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: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360592170&sr=1-1 Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Luck-Weissensteiners-Volume-1/dp/1481130331/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360592210&sr=8-1&keywords=luck+of+the+weissensteiners Barnes and Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners-christoph-fischer/1113932211?ean=9781481130332 My websites: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16177343-the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners Twitter: https://twitter.com/ My Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/ 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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Christoph Fischer – THE EXCLUSIVEST INTERVIEW!!!

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: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

I am on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

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

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

And my review blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

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!

http://theindietribe.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/indietribe-gold-reviews-seven-indie-books-for-you-to-browse/

THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS by Christoph Fischer

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.

12 Feb 2013

Another great review on a great website

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http://networkedblogs.com/IbrKI

4.0 out of 5 stars The subplots are so subtle that they lure you in and then keep you captive, February 12, 2013
By
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.

WaAr

 

 

04 Feb 2013

My author feature in virtualwritersinc : The Way I Write

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http://authoressentials.virtualwritersinc.com/2013/02/the-way-i-write-by-christoph-fischer/

 

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.

 

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31 Jan 2013

Author interview on virtualwritersinc

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http://authoressentials.virtualwritersinc.com/2013/01/the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners-by-christoph-fischer/

 

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?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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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http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/506432109

 

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?

“Sebastian”

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.  http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/ 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.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMJDAJ2 (US) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Awakening-Judas-Curse-ebook/dp/B00AMJDAJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358179011&sr=8-1 (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. http://killerprotocols.blogspot.co.uk/

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. http://mikeronny.com/

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. http://pattersonty.wordpress.com/

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.

http://www.jimfox.info/

Related posts:

http://pattersonty.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/the-next-big-thing/

http://reviewerteamwinz.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/the-next-big-thing/

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