I’ve known Christoph for almost a year now but haven’t interacted with him as much as I should have. We met when he gave my novel Divisive a 5-Star rating. I’ve found him to be a personable man with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of energy to not only write, but also read and review enough books to be in the upper echelons of Amazon Reviewers. If you haven’t made his acquaintance, please do. He’s very active on Twitter, ASMSG, and Facebook. Here’s his Amazon Bio ~~~~
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany 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 has worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. His first novel, ‘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’ is his most recent novel. Mr Fischer also had several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization.
Now that you know a smidgen about the man, let’s get to the interview~~~
Hello, Christoph. Pull up a chair, get comfy, and tell us about your current book. Does it differ much from your previous novels?
Hi, John. Thank you very much for the invite.
‘Time To Let Go’ is my first contemporary novel and it deals with the issue of Alzheimer’s disease. Whereas before I used to write historical fiction about WW1 and WW2 with an ensemble cast, this is a close-up look at only a few characters. This book is more personal and focuses on emotions instead of pure facts.
I’ve noticed you do quite a bit to support your fellow authors, especially on Twitter. How long was Twitter out before you embraced it, and what’s the most frustrating aspect of it to you?
I understand that Twitter was set up in 2006, I didn’t join until 2013 and even then only very reluctantly. I was encouraged by other authors to keep going. In July 2013 I broke the 2000 barrier of followers and from then onwards it took off. I can link my activity on Twitter directly to my sales, so it is a necessary evil. Personally, I find it almost too fast as a medium for information. I wish I had more time to look through the many posts on there, I feel I am missing too much.
While stalking you on Facebook to gather some ammunition for questions, I discovered we have something in common. We both love the 1980 musical Xanadu. What’s two more of your favorite musicals and which one would you take to a deserted island to watch over and over again?
‘Chess’ and ‘Chicago’ and since only one is available on DVD, I will take Chicago with me. Evita is my runner up.
Your first book to gain some attention was The Luck of the Weissensteiners. Give us a little knowledge about the book and how emotional was it for you to write it?
‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ tells the story of a Jewish family in Slovakia between 1933 and 1946. Slovakia has an interesting history since it became independent because of its alliance with Hitler. Yet, they tried to deal with the Jews differently. They were not run-of-the-mill collaborators just as the Weissensteiners in my book are not typical Jews.
My family has roots in Slovakia and the original reason for all the research I did for the book was to find out more about my own family background. At times it was emotional because I wrote the characters as if they were my family, although their real story was quite different to that of the creations in the novel.
Do you have a favorite charity and why is it important to you?
I like the Red Cross because it seems to go into any area of conflict and does important humanitarian work. People on all sides of the fences deserve help and the Red Cross seems to be delivering that work.
Also, as a passionate dog owner, I do support a No-Kill-Animal Shelter in California. http://www.santapaulaarc.org/
How would your significant other describe you in three words?
Kind, sensitive, annoying.
You have several adorable pictures of possibly spoiled-rotten pooches on your Facebook page. 🙂 Tell us about them?
I have three labradoodles. The blond one, Molly, is ten years old and is excitable, wild and somehow more my partner’s dog than mine. Greta, the dark brown shaggy one, is gentle, grumpy and definitely my dog. Wilma is four and really only cares about chasing tennis balls.
If you wrote a book about yourself in a thinly-disguised novel, what would the genre be and would it be in the first person?
I hope it would be a melodramatic travel guide Sci-Fi comedy in the tradition of Monty Python, Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers. Definitely in the first person, something like ‘The long sufferings of woodland hermit Berthold on Beetle Juice.’
Thank you for an enjoyable interview, Christoph. I hope my followers will check out your three historical-Fiction novels and your current release ‘Time To Let Go’ as soon as they’ve finished reading this. I’m halfway through ‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ and I’m loving it.
THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS
BOOK 1 OF THE THREE NATIONS TRILOGY
SYNOPSIS — 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 into life with the Winkelmeier clan. The political climate and slow disintegration of the multi-cultural society in Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and their families.
The story follows their lot through the war with its torment, destruction and its unpredictability – and the equally hard times after.
From the moment that Greta Weissensteiner enters the bookstore where Wilhelm Winkelmeier works, and entrances him with her good looks and serious ways, I was hooked. But this is no ordinary romance; in tact 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 Christoph Fischer gives his readers 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. Set in the fascinating area of Bratislava, this is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck. I cared about every one of this novel’s characters and continued to think about them long after I’d finished reading.
— Andrea Steiner, University of California Santa Cruz
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an epic saga set in wartime Eastern Europe. It follows the lives of two families – one Jewish, one Catholic – and their entwined survival amidst the backdrop of the second world war; first the fascist then the communist invasion and occupation of Slovakia, and the horror of the consequences of war. The reader is transported to a world of deception, fear, distrust and betrayal, alongside enduring love and family drama. Weissensteiners is a magnificent tale of human survival.
FIVE-STARS A moving and passionate story!, June 20, 2014
Stories of the Holocaust always evoke strong emotions in me, and The Luck of the Weissensteiners did something that few books do. It moved me to tears. Christoph Fischer brings out the tragedy that was, something that can never be wiped away, through the eyes and emotions of his characters and it overwhelms you. Thank you for a wonderful experience! It is a moving and passionate story!
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna, the time of war and the end of the Monarchy, while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer brilliantly describes life in Vienna during the war years; how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the monarchic system , the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first book of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, nationality and borders. The step back in time 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 sequential order, so as not to see one as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the reality it must have felt like for people at the time.
FIVE STARS Superb historical fiction! August 21, 2013
As the novel unfolds and expands, we experience everyday life in this era. Vienna, in the years just before the Great War, was in a sort of golden age bubble — a bubble that was about to burst. The trajectory of Sebastian’s life will change, as will the lives of the other characters we meet, all tied in one way or another to the family’s grocery store, a gathering place of many ethnicities.
The author, Christophe Fischer, is a very talented writer. His first book, THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS, was a fabulous read, too. I think the writing in SEBASTIAN is even more graceful and the history so smoothly integrated. Oh, how deftly the author laces the metaphorical shoe that Sebastian will no longer wear. Everyone is missing a shoe of one kind or another. Sebastian’s journey is everyone’s journey.
Who will love this novel? Anyone who values good storytelling, a well researched setting, and a cast of fascinating characters — each with their own challenges. The novel holds our attention, so rapt we are in how people adapt, well or not, to changing landscapes in their lives, their decisions often based on their perceptions, accurate or not. SEBASTIAN is superb historical fiction. Highly recommended.
How does a Nation recover from its collective shame, how does it rebuild itself into a modern state and deal with its horrendous past and the difficult path ahead? Restructuring of the political landscape & the influence of religion are strong themes in this historical family saga & post war drama set in Germany 1940 – 1976.
The Black Eagle Inn is an old established restaurant and part of a family farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Stockmann has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. The family is divided by rivalry between family members since her own youth but at the heart of this story one of Anna’s nephews, Markus, owns her heart and another nephew, Lukas, owns her ear, while her husband Herbert is still missing-in-action.
Religion dictates life in Heimkirchen’s enclosed Catholic community that was almost unaffected by the fighting in the war. Anna’s brother Hans-Ulrich is involved in the church as well as in post war party politics. He finds that the new generation, his own off spring, are not functioning as well as the older one would like. Bitter conflicts arise in the new forming Germany and the family members all need to decide how to respond to the challenges ahead.
This is war fiction without immediate war, it is literary history about Germany after the Nazi rule with gay, racial, religious and feminist themes, describing the way one family experiences the forward move of a shamed Nation.
Fischer tells a great family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal with belated or indirect impact of war on people.
The Black Eagle Inn is set in Bavaria, at the end of World War II, and deals with a country that has been brought to its knees. How refreshing to read a different take on it all! And how well done the theme of redemption throughout the country and its citizens as a new way of being has to come into play for both country and populace to move on.
Christoph Fischer is an excellent writer, and he chose to tell this marvellous story through the medium of a family saga (and boy, is he good at that). So we are introduced to the matriarch, Anna, and her relations, and her wealth – the inn itself, together with restaurant and large farm.
Money, family, religion, politics, sexuality, forbidden love, scheming, plotting, hate and scandals engulf Anna, and all of these are mirrored in what is happening within the country too, a very clever thing to do for those readers (myself included) who wouldn’t previously have known what life was like in Germany at the time.
But it is not heavy-going, quite the opposite, as you are caught up in what is happening to the family – the book is quite the page-turner.
And the redemption that I mentioned at the start of the review, of which the author has written so eloquently? Well, if you are willing to change, things will change around you and you can embrace those new things; if you don’t, you are sure to be left behind. And I don’t think there’s much more you can say to make a case for humanity than that. An excellent read.
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 Alzheimers’ 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.
The story revolves around an emotionally dysfunctional family. Walter’s controlling and demanding attitude has alienated his three children and he finds himself alone to deal with his ailing wife. The eldest son, Henrik, as rigid and judgemental as the father, focuses solely on boosting his successful career, and only contacts his elderly parents when his business allows curt phone calls and cameo appearances to put them in line. Hanna, the only child to retain any emotion attachment, has succeeded in escaping her father’s overbearing attitude with a busy career with the airlines. The youngest son has given up completely on his father’s and brother’s criticism by embracing an altruistic approach to life: he chooses to spend his time with people who need his help rather than wasting it on a family who refuses it.
This is a well-crafted story with believable characters that keeps the readers enthralled on a highly emotional and intellectual level—definitely a must read.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
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Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
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On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
Time To Let Go:
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