This week I asked a favourite author of mine a couple of questions, which he kindly answered even while in the middle of moving house. 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 town in West Wales. 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. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015 and his latest historical novel “In Search of a Revolution” in March 2015.
He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation. I recently read one of his novels, Conditions, and loved it!
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.
While Charles does have a mental condition in this story, the story itself is more about the human condition. So true to life Conditions is an intricately woven tale that shows how we often see the opposite of what is true, and how whole lives can be destroyed by believing only what we see on the surface of things. I love Christoph Fischer’s warm and easy style – he brings to my mind Joanna Trollope whose tales of real life issues and the things people do to each other without meaning to are favourites of mine.
Mothers are behind much of what goes wrong in the lives of brothers Tony and Charles. One wanting to be at her daughter’s wedding more than wanting for her daughter to have what she wants, and the other concealing a shameful truth. From the first page I was instantly immersed and invested in the lives of the characters in the story. Every one of them have enormous and distinctive ways. I loved sweet Charles all the way, and I pretty much hated Tony and Claire for most of the way – which definitely points at my own very human condition. From blindly hating on behalf of friendship to blindly loving a hateful man, this book explores the ways people see, and react to what they think is true.
Every incident in this book was great – they were all real to me. A beautifully crafted work of literary fiction, that I can find not a single fault with. I loved it, and I’m looking forward to reading all of Christoph Fischer’s other books. He has prodigious talent and a warm heart that shines from every page.
What inspired you to write Conditions?
The central conflict between brothers came from a funeral I once attended – not unlike the one in Conditions. I was shocked and fascinated by the hate and anger I witnessed there. It was a stark contrast to my family where sharing grief over a loved one has always reunited people and made everyone forget stupid arguments.
The characters in the story are so vibrant and real. Charles has some fabulous friends, each one of them now friends of mine too – especially the larger than life Sarah. I loved the way some of the others really made me REALLY angry, but in the end I warmed to them as well. Are any of the characters in this book based on real people, or did you make them all yourself?
Thank you. Some of them were initially inspired by real people but then the characters took on their own shape as the plot continued. For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing: seeing how the story and the characters develop. Larger than life Sarah is based on a lovely woman whom I met only briefly on an airplane. She left a memorable impression on me and became Sarah without me even thinking about it. Unfortunately, I’ve met a few couples like Clive and Martha or Clare and Tony and although the characters are not based on any of them in particular they could easily be.
Will there be a sequel? (I hope so)
Yes, there will be. I’ve begun work on it and hope to release it in 2016.
How much of “you” goes into your stories?
Conditions was the first book that I ever wrote, so a lot of me went into the first few drafts (and a lot of editing work went into cutting that back out and bringing the focus onto the story itself). Friends who read the first draft said I was most like Simon (I disagree lol) and that influenced later versions, as I gave him his own life and different issues. All characters probably have something of me. Whenever I write a scene I try to think like that character and as a consequence of this they in turn will think l as I do.
What are you working on now?
I am in the last stages of editing my next book, a thriller called The Gamblers, which I hope to release in June. It is the story of an accountant with an obsession for numbers and gambling. After winning the Lottery his life changes, but not only for the better. He falls under the spell of a charismatic gambler and finds love with a stewardess but he develops deep suspicions about both of them and finds himself trapped between paranoia and trust.
Share a little with us about your writing life. How and where do you go about producing your stories?
How: Inspiration usually comes from an odd historical fact or a topic that gets me interested. I do some research and the plot starts to form during that process. As soon as I have the basic idea for the story I start writing (feverishly and consumed until I have finished the draft). The characters and plots often change throughout the process, so there are usually a lot of re-writes involved.
Where: I write in a small office overlooking the garden, with peace and quiet and sometimes a dog or two at my feet.
I know that you read a lot. How many books do you read on average every month, and how does this help you as a writer?
I guess that I read about 15 – 20 books each month. I meet so many talented writers, my list of books to be read is never ending. If I had the time I’d read even more.
Since I have started writing I pay more attention to how a book is written instead of being consumed by the story alone. This hopefully helps me to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of others and reflect on my own writing. But if a story is very good I get carried away and won’t even notice typos.
What is your opinion of self-publishing today, and do you have any advice for new writers not sure whether to go traditional or Indie?
Self-publishing is a very valid option these days. Although it is hard work for a one-man operation, traditional publishers don’t offer the same kind of deals as they used to and the author can lose their artistic freedom and control. By going indie (at least initially) you can prove yourself and you might eventually attract the attention of publishing houses. Both approaches can bring success and sales.
What are your loves, and your loves not so much, in general, and also about the world of books today?
I love that books can be published on demand or electronically. It removes a layer of control and limitation, enabling the consumer to choose what they like and what they don’t like. I think we need better and direct links to the readers, though. There are still a lot of unnecessary obstacles in the way. I would like to have more keywords registered on Amazon for my books for example.
I read fantastic books every week that somehow didn’t find support from traditional publishers, while I occasionally read others that are really awful who did get published.
I miss the feeling of holding a printed book in my hands and smelling it but I appreciate that electronic books are the way forward for the environment (and storage).
My loves outside the book world are the outdoors, exercise, meditation, eastern philosophies, sunshine, beaches, mountains, comedy TV programmes, my fantastic dogs, my amazing friends and my wonderful partner.
Thank you for being with us today Christoph!
Find Christoph Fischer at:
Easy Links to All C Fischer Books:
THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
SEBASTIAN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
THE BLACK EAGLE INN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3):
TIME TO LET GO:
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
AT ODDS WITH DESTINY (Multi Author Box Set)
On Amazon: http://BookShow.me/B00SHYGG7C/
IN SEARCH OF A REVOLUTION
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/SearchofRevolution