Christoph Fischer

March 25

Hunter S Jones

Lillian Roberts

March 26

Murielle Cyr

March 27

Ian Hutson

 Jinx Schwartz

March 28

Dianne Harman

Shane KP O’Neill

March 29

Tina Power Traverse

Ann Rothchild


 meet Emari Sweet 2-001 Ivy & Jesse-001

Dare to Dream!

A dream you don’t fight for will haunt you for the rest of your life.

13 Mar 2013

Guest book highlight: “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” & “Sebastian” by Christoph Fischer

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Guest book highlight: “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” & “Sebastian” by Christoph Fischer

the luck book
 Plot of “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” 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 into life with the Winkelmeier clan. The political climate and slow disintegration of the multi-cultural society in Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and their families. The story follows their lot through the war with its torment, destruction and its unpredictability – and the equally hard times after. From the moment that Greta Weissensteiner enters the bookstore where Wilhelm Winkelmeier works, and entrances him with her good looks and serious ways, I was hooked. 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 Christoph Fischer gives his readers 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. Set in the fascinating area of Bratislava, this is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck. I cared about every one of this novel’s characters and continued to think about them long after I’d finished reading.

sebastian book

Plot of “Sebastian”:

This is the forthcoming second book by Christoph Fischer: Sebastian is the story of a young man in 1913 Vienna who has to come to terms with the amputation of his leg just before World War I. When his father is drafted to fight he has to step up and manage the family grocery store through the hard times, bad fortunes and changes of personnel. Vienna is the capital of a multi-cultural and multi-religious, liberal society that is on the verge of collapsing into several split nations, a development accelerated by the war. Against this backdrop Sebastian is finding himself and his own place in life.

What reviewers say:

… a story of the strength of the human spirit … survival and hope … I will not forget this read for a while to come.
This is a well-crafted work of literature. It makes excellent and proper use of language. The word choice and sentence structure used is truly inspired, and shows artistry … I was barely into this book and I felt that I was reading a work that had been published out of its era, as though it were a classic work, only discovered and released in the modern age. I would have believed this book was written in the time it was set in. The themes the author chose to addressed, from classism and anti-Semitism to religious bias, mental illness, and sexual orientation, were all well presented in plot, and nothing felt forced or even slightly out of place. I was, and still am amazed at the quality of craftsmanship shown in the storytelling. I expected a work of fiction. This was a work of art.
If you enjoy well drawn characters whose lives and choices so deftly represent the themes of a book, The Luck of the Weissensteiners provides a rich read. In some ways, this book reminds me of classics I read long ago like The Canterbury Tales, or even The Odyssey, due to the diversity of personalities and the theme of journeys. … we see a cross section of humanity. Through their eyes and reactions, we can appreciate the full range of real outcomes and experiences, happy to sad or shocking, that occurred to real individuals during this era. By the way, the title of the book was an outstanding choice.
It seems paradoxical that a book chronicling hatred, fear, loss and death can be uplifting, but The Luck of the Weissensteiners left me on a high. This is a story about the best human qualities: love, generosity, trust, faith and hope. Christoph Fischer has brilliantly combined emotive fiction with detailed, historical facts to create a powerful and engrossing story. Although I finished reading it five days ago I’m still affected by its message and still charmed by many of its characters.
The Weissensteiners is an intellectual achievement and a lesson in historical perspective, as we are reminded that history is just that, a story told from a human point of view. In any given period of time, there are as many stories as there are participants, along with many converging sensibilities. … this is decidedly not another rendition of the holocaust. The novel illustrates how the destruction of war rained down on both Jews and non-Jews, who were part of the same community, often got along quite well and even intermarried This is not a book that you will read and immediately forget. The effects of it will linger on, and that is the mark of a truly talented author.
For the whole time reading this I kept thinking to myself that every single bit of this book is written as thou the writer has actually been there, when all of this was happening. I truly admire his work and ability to research everything in such details, and this is a true work of art … this book has not lost my attention for one second, and I truly can tell that I can’t wait for book 2.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is the tale of a family. But it is also a tale about us. About some of us being evil, some of us cowards, some of us brave, but most of us innately good. Francis Bacon said some books are to be tasted, some to be swallowed… The Luck of the Weissensteiners is to be chewed and digested. I can see that the author has made a great effort to show the reader what turmoil families endured to remain in contact with their loved ones, which must have been quite some feat considering the displacement of Jews after the war had ended. Congratulations to Christoph, for what must have been many long hours researching details and information to ensure that the plight of the family was made ‘real’ to the reader.
It is not easy to write about history if one has not lived in the moment, since what one writes is colored by the opinions of others. Christoph Fischer pulls it off in The Luck of the Weissenteiners.
And this is no ordinary Holocaust tragedy: it is a much more subtle and far-ranging canvas than that. For Fischer is not dealing with the obvious victims of those troubled times, rather with families and individuals who were more on the periphery and therefore affected in unforeseeable ways. He makes the characters and the frightening and bewildering situations they face come vividly alive. You will find it hard to put down as you follow your favourite characters through one testing situation after another. I thoroughly recommend you read it.

About the Author

Christoph Fischer is a new author who has taken on an ambitious project of writing three historical novels set in different nations to discuss the subjects of Nations and identity. In his first instalment “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” he takes us to Slovakia in the 1930s and sheds light on complex political development while telling the story of one Jewish family from 1933 until 1946. In “Sebastian” he moves back in time to the Vienna of 1913 and tells how a different family in a different era is confronted with similar themes, albeit under less extreme circumstances. As German expat living in the UK and having family roots in Eastern Europe Fischer’s own experiences clearly add to the tone of his writing.  Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother near the border to Austria. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He soon 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 2012 and “Sebastian” in spring 2013. They are part of the Three Nations Trilogy which he plans to complete by the end of 2013.
27 Feb 2013

Interviewed by Paulette Mahurin

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A great honour for me today. Paulette Mahurin, the award sweeping author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, has featured me on her own blog. Thank you Paulette for your generous support. Coming from a writer like yourself it means a lot. Christoph Fischer

Meet the very talented Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

  Welcome Christoph Fischer, Author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners. I’m thrilled to have you here and ask a few questions from this great read, one of my favorites of 2012. Below is our interview, my review and some of his readers showing off the book. (Dog lovers don’t miss the photos of his girls) christoph coverchristoph photo   Your book has a title that implies a lucky family. Why did you choose this in the setting of Nazi Germany?   It was during writing that the title came to me and that was when the theme of ‘luck’ as one of the main issues of the book emerged. In war and in persecution, naked survival is already undoubtedly luck, but it is more complicated than that – as the stories of some of my characters hopefully will show. Under extreme circumstances, such as the Nazi period in Germany, many succumb to their scars, whereas others are lucky enough to survive in their humanity. Only by living through their trials with my characters during the process of writing did these things come clear to me.   What were the seeds of inspiration for you to write this story?   The seed of inspiration was a family anecdote about my grandparents, whose story I initially meant to tell. I never met my grandfather and my grandmother died when I was young. My aunt and my father told me different stories about the family history as well, and so my imagination was free to run wild about their marriage and their lives. I am sorry I cannot say more but I don’t want to give away any of the later plot.    Do you have any personal history or connection with this time and autocrities that went into the story?   My grandparents lived in Czechoslovakia before and during the war as part of the minority group of Germans who gave Hitler the excuse to invade. I know nothing about their political affiliation during that time. My father had to join the Hitler Youth – as every boy had to do – and he only said how scared he was to be punished for mistaking left for right when they had to march. After the war, the family was expelled from the country and spent many months in refugee camps in occupied Germany before finally settling. They lost their homes but fared much better than others in that time.   You started it with a love story but then you took the love story to an interesting place. Without spoiling the story what were your thoughts behind how you presented this.   The story developed naturally in the way it did. When writing the chapters, I sat down without knowing ever exactly what would happen. My imagination of how everyone would react to the events in the book took my characters on their individual paths; they were naughty characters who would not do as I had sometimes intended. I often did not understand their actions and only during the next re-write did their motives become clearer to me. I think I let them develop freely to show that they fell victim to their circumstances and their feelings.   There are a lot of really interesting characters in your story, some courageous and some evil and cowardly. Who do you relate with the most and why?   That is very difficult to answer. Whilst writing, at some point I identified with almost all of them and many lines in their dialogue would come straight from my own mouth. I would like to be like Jonah, Greta’s lovely and witty father; have some qualities of the generous Countess, a patron of the arts; or the selfless Alma, the help in the weaving business. On the other hand, I can be as moody as the Dutch painter Visser and even as self-involved as the wicked but ambiguous farmer’s wife Johanna.   What was the most shocking thing you learned while researching your book? How did you incorporate that into your story?   Fortunately nothing new that I learnt during my research was as shocking as the horror stories we already know about the holocaust. That aside, I was surprised to find many details and individual stories of suffering on a different scale. I was lost for choice which ones to choose and to incorporate and so I let ‘luck’ choose for me. Army movements, local uprisings and the timing of political measures could change lives overnight. Just as I had ‘saved’ my characters in one chapter, the next page brought new challenges.   Is there a question about your book you would love to be asked? If so, what is it?   Yes, the question is: Why are you writing a story about Jews when you are a descendant of Sudeten Germans who have lost all their land and possessions after the war?   What’s the answer? My heart certainly goes out to the poor innocent citizens who were drawn into Hitler’s vicious politics and had nothing to do with him; I grieve for their loss of home and sense of belonging, for the injustices that they had to suffer. But the story of that War belongs to the victims: Jews, Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals and so on. I could not bring myself to take the main focus at least away from that group. They are there but in minor roles. In Germany, there are still groups of descendants of these expelled Germans who lobby for retribution and a return of their former properties. My father publicly distanced himself from these people and taught me to look forward and not to try to waste my time trying to reverse history and reconstruct a past that is gone.   What would you like to say to your readers? Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and the works of independent authors. Without the publicity of established Publishers, we rely on your support and appreciate it very much. (From Paulette: Those were great answers and it helps to broaden the dept of all that you put into writing this very remarkable story. Thank you so much!) My Review: 5* Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of  the Weissensteiners , was an epic and impressive read.  The amount of research the author must have put into writing this story was evident by the well thought out and described times in time when geography was redirected by reigns of terror in Germany, in Russia, in the hearts of others that could watch nations of peoples, families torn apart and displaced. What starts out as a love story, a metaphor beginning in the spring of a young couple lives moves into the dark themes of our human shadow, where love turns to distrust and betrayal. This is a story of intolerance at its worst, but is also a story of the strength of the human spirit to help and do good at great risk. While parts were too overly narrative for my taste the story and oppression of the time were never lost on the read, which kept me involved in this story, that by the time I was half way into the story I wanted to take time off to sit and finish it, to find out what happened to all the characters in their struggle to escape and survive. Sadly, like all of life there is much sorrow and loss, reality, but there is also survival and hope. I will not forget this read for a while to come. Links: (provide all your links here – anything you want me to post) Amazon US: Amazon UK: Goodreads: Website: Blog: Facebook:  dog book 3dog reading bookdog book 2on the beach w:dog

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About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for “gross indecency” under Britian’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes’ imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs— Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)

25 Feb 2013

More praise for The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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Another 5 stars, thank you Graham Sharpe If you’ve read the blurb and any of the other reviews then you’ll already know that this is a story about the Weissensteiner family and their troubled journey through the Second World War. I’m not usually drawn to stories like this because I think I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen. A Jewish family, Hitler’s revolting regime and the horrors of the Holocaust can only have one dire outcome. It’s a bit like watching a film about the Titanic – you know the ship’s going to sink so why put yourself through it. I was so wrong to make this assumption. It seems paradoxical that a book chronicling hatred, fear, loss and death can be uplifting, but The Luck of the Weissensteiners left me on a high. This is a story about the best human qualities: love, generosity, trust, faith and hope. Christoph Fischer has brilliantly combined emotive fiction with detailed, historical facts to create a powerful and engrossing story. Although I finished reading it five days ago I’m still affected by its message and still charmed by many of its characters. I work regular nightshifts and my sleep is precious, but this book often kept me up well past my bedtime.

23 Feb 2013

Wonderful review of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an intellectual achievement and a lesson in historical perspective, as we are reminded that history is just that, a story told from a human point of view. In any given period of time, there are as many stories as there are participants, along with many converging sensibilities.

The setting is Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, 1933. We follow along with the Weissensteiner family on an epic journey, from the pre-WWII years to the end of the war, with an epilogue culminating during the fall of the Berlin wall. They are not an insular family, and have a great many friends and acquaintances that move in and out of the story line.

Greta and her family are Jewish, but this is decidedly not another rendition of the holocaust. The novel illustrates how the destruction of war rained down on both Jews and non-Jews, who were part of the same community, often got along quite well and even intermarried. We learn that, at least in Bratislava, many non-Jews detested the Nazi’s, and quietly tried to hide a Jewish friend or two, if they could manage without being discovered. Through no fault of their own, they too suffered terrible hardships, hunger and loss of property, sickness and death.

I think we readers are accustomed to accounts of WWII that portray the Jews as victims, and the non-Jews as either perpetrators or uninterested people out to save their own skins, but in the Weissensteiners there is no sharp line of demarcation. Instead, we see how ordinary people were swept up in the same storm of war and tossed about by fate. Through a bit of luck, some narrowly escape destruction, only to perish later on through one mistaken move, or an arbitrary unlucky event.

The families and extended families we meet are quite large, so the novel is chock full of people. We learn many details about their lives, their thoughts and feelings, their relationships, all through the voice of an omniscient narrator. There are many historical accounts that for me, read like a history book; sometimes the narration continues along this vein when describing the intimate details of people’s lives. These long periods of narration often felt rather distant, sounding like a reporter summing up the facts.

However, throughout some chapters there was lively dialogue that made you feel as if you were traveling along with real people, evoking the emotional connection that I especially enjoy in any novel. During these times I felt anger and fear, anxiety and relief. I also came away feeling that I learned something of the history and people of the region. All in all, I strongly recommend that you read The Luck of the Weissensteiners.

17 Feb 2013

Praise for my ‘short story’

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Earlier this year I published an excerpt from “Luck of the Weissensteiners” as short story on Readwave. This short comment is just too good to keep to myself.

  • The historical genre is not something that I usually go for but this was a solidly written piece of highly entertaining mainstream fiction with compelling characters and a fast paced story. If this is typical of the authors full length works, then I’m sure they enjoy a loyal and enthusiastic readership.

The full excerpt can be found here: Here is the beginning of the story:

Party for Jonah Weissensteiner

Bratislava 1942

The New Year’s Eve party at the manor house was once again the social event of the year. It was one of the few occasions where time seemed to have reverted to the ‘good old days of the monarchy’ during which so many of the guests had enjoyed privileges they were no longer accustomed to in the new and independent Slovakia. Many rich Hungarians had opted to stay here after the Great War hoping that it would be easier to keep their properties and money. They were concerned about the political instability of a republican Hungary where old enemies might seek retribution for the abuse of power and position but more so they feared a Bolshevik revolution. In the Czechoslovak state they had seen a tumbling of their influence at first due to the dominance of the Czech aristocracy followed by the German military leaders and their emerging Slovak ‘puppet’ politicians. The Hungarians were equally unpopular with the emerging intelligentsia and players of the Slovak society who still had their reservations against their former Magyar oppressors. To some it seemed a high price to pay for evading the threat of Communism. At the manor house ball however, all of these problems seemed forgotten or unimportant. The Countess did not tolerate heated debate or disagreement in her house. As a charitable and generous woman she was a shining example of a respectable modern Hungarian and a role model to her countrymen. The players in the current Slovak high society who had taken a shine to her also felt more positive to her countrymen. With her gift for diplomacy

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17 Feb 2013

Interview with the lovely Vickie McKeehan

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February 16, 2013 · by  · in BooksInterviewsPromote
Christoph Beach PicIt’s a great deal warmer here in Southern California than it was last weekend. Because of the weather I took dog lover and writer, Christoph Fischer, for an outing to Corona del Mar beach to enjoy a spectacular view of the ocean where we could enjoy the scenery and talk about his book, The Luck of the Weissensteiners. I’m curious. What made you want to tackle the anti-semitic politics of the 1930s? I mean, it’s fascinating but did you ever think twice about approaching that particular subject? And how long did it take you to pen The Luck of the Weissensteiners? I was interested in the history of Czechoslovakia because my father came to Germany from there in 1945. Learning about the history led to the Jewish question. I felt that the subject had already been done enough until I found so many small eye-witness reports about the particulars in Slovakia that I realized that there were still many angles and personal misfortunes to tell. It took me three months to write the story with a few minor re-writes. I spent six weeks prior to that reading books set in the period and history books. I love reading history. The eye-witness reports would have fascinated me which was probably the reason I was so drawn to all your characters. Since it’s the first book of The Three Nations Trilogy, I have to ask, how challenging is it to write a trilogy with such massive amounts of research? The research was interesting, mainly because of the family connection at first. I always wanted to know so the questions came naturally. I never felt it was a chore, I wondered too much myself how life would be like under those circumstances and just wanted to know more, so it was never hard work but felt more like a hobby. While I was writing I kept re-checking every single data, just to be sure. I was very scared that I would get something wrong and kept reading books about the period long after I had finished writing, just to ensure there would be no embarrassing moments when the book was out there. For once my punishing perfectionism paid off. The second part of my trilogy, Sebastian, was a little easier to research but again my curiosity was the leading factor to get started in the first place. It takes place in Vienna in the 1910s and the storyline is much less complicated. Even though I realize the statement you were making with Wilhelm’s character, you really made him such a weak man. I so wanted him to think for himself, appreciate what he had in Greta and his children. Were you ever tempted to make him less of a jerk? He started off as a nice guy in my head and I meant for him to fall victim to outer circumstances but then he became a workaholic and like in real life one thing led to another. As with all of my characters I try to give them excuses and there are some for Wilhelm – his grief and his insecurities – but I couldn’t make myself give him too many redeeming circumstances. It is the way I write, my characters take on a life of their own and what I plan for them often never happens. Who influenced you the most to take that fire in the belly and become a writer? A teacher, another author, a parent? This will sound very odd but I was foretold by a tarot card reader I would write and it was her persistence that made me try and realize that I could do it. Long before then I used to write for the school newspaper, little funny stories. One of my teachers, incidentally my German literature teacher at the time, Alois Pfaller, encouraged me and whenever I doubted myself while writing The Weissensteiners I could hear his words spurning me on. I worked in a library and a colleague who organized author readings there, Madlon Kopfler, she also encouraged me; and the team at my local bookshop in Bath. All of them are mentioned in the acknowledgments in my book. A tarot card reader? How unique! Maybe I should try that, see what she/he says. Did you always have the confidence to put your work out there for the public, or did it build slowly over time? That confidence came and went many times. Once I had written more than 100 pages and could read it without worry I began to entertain the idea of publishing. I was so excited about being able to write a book and getting it published at all that I never thought enough beyond that moment. Only when the first people bought it did I start worrying about the reception. I still wait for the first reviewer to tell me that I am a terrible writer. Oh Christoph, we will not encourage the naysayers, not today. What did you do before you became a writer? And how were you able to suppress that urge to write before you discovered an outlet? I didn’t have a creative outlet like this before I started writing. I read much more than I am able to do now. I walked my dogs and led a pretty quiet life. I trained to become a Reiki master and was actually writing the manual for a course I was going to give when the idea for The Weissensteiners came to my mind. Do you pay attention to negative reviews or criticism at all? Yes, of course I do. If the criticism is not written with hate or intended to hurt me then I certainly welcome constructive criticism. I think it is a great opportunity to learn and to improve. It takes guts to be honest and that needs to be honored. Someone has just spent several hours paying attention to your story, if they did not like it the least I can do is listen to what they say. You cannot please everyone so there will always be readers who are disappointed with what you write, but some of what these people say might be true and could be a real help. I’m so glad writers realize they can’t possibly please everyone. So on the flip side of that, how do you handle praise when people gush over your work? I love it, I often worry that it is not genuine and people are just being kind. Mainly it is a great relief when I feel that someone else has taken the time to read the book and has enjoyed it. I also like it when people read and like my book recommendations. It is great to share a story and moving if the story is the one you wrote. It is very interesting to see what it is that people liked about it, too. Are you ever tempted to write outside the genre you’re best known for? Yes. I have written six other novels already. They are in various stages of editing or still in draft versions. I needed to take a step away from historical fiction ever so often and in those moments I wrote contemporary fiction. One book is about Alzheimers, one is set in Africa and one about mental health. I guess if it is boring for me to write the same thing all the time it might be boring to read nothing but historical fiction. What kind of environment do you prefer around you when you write? Complete solitude or a bit of static noise in the background? Does that include listening to music? I prefer total silence and I write usually in a room overlooking the garden with as little distractions as possible. Music would be a distraction too. Although I never have experienced serious writers block I continuously worry to lose the thread or an idea. Writing at home however brings lots of distractions. Total silence? What is this total silence of which you speak? It does exist then? Good to know. I plan on putting that on my wish list. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at the laptop writing? I love reading, fiction and non-fiction – usually history, philosophy or psychology, I love films, walking the dogs, exercise, jigsaw puzzles, Tai Chi ad Chi-Gung. Needless to say, there is never enough time in the day for most of this. There’s never enough time for what we love doing, is there? Do you need to listen to music in order to set the mood for a scene while you’re creating it? I read a lot about the times, novels by other authors, to get me into the setting of my novels. Music is a distraction and it has little to do with my writing. What does happen however is that a tune will come to my mind during the day and the theme of that song gives me an idea of how to develop the story or write a scene in my current project. So music does have a place in my writing life. What is your own favorite character or storyline in your work that you love more than anyone else’s, more than any other author you’ve ever read that’s all yours? I loved Jonah, he seemed such a gentle father figure. He had all of the wit and irony of my own father and was a kind and liberal mind. Jonah’s humbleness being rewarded many times from unlikely sources was one of the threads in my book that I enjoyed most. Many of my proof readers loved the Countess and they infected me with their love, so she is now a close second. I did love the Countess but see where Jonah would finish in the top two. Where can people find your books? Your website? Your blog? My books are here: Luck of the Wess Amazon UK: Amazon US: Barnes and Nobles: My websites: Facebook: Goodreads: Twitter: My Blog: Thanks, Christoph! Now how about we take the dogs for lunch and grab a couple of mojitos?

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14 Feb 2013

Another great review

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Feb 13, 13
Read from January 05 to February 13, 2013
The Luck of the Weissensteiners – Book 1 of the Three Nations Trilogy by Christoph FischerA story that needs be told; ‘lest we forget’.

I give Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners – Book 1 of the Three Nations Trilogy 5 Stars.

Here is a powerful story of the fate of Eastern Europe through the years of tragedy that was World War II. The author shows us, through the eyes of the Weissensteiner family, the disintegration of the whole of human experience from the pressures exerted upon the population from the Nazi way of conquest. All decency (as well as loyalty, friendship, even the ties of family) implodes upon itself driven to extremes by hate, prejudice, fear and propaganda.

We see the innocence of youth evolve into desperation as Nazism begins to strangle Eastern Europe. We see its effects harden and sour all it touches for victim and victor alike as the war progresses to its fated end and beyond into the unsettled peace that followed. Christoph’s powerful writing style makes you feel the lives and struggles, even the fates, of his characters. Readers will remember why this story needs to be embraced – not only so we not forget but so we not condemn ourselves to relive these tragedies.

14 Feb 2013

Interview at Ty Patterson’s Blog

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14ThursdayFeb 2013

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This should be accompanied by an orchestral crescendo and I will totally understand if you pause reading this to put on your favorite inspirational music.

Right, you are back.

Christoph Fischer doesn’t need any introduction. If you still don’t know who he is, I suggest you visit your doctor since it is likely you are suffering from memory loss.

If after reading this interview, you haven’t been inspired to write, and write on a grand scale, then evolution has evaded you. No loss.

Buckle up. Here we go.


Who is Christoph Fischer? How did you end up being a writer?

Christoph Fischer is a man with too much time on his hands but not the patience to sit still and do nothing for very long. I have always loved books and stories but never considered the Imagepossibility of writing myself until a very convincing tarot card reader foretold me that I would. Curiosity got the better of me and I tried. Seven books later I am still not shutting up.

Why did you pick up WWII as the backdrop for The Luck of the Weissensteiners? Why that particular theme?

My father and his family were forced to leave Czechoslovakia after World War II and I never understood why. Everyone on that side of the family died while I was still young and with my own progressing age I started to wonder how they really lived. While I was reading books set in that period and in those locations it seemed impossible to me to write the story of these refugees. However hard their misfortunes were, it had to be other ‘victims’ of the War that would be my heroes.

Do you have family and/or friends that were impacted by WWII?

As I said above, my family were affected but they never spoke about it. They loved the Czech/ Slovak language and music and they clearly longed for their former home but they never demanded their life back – as still even the descendants of some of these refugees do. My father accepted the consequences and looked to the future, not back.

How did you go about researching for the book?

I started to read history books about Slovakia and Czechoslovakia, I checked on Wikipedia and I read a lot of books with similar themes. I read a lot about Judaism, too. Some of it was rather specific and academic. I produced fact sheets for each year and even for every month to make sure I was always on the right page. I continued reading about the era after I wrote the book and then went over my drafts again to check all the data. It was easy however as I had a genuine desire to know how it was and didn’t use the setting for effect.

Has any book changed your life? If yes which one, and how?

I can’t say that any book ever changed my life but many had a deep impact on me in that they changed my perspective or made me aware of complexities of human nature or events that I had not considered before. Lionel Shriver and Christos Tsiolkas are great writers whose to-the-bone honesty and uncompromising language exposes human nature in all its truth. It is impossible not to find yourself in those ambiguous and sometimes unlikeable characters. I love it because it takes us all of our high horse and gives us a better understanding of human nature as it really is. Some of these small snippets of wisdom can be life-changing I guess, although not on necessarily on a conscious level.

I read inspirational and philosophical books, some of which have impacted on me, but I don’t believe in advertising my beliefs and I try to keep separate from my writing.

You have written almost prosaically about the war. A lesser author would have dwelled in detail about the atrocities to write a tear-jerking story. Did you take this approach consciously?

Thank you for the compliment. I did not take that approach consciously but I found that when you deal with a subject that has been brought up so many times you find that many scenes or sub-plots don’t work because they have done before. I heard so much about the Sudeten Germans and their misfortunes in my youth on German TV that I was tired of it before I even wrote the first line. In the same way I felt it more intriguing to look at those Jews who did not end Imageup in a camp and see how their lives could play out. There is an obligation to pay respect to the victims of the holocaust because of the magnitude of what has happened but equally the lesser stories and dramas must not be forgotten.

How have you gone about promoting your book?

I went to a publishing weekend in London, organised by Hay House Publishing last year, went home and did nothing. When my book was about ready I started my own website, used Facebook and Goodreads almost exclusively. The contacts I made there then led to further contacts. I have sent my book to several Jewish organisations and Individuals, approached local book shops and joined a few independent promotional websites. None of this has been particularly coordinated but I have done alright.

My big shortcoming is my love for books. Once I was on those websites of authors promoting their work I found myself reading for pleasure, out of curiosity and exchanged reviews. Now I have a review website and a twitter account – all in its infancy.

What have been the highs and lows of publishing your book?

Highs have been the kindness of bigger authors and helpful individuals, such as Paulette Mahurin, Kerry Dwyer and Angella Graff; and reading great books, such as “The Warrior” by some Ty Patterson.

There have not been particular lows. As in all of life, you meet the occasional person with negative energy but I guess we meet more of those on the street than in the world of indie publishing.

What is the next project you are working on?

I am currently proof reading Sebastian, the next book in the trilogy, which is going back in time to World War I. A lot of the research I did for The Luck of the Weissensteiners opened new questions about the ‘golden days’ of Habsburg Vienna and I wanted to explore whether that was true or false.

I am also in the process of finishing the first draft of a new novel about the wars in Scandinavia.

Where can readers find more about you and your books?

My writing website is:

I am on Facebook:


And my review blog:

Do you have any words of advice to other self-published authors or those contemplating self-publishing?

Don’t be discouraged by the first bad review, it is only one person’s opinion. Be yourself, be optimistic and patient; Good things come to the one who can wait for them. There is a lot of fantastic support out for us all so let’s not forget our love for books.



12 Feb 2013

Two reviews in one day: The Indie Tribe

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Two reviews in one day – it must be Pancake Tuesday!


The story is set in three European countries, each affected by war and political intrigue.
It starts in Bratislava in 1933, when the heroine, Greta Weissensteiner meets and is immediately attracted to a young bookseller. The writer’s skill is evident this early on when he successfully depicts the difference in these two lovers. Two quite different characters, she a serious, quite old fashioned young lady, he a mischievous, devil may care romantic. Christoph Fischer captures the differences beautifully, together with the internal battles of each character to overcome them.
But such minor conflicts pale into insignificance as the full story takes over. It is, effectively, an incredibly powerful holocaust story, a tale which throws two families, one Jewish, one catholic, into turmoil.
Enduring love is challenged by the horrors of war, and the writer makes you care about each and every character.
It is not so much about the victims of the holocaust itself, as those on the edge of it, experiencing the heartache of it all, without the actual physical contact.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is the first of a planned trilogy, the complete work looking set to become a classic of our time.
This is not a book that you will read and immediately forget. The effects of it will linger on, and that is the mark of a truly talented author.
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 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’ is his first published work.
He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.


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