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 possibility 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 up 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
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.