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12 Feb 2013

Another great review on a great website

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4.0 out of 5 stars The subplots are so subtle that they lure you in and then keep you captive, February 12, 2013
Wanda “Wandah Panda” (Pretoria, South Africa) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This book, a historical romance came as a pleasant surprise.
The plot line is simple, can Jews stay out of the hands of Nazi Germany when anti Semitism is at a high? The subplot was amazing.
The author plays off prejudice against a continent in a constant state of change with their people a diaspora group of settlers.
In such a Europe, where do you turn to? The fact that you were born Jewish but are not a practicing Jew must count for something, must it not? Surely it will.
But in a world where your neighbor on the one side is German and the other is for now, Romanian, who can you trust?

Cleverly woven into the plot and the main subplot is yet another prejudice, this one based on sexual preference and how do you trust your neighbors,
not with only your familial heritage but with a sexual preference that in the day saw practitioners as much persecuted as the Jews!

I loved that toward the end of the book the salvation as perceived by the persecutors at times against the protagonists and at others,
it is the persecutors that turns into the role of savior. Seldom, it seems, are things the way they seem.

The author then brilliantly introduces another prejudice although this one is used to the advantage of the family and friends fleeing so it may go unnoticed.
The author brings in mental illness in one of his protagonists and the prejudice that might bring.
This is never over played so that it takes away from the main plot line; instead it serves to highlight the main plot line.

The only problem I have with the book is that the author did not show any real emotional growth in his main positive role players while
characters such as Wilhelm digress soon and to such a degree that I found him extremely distasteful.
This is true for many other negative protagonists within this book.

The amount of research this author had to do to bring this book to publication is mind blowing,
the lines of diaspora communities in a time that was notorious for corrupt officials and inaccurate record keeping is amazing.

I have one more thing to mention about the very distasteful Wilhelm, in the beginning of the book we meet him as a young romantic,
well educated and well read young man. The epitaph of the scholar armed to rationally stand against irrational prejudice.
He soon gets swayed by really ridiculous propaganda… which got me thinking. If real evil flourish when good men stand by and do nothing,
does evil sprout from intellectuals that stand for no principles?
The irony of the title was not lost on me; it is one of those titles that will bring something different to each reader as they read along.
For me the irony was seated in the principle that luck when once is persecuted due to a birthright and nothing more, may not be luck at all.




04 Feb 2013

My author feature in virtualwritersinc : The Way I Write

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The Way I Write by Christoph Fischer

Published on Saturday, February 2, 2013 by 

I write novels almost exclusively and am always working on one; the idea for which usually sits with me for a long time while I try to find reasons why this story will never work. At this stage I am usually editing an old novel or still writing a different one so I am under no pressure at all to find a good new idea. Over time I find myself easing into an idea, making amendments to the original concept and finally coming to the point where I sit down and say to myself: “Hey what, give it a try.” It usually works, I have only stopped two out of 9 projects so far.

Most days I sit down as soon as I have walked the dogs in the early hours – I am a compulsive morning person just like my father – and write. The first idea of where the writing is going to take me today announces itself gradually and then suddenly demands to be written down, maybe just in sketches or as a collection of material for specific characters. Once I have started however, the story begins to tell itself and just seems to take off. While the structured part of me wants to hold back and plan the story line and events, worrying that it will be mayhem later and I will have a lot of inconsistencies and errors, everything seems to fall into place by itself: characters rebel, plots change and I have a hard time keeping up with it.

This kind of casual story telling often causes me grave concerns and self-doubts that my writing is just mindless rambling without a proper foundation. I console myself that I am not writing a murder mystery or a complex thriller but historical fiction, but the worry stays with me. Yet, every time I plan a scene or plotline it becomes disappointing for me as a writer to write it – I call it writing by numbers – or too stereotypical and too worn out. At approximately page 60, I stop and go back over the first few chapters. I am glad to say that I feel much happier when I go back over what I have written and I can see from a new perspective where the story might be going.

At page 120-ish the same process happens again and by then I usually am beginning to understand a little more how it will all come together and why I am writing this story in the first place. At this point the idea of a title often is born.

Once the story is finished / has found an ending, I go back over it several times, finding mistakes of continuity or other errors. I tend to leave the story like this for a few months before returning to it over and over again.

I feel lucky to be able to write the way I do. Whenever it comes to scenes that need to happen I find myself bored and uncomfortable, preferring the unknown and unexpected to the predictable and planned.

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany 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 lived in Loughborough, London, Brighton and Bath, 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.

01 Feb 2013

Another 5 stars on Amazon

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Another great review appeared on Amazon last night. This one was particularly well received by the author as it highlights several points that were important to him during the writing process.

With The Luck of the Weissensteiners, Volume One of the Three Nations Trilogy, Christoph Fischer is already blossoming into a great writer in this stunning novel about the Holocaust. Complex, multi-layered and painstakingly researched, The Luck of the Weissensteiners promises to be a trilogy on a grand scale. 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.



31 Jan 2013

Author interview on virtualwritersinc

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The Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer

Published on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by 

“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.” — Andrea Steiner, University of California Santa Cruz

The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an epic saga set in wartime Eastern Europe. It follows the lives of two families – one Jewish, one Catholic – and their entwined survival amidst the backdrop of the Second World War; first the fascist then the communist invasion and occupation of Slovakia, and the horror of the consequences of war. The reader is transported to a world of deception, fear, distrust and betrayal, alongside enduring love and family drama. Weissensteiners is a magnificent tale of human survival.

What are the main themes of your book?

“The Luck of the Weissensteiners” is about a Jewish family in Slovakia before, during and after World War II. They are mainly assimilated and not very noticeable at first in the multi-cultural society of post-Habsburg Czechoslovakia until Slovakia becomes independent and a fascist Axis power.

The book is about the ties between us and what binds us together, be that family, religion, national boundaries, friendship or ideology. It is also about what manifold misfortunes there were during that time – not just the obvious victims.

The book is the first in The Three Nations Trilogy, but not a Trilogy of the Twilight kind. It is a series of three books with similar themes, trying to shine a light on the same themes at different times in different Nations.

Who or what inspired your story?

My grandmother was from Sudeten Germany and forced to leave Czechoslovakia after the war. She never spoke much about it and after my father died I became very interested in the family roots and the history of that nation. During my ‘research’ I read many touching stories and I began to have a first idea. Initially closely based on her the plot soon took on a life of its own and new characters appeared and took over.

What do you like best about your primary characters?

Their goodness. I believe that most people have decency and kindness within them, even the really bad ones have trigger points that might bring out better sides of them. I tried to make the characters interesting and unpredictable, only stereotypical where it is necessary, but during the writing they all surprised me by acting differently than I wanted them to be. Those characters that aren’t that nice or good I tried to give other qualities that make you at least feel some kind of sympathy for them. That of course goes only for the primary characters. There have to be bad guys in a book about the war.

What are their worst peculiarities?

Peculiarities are generally a good thing. I like colourful and odd characters in real life as on the pages of a book. People in general often don’t think enough and get carried away either by their stubbornness or because of false pride and of course my heroes are not above that. Wishful thinking and naivety are what got many people of that time in trouble but it makes them also human and likeable in my view. Judge for yourself and let me know.

How does your main character evolve?

Greta grows up and develops from a shy bookworm into a responsible woman, not just because she has to but because she wants to. She doesn’t look back and gets on with her life.

What’s the principal message you want to send to your audience?

Don’t forget what it is to be a human being, be it out of fear or justifiable need or ideological beliefs. And don’t judge the ones who do forget, because not everyone is as strong as they would like to be.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about your book?

“Fischer avoids the easy tear jerking sentimentality often used by lesser writers when narrating tales of Jews in the Second World War. His sparse prose hammers home that shameful period in history that much more effectively.”

“This is a true work of art, and I cannot congratulate Mr. Fischer more on creating this amazing work.”

Where can we purchase it?

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany 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 lived in Loughborough, London, Brighton and Bath, 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.

15 Jan 2013

Another great review for Luck of the Weissensteiners

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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. It is even more difficult to write historical fiction based on events that were some of the most momentous in the last eighty odd years.

Christoph Fischer pulls it off in The Luck of the Weissenteiners.

This is the story of Greta Weissensteiner and the Weissensteiner family, a Jewish family in Bratislava in war torn Europe. The scope of the book is immense, covering Bratislava in the 1930s to Germany after the World War. The characters’ looming sense of dread in the build up to the war and how they navigate life during the war is real, palpable and believable. Fischer avoids the easy tear jerking sentimentality often used by lesser writers when narrating tales of Jews in the Second World War. His sparse prose hammers home that shameful period in history that much more effectively.

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.



14 Jan 2013

The Next Big Thing

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‘The Next Big Thing’ is about authors helping authors.  From the first day on the internet trying to promote my book I have also found a huge wealth of great books that needed publicity and reviews. I expected a competitive world in which everyone tries to push themselves forward but instead found generous and kind friends who are interested in each other’s work and are happy to help in any way they can. It is like one of them said to me: We are all connected.

I have been tagged for “The Next Big Thing” by Kerry Dwyer, an expat who now lives in France. She came across my humble beginnings on the internet marketing scene and kindly offered me a guest spot on her blog spot, asking me to write about “War and Peace in Literature”, which coincided with the release of my first book “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”. A kindness I will not easily forget.

Kerry’s first book is called “Ramblings in Ireland” and follows a small multi-national family on their holiday to Ireland, a humorous and lovely treat of a novel or in her own words:  A tangential ramble through the West of Ireland and the memoirs and musings of an ex pat Brit and her French husband.


What is the working title of your next book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

After writing “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”, which is set in Slovakia around WW2 there were many questions still open to me, like: Were the Habsburg days really that much better, especially for Jews? How did the Monarchy fall? How different was WW1 in comparison? Were times simpler then?

The other idea is plot related. My fatherly grandparents split in 1933 and my father and his sister got separated. Why, is a riddle to this day.  My father heard one story, my aunt another. The theme is picked up in “The Luck of the Weissensteieners” following one possible explanation, and the other possibility for the separation is the basic in “Sebastian”.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fiction

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Sebastian would suit Benedict Cumberbatch or Simon Bird.

In “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” I had visualised a German actress called Maria Schrader for the part of Greta and Kate Winslet as her sister Vilma. Ed O’Neill as their father Jonah and Glenn Close as the farmer’s wife Johanna, whose husband Benedict looks like Harvey Keitel to me.

Both books have a lot of characters, so it would be tricky to choose.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Sebastian: A young disabled boy in 1910s Vienna who has to assume responsibility for his family business because of the consequences of WW1 and his love life.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners: The struggle of a Jewish family in Slovakia between 1933 and 1946 as the multi-cultural country and its changing politics affect them and their friends.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


It will be self-published unless I am “discovered” before then.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?


I wrote the first draft in two months (three for Luck of the Weissensteiners) but rewrote it a few times following feedback or further deliberations.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Weissensteiners: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, although I must shy away from comparing myself to such great works

Sebastian: Maybe works by Stefan Zweig and Isaac Singer


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Both books had their original idea in actual anecdotes and stories of my own family. My grandparents lived in the German-populated areas of Czechoslovakia and I always wanted to find out how they lived and what it was like for them during the war. My grandfather had a leg amputation that was not related to the war, which was the basis for Sebastian

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Both books are part of a trilogy, called The Three Nations Trilogy.

I was particularly fascinated by the many changes of borders, the re-drawing of new nations and the concept of nationalism versus communism that swept the world during those times. What defines a nation, is it language, culture, loyalty to a throne or leader? On a more personal level is it religion, believes, family ties and marriages? While my first book homes in on the political borders, Sebastian focuses on the more personal ties – although it is impossible to completely separate them in either of the books.


The Next Big Thing tags


As part of ‘The Next Big Thing’ I am to tag five other authors. It seems so few when there are so many good authors out there who deserve a mention.  I have chosen these five who were brought to my attention during 2012.


Angella Graff is my first choice. She has recently released “Awakening”, the first of 12 books in her series “The Judas Curse”. Urban fantasy is not my usual genre but her book is not just a thriller with a supernatural twist, it is a deep and meaningful exploration of what makes people believe, e.g. the authenticity of the gospels or miracles. On top of all that food for thought the writing flows so easily, Angella could write a copy of the phone book and I would want to read it. (US) (UK)


David E. Manuel is a talented crime fiction writer whose work I had the pleasure to review. He has published three books in the Richard Paladin series:  Killer Protocols, Clean Coal Killers and The Tree Killers. Manuel gives great detail to his characters and complex story lines and each of his books follows a different direction, making it unpredictable and entertaining.

Mike Ronny is a very talented short story writer whose work in his own words can wittily be described as “bedtime stories for grown-ups”. They deal with unlikely heroes and colourful and unusual characters: Teenagers, underdogs and old men. I am not usually a fan of short stories but these are a real find in my view.

I came across Ty Patterson and his recent book “The Warrior” on Goodreads and a good read it was. It is on the surface a fairly typical action thriller about a personal vendetta between mercenaries in Africa but contains a lot of intelligent plotting, depth and great writing skills.

My fifth recommendation is Jim Fox, an inspirational speaker and writer who published “Be Still” late in 2012, a collection of small snippets of spiritual guidance and personal wisdom – some of which are more familiar than others. All of them use the common thread, an invite to be still. I found these very refreshing and indeed inspirational.

Related posts:

08 Jan 2013

More positive publicity

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31 Dec 2012

Three reviews in one day for The Luck of the Weissensteiner, that is what I call luck!

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Thank you Christoph for allowing me to step out of my comfort zone and into your world of historical fiction. What an amazing read and one I will not forget quickly. It gave me a much greater insight into the lives of the Jewish community in eastern Europe during WW2, and their struggle to survive the multitude of obstacles and abuse. This is a must read! Well done Christoph, I can not wait to read book two of the trilogy.


I was recommended this book by a friend of the author. I have never been much of a reader of historical books and facts, however I was quite pleasantly surprised when I finally got stuck into the intertwining story of Greta and her family, extended family and friends.
It seemed a good portrayal of life for the Jewish community throughout Europe during the start and course of the second world war…nothing which I can remember being taught of at school. Although this is a fictional story and in parts not quite as beleivable as I would have thought, I can see that the author has made a great effort to show the reader what turmoils 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.

22 Dec 2012

My fan club

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22 Dec 2012

My peak on the Amazon charts?

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