21 Oct 2014

Guest post “Why does an author write a certain book?” and “Conditions” by Christoph Fischer #asmsg

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Today I’m re-blogging my post on Dianne Harmann’s website  who asked me on her blog why I wrote Conditions timthumb

 

Christoph, why does an author write a certain book? Is it from personal experience, something that has always interested them, or something they’ve thought about?

That’s a very good question and particularly relevant to “Conditions” which is the first novel I wrote. As many first novels do – it reflects experiences and thoughts from my life. (Possibly too many, in fact, I cut a lot of paragraphs that had little to do with the story).Conditions Book by Christoph Fischer

In “Conditions” I wrote about a dispute over material issues at the time of a funeral. The significant personal experience leading to this topic was the death of my father 18 years ago. Friendly relatives advised us children to get an independent advisor on how to split the estate and create records of who got what etc. – as to prevent future arguments and resentment. The three of us declined the offer because we were too grief struck to care. However, I didn’t want to write a memoir or tell a story as it happened and so in my book I explore characters that do care and argue over material things at the time of a family bereavement. That scenario was much more interesting to explore exactly because it bears no resemblance to my own experience.

As much as I would like to be a writer with a specific brand, a successful repetitive formula and bestselling series, I need to be involved with the topics of my books in order to get to the end of a story and often switch genres, as the ‘muse’ takes me to different places:
I have written Historical novels that explored the life and times of my ancestors. I used what I knew about them and what I found out about the eras and places during my family research. Then I wrote a contemporary novel about Alzheimers’ Disease, which affects so many people these days. FunPhotoBox1142911044zyytrv

So, yes, all three apply to all of my books. Personal experiences inspire me but I need to have a strong interest in the subject that goes beyond anecdotal writing. Researching facts and working through the issues is important for me, too. Writing in that regard can be a learning curve for me and a mental process. A large portion of the editing process is dedicated to then make these heavy books more palatable.

Since my teens I’ve had friends or acquaintances who suffered with mental conditions, whether it be ‘regular depression’ or more obscure illnesses. Some were good friends, others I couldn’t relate to as well as I would have liked. However, those people kept popping up in my life and taught me a few things by sharing their thoughts and experiences with me. Observing them and witnessing some ‘naturals’ who knew intuitively just how to handle any type of ‘difficult’ people has always filled me with particular admiration and aspiration. Looking back now, I think it was always a given that my first novel would have mental health and being different as one of the main themes and that my characters would mostly be oddballs and ‘misfits’.

30 years ago many of these disorders were not diagnosed and people were branded as odd or as having ‘learning difficulties’. Nowadays we have labels, help systems and functioning treatment plans in place at least for some of them. I believe, however, that we all (myself included) still have a lot to learn about accepting and integrating ‘different’ into society, which is why I decided to publish “Conditions” instead of keeping it in a drawer. PhotoFunia-14075f83

I hope “Conditions” can help raise awareness and, as one kind reviewer phrased it, that it
“put a lovable face on a stigmatized group, and …[leaves reader]… feeling hopeful that with love, understanding, and proper medical care, mentally ill and autistic people can not only lead a full life, but enrich our world with their creative gifts.”

Thanks Christoph. Here’s some information about and links to his books:

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.

On Amazon:  http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8

On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1

B&N  http://ow.ly/Btvas

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)

Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy 17834808

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/95jvSpHf5a/

B&N http://ow.ly/Btvbw

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/ 18468588

Time To Let Go:

Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ time-to-go-books2 big

On Goodreads:  http://ow.ly/BtKs7

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG

Conditions

When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw

Short Biography: 023

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. In May 2014 he published his first contemporary novel “Time To Let Go” in May. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

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

 

 

– See more at: http://dianneharman.com/blog/happen-in-your-family/#comment-1011

22 Jan 2014

Guest Blogger Dianne Harman: “THE MAKING OF TEA PARTY TEDDY’S LEGACY”

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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the wonderful Dianne Harman, who just released TEA PARTY TEDDY’S LEGACY. Dianne has already been my interview guest on this blog [Link to this interview ] and today she is letting us look ‘behind the scenes’ of her new book. Scroll down for my excited 5 star review! 

Author Dianne Harman on

THE MAKING OF TEA PARTY TEDDY’S LEGACY

(for my review and the Amazon link scroll down)

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          A common question writers get is whether or not the people and events in their books are real. If one is writing about events and people in the now, I don’t think they can escape from bringing in parts of themselves, knowingly or unknowingly. In other words, we bring to the table the sum of our experiences. Certainly, that’s been true for me.

          I wrote Tea Party Teddy after I’d been seated next to one of the most bigoted, biased politicians I’d ever met at two dinner parties two nights in a row.. And since my husband was a California State Senator and the number three man in the Republican Party in the California Legislature, I had met my share of them. We entertained Congressmen, Governors, Legislators, and Lobbyists of all political persuasion. I was one of the few people privy to the inside workings of politics, and trust me, it’s often not a very pretty picture.

          After I sat next to this politician, I began to wonder what his wife and family were like. I was also curious why he hated the illegal immigrants and even the legal immigrants. Where did that come from? His views were not “politically correct.” The story I made up in my mind became the book. The response to Tea Party Teddy was huge. Political papers and blogs featured it. People loved him or hated him and reviews reflected it. There were even a couple of low reviews from people who didn’t like my husband’s politics! My poor husband was never part of the book other than to read it

          What so many people missed was that the book was essentially a satire – a look at a minority of people who have a stranglehold on one political party. But make no mistake, money is mother’s milk in politics, and this minority can be counted on for big bucks! The book tells of a man whose fall stems from the need to get money to finance his campaign.

          I remember a Saturday morning many years ago when my husband mentioned he had a coffee meeting with a constituent in an hour. He’d just returned from a week of meetings in Washington, D.C. and I told him I thought he needed to take a break. His response: “So and so is a very heavy contributor to my campaigns. If he wants a meeting, he’s paid enough to get the meeting.” In other words, if they pay to play, a politician will listen to them – and probably vote for whatever it is they want.

          Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy was a natural offshoot of the first book. Nina and Bob, Teddy’s ex-wife and arch enemy, fall in love and get married. Bob decides to run for the California Legislature against a minister who has the same political beliefs and ethics of Tea Party Teddy. True? Not really, but some traits of politicians, donors, and aides I’d known found their way into the book. There are many good politicians and I made sure Bob was one of them. There’s a line in the book about politicians willing to trade their first-born if they could win a political race. Often, this is sad, but true. Legacy was probably motivated by a need to show there are still some honest politicians. I’ve noticed that once a politician gets beyond the local school board level, the monies they’ve taken to move up the ladder usually means they’re beholden to someone. If you doubt it, look at some of the bills that are passed, locally and nationally, then look at the politician’s voting record and check out his/her supporters. There’s usually a very clear nexus.

          I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Slade Kelly, the lovable reprobate private investigator. So many people have told me he is their very favorite character in my books. Since none of us is perfect, we can all probably identify with a less than perfect character – which may speak to why people love it when a politician is caught in a scandal. And those scandals are only the ones that see the light of day!  I’m in the midst of writing my third book in the Coyote series, and due to public demand, Slade Kelly is the pivotal person in the book!

Link to the book on your Amazon website: http://bookShow.me/B00HWXB8WC

Tea Party Legacy

My Review:

“Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy” by Dianne Harman is a great political thriller about the election campaign for the California State Assembly. Bob Silva, hero of the first book, Tea Party Teddy, runs against far right-wing Reverend Jim Thurston. Silva’s wife used to be married to Tea Party Teddy and is now heavily pregnant.

Harman sets up the rivals brilliantly within a short space of time and with excellent eye for details, background and characterisation. When Silva retreats from the election campaign for private reasons the Reverend needs to step up his game by all means necessary.
With dry wit, great observational skill and humour and with clear knowledge of political processes the author has delivered another excellent story that exposes greed and hunger for power and the extent to which some individuals will go to get what they want.
The term `legacy’ from the title reverberates throughout the story – a well-chosen title. The story is relatively short which is perfect for the tightly edited plot. Nothing is superfluous in this story, this is a well-paced and skilfully narrated novel full of suspense. A compelling and intelligent read that I most enjoyed. 5 enthusiastic and well deserved stars.

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