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 is still resident today. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; 'Sebastian' in May 2013.He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization.
Brief synopsis of your book:
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 her brother is going into politics. The family life in post-war Germany also has also some unexpected personal challenges in store.
The Black Eagle Inn
Current book or project you’re working on:
What was the inspiration for your novel?
I was born 25 years after the end of the war. Our history lessons at school ended with the year 1945. One of the most urgent and important questions remained unanswered for me: How did a country with so much shame and horror in its past recover and move forward? How could it? I don’t think anything can ever make up for what has happened and nobody can forgive or atone for the collective guilt. But can the new generation ever deservedly rid itself of the stigma the previous generation has brought to the country?
Only ten years after the end of the war a wave of Italian and Turkish Immigrants filled the hole in the German employment market, ten years after that a new right wing party formed in Germany.
The Sixties brought the Baader Meinhof group, student revolts and family conflicts. Many of the young adults were disillusioned with politics and turned violent. It took a new generation of politicians to instigate a modernisation of German society.
My book has a lot of separate issues but should be particularly interesting for those whose knowledge of Germany also ends with 1945. We know about the Nuremberg Trials but what does the little man do with this broken country?
Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Part of the story is set in France.
2) Herbert’s character is a private homage to Stefan Zweig’s novel Chess.
3) The book is PG rated.
Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
To me that character is Anna, the family matriarch. She has the longest journey from her early Machiavellian days to old age where she is confronted with different, softer and very conflicting emotions. She has ambition and a tunnel vision but surprises herself and others by the changes of direction in her life.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Both rivalling boys, Lukas and Markus probably have parts of me. Lukas in the earlier parts of the book is the kind of work horse that I can be. In the later stages of the book his cousin Markus is the avoider of conflict that I also can be.
If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
I would pick Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) because of her sharp mind and raw honesty. I saw her at a book event once and – like her characters – she had bite. I’d like to learn from her but I also think that she would quite like some parts of this book.
What genre does your book fall into?
I would have to choose family life since historical fiction is strictly meant to be at least 50 years in the past, and my book ends in 1976, just short of that barrier.
What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
“The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky was an eye opener in terms of literature and psychology. I was only 17 when I read it and probably only got half of it. The way his characters are written changed my awareness and perception of others.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Khaled Hosseini: The small personal drama against the bigger and complex political or historical back drop is something that really fascinated me and that has found its way into my writing.
2) Christos Tsiolkas: His change of perspective in The Slap and his raw and uncompromising writing are an inspiration.
3) Patrick Gale: Incorporation of gay themes in main stream fiction that handle those characters simply like the other ‘regular’ cast, not as main subject. I tend to include gay characters because of my own life experience but don’t feel the urge to write a ‘gay novel’.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
No. Once I start I want to know what happens. Even if it is very poor I still skim read to the end.
Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
I always read.
How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
I have published three and drafts for a further five. Of the published books I‘d have to choose “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” because I learned the most while researching and writing it.
Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
I am always in the mood to write.
What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Getting the time frame right for the characters to be the right age at historical events.
2) Inserting enough background information without it getting in the way of the story.
3) Portraying politics without bias.
What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
I had too many characters in the book and cut and cut and cut until the beta readers were happy.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
Fortunately so far I have not experienced long periods of it. On less constructive days I just do something else and return the next day. So far that has worked. (Touch wood)
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Twitter seems to be very important. It took a long time to set up and understand but since I am a regular user I have had significantly increased sales.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
2-3 months for the first draft, then several re-writes and editing. I keep going back to drafts after working on a different book, so I have a fresh perspective.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
I’d like an Ang Lee film starring Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Robert DeNiro as the farm / Stockman elders, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor as the rivals, Stanley Tucci, Stockard Channing, Naomi Watts and Liev Schriever as the Hinterbergers.
Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
The Kite Runner, it is very well done.
Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies?
Not many. I loved Stardust but rarely get to watch any these days.
Do you study science, the planets, history or anything special to help you with your writing?
I research a lot of historical facts and read about the times as much as I can.
What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write?
My German teacher at 7th grade sparked with enthusiasm and encouraged me to write articles for the school paper. Whenever I doubt myself I envisage him and his encouragement.
Drink – Energy Drinks
Food – Green vegetarian Thai Curry
Vacation – Japan, South Africa
TV show – South Park
Movie – Casino Royale (Woody Allen)
Animal – Dogs (I have three)
Sport – Running
Book – “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
Christoph Fischer on Amazon