Since I set out on my Adventures in Indie Publishing, I’ve had the honor of getting to know a great many Indie Authors through social media, book events, conferences, and workshops. Although I’m a fantasy writer myself, I read a broad cross-section of genres, and one of those Indie Authors who has particularly captured my imagination has been Christoph Fischer. A historical fiction writer whose work is anything but dry and fact-riddled, his work features complex and multifaceted characters, deft prose-work, and a clean, clear writing style. When I learned that he had a new project coming out soon, I leaped at the chance to get a little sneak peek.
Christoph, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview. I’m really glad to have you here on The 13th Question. I’m eager to learn more about you and your work, so I hope you don’t mind if we jump straight in.
Who’s your favorite author? Please name three things you have in common with your favorite author.
Christos Tsiolkas. We’re both passionate about social issues in our writing. We’re both gay immigrants and we both swear a lot.
Where are you from?
I was born in Bavaria but I have spent the last half of my life in the UK.
Ahh, I love Bavaria. I was on holiday in Münich about 10 years ago, it was beautiful. Your countrymen were very hospitable, taking me to a biergarten, making sure I was treated to proper German beer and steering me clear of the local constabulary (“Poppa Smurfs”, as they called them) on my way back to my hotel. But I digress…
Please tell me a little about yourself, your education, and your family life.
I was born into a large Catholic family in a small town in Bavaria. I did my A-levels and then wanted to see the big wide world and moved to the opposite side of Germany, to Hamburg, to study. An exchange programme took me from there to the UK where I have lived ever since. I have worked for the British Film Institute and British Airways. After many years of travel and excitement in my last job I am now settled as full time writer and house husband in West Wales.
What roles do love and affection play in your life?
They play a central role. My partner and I have several dogs who complete our family.
Dogs and a loyal partner: who can ask for more?
Please, share your latest news with us?
I’m in the final stages of publishing “Ludwika,” a new historical novel about a Polish woman in Germany during World War 2. I hope to present the book in London at the Kensington Christmas Book Fair in London, December this year.
What inspired you to write your first/latest book?
The book was inspired by a real story. Ludwika’s family asked for my assistance in their ancestry research because one of my other books, “The Luck of the Weissensteiners,” touches upon similar issues of Displaced People in Germany after WW2. With strong support from my sister, who still lives in Germany, I spent several months gathering data and contacts. I was fascinated by the subject and re-read a lot of the books and sources and then decided to fictionalise Ludwika’s life.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“Ludwika” is the story of a Polish woman trapped in Germany during World War 2. She is forced to leave her family behind and come to the Reich in aid of the labour-shortage of Poland’s enemy. Her life is full of trials and tests, fear and uncertainty, but also unexpected humanity, kindness and love.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that people in extreme situations, like during WW2, had to make incredibly tough choices. There was no logic, guarantees or protection from the madness that raged at the time. So much bravery and hardship remains to be told and understood. By telling my story I hope to help fester humanitarian values.
What book are you reading now?
“Fatal Eclipse” by Dermot Davis (psychological thriller – really good).
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be true to yourself, write about what you know and what inspires you. Don’t be discouraged but learn from your critics.
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
A few weeks back when talking about one of my dogs who recently passed away. By myself also that week, for the same reason.
That’s always hard, the passing of a valued friend. I’m very sorry for your loss. At the risk of turning morbid…
The Dreaded 13th Question: Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
A freak accident, something like being trapped under a bus or falling out of the sky from a roller coaster. I can be very absent minded and clumsy, so I guess I have that coming.
Sounds a lot like me. I expect I’m going to walk out in front of a bus one day while day-dreaming about my own work.
How can we follow your career?
Thanks so much for your time, Christoph. I’m really looking forward to “Ludwika.” For readers interested in learning more about Christoph and his work, please check him out. You won’t be disappointed.
Praise for Christoph’s “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”:
…stunning novel about the Holocaust. Complex, multi-layered and painstakingly researched, The Luck of the Weissensteiners.. 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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and multi-layered — 31 Jan 2013 By Constant Reader
This is a true work of art, and I cannot congratulate Mr. Fischer more on creating this amazing work. Really looking forward on reading the rest of the series. — Jan 16, 2013, Maja Majdak rated it 5 of 5 stars
I’m not a fan of dry fact-laden historical novels, but I can say that this book does not fall into this category so please don’t be put off by any preconceptions you may have towards this genre. I’m certainly glad I followed my friend’s advice, and was richly rewarded by the author’s complex and multifaceted characters, his deft use of prose, and his clean and clear writing style.It would be easy to fall into the trap of melodramatic and hysterical writing when dealing with the horrors of war and human suffering; the author never takes this easy option, he maintains that clear and concise style throughout the novel allowing his characters to tell their own stories.This is not a light fluffy read: it’s a deeply engaging and complex story, sections of which I had to read several times to get the maximum benefit.
I can highly recommend this book, both for fans of the genre and also for those who like solid well written novel, regardless of genre.
—Mar 19, 2013, Matthew Gough rated it 5 of 5 stars