Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
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 moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. In 1993 he moved to the UK and now lives in Llandeilo in West Wales. He and his partner have several Labradoodles to complete their family.
Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. His first historical novel, ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’, was published in November 2012 and downloaded over 60,000 times on Amazon. He has released several more historical novels, including “In Search of A Revolution” and “Ludwika”. He also wrote some contemporary family dramas and thrillers, most notably “Time to Let Go” and “The Healer”.
Kev: What’s your latest book called, Christoph?
My latest novel is called “The Body in the Snow” and the title tells it all: A body is discovered during a snow storm. I had the idea for this setting when I was actually snowed in myself a few years ago.
Kev: Which Genre do you have it listed under.
It’s a straight forward cosy murder mystery, someone recently called it chick-lit. Given that there are three strong female lead characters, I think that might be fair.
Kev: Tell us a little bit more about it.
Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbours or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens.
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap.
Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback? All will be revealed in this light-hearted, cosy murder mystery by best-selling and award winning historical and crime fiction novelist Christoph Fischer.
Kev: Introduce us to your main character
Bebe is vulnerable but determined, a self-involved Diva who is forced out of her shell when the murder threatens her comeback. She has thick glasses and struggles with her weight, but she can sing and usually manages to get her way. She’s great fun, although not always intentionally so.
The following excerpt provides a little more about her character:
In the basement, Bebe re-lived her glory. She rehearsed her large repertoire, wrote her own compositions and practised songs which she thought would sound so much better in her voice.
If only the record-buying audience could give her another chance to prove how much more soul and class her voice had compared with those amateurs, she lamented.
Right now, however, none of that mattered. Bebe had suddenly been catapulted into her private showbiz heaven. In a TV talent show, the magnificent Will Young named Bebe as one of his favourite British artists. She could hardly contain her excitement and ran around her cottage like a headless chicken. She could do a duet with the young man. He could invite her to be on the show? She’d always thought that Will Young and maybe Michael Buble were her natural male equivalents in the music industry. She could do well using either of them as a vehicle back to stardom. What a joy! Her gays – her true and loyal admirers, would just love that. Overly excited, she went wild downloading music and instrumental versions of duets she thought would be candidates for a cover version between her and Will. Will Young was a godsend.
Bebe was so focused on her new project that she completely forgot to eat or worry about the snow. Motivated more than ever to be ready for that phone call to bring her back to the biz she started to use her Wii Sport, a Christmas present from Helena. Of course it had been a present meant to hurt her feelings but as it turned out it was another great piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Stuck indoors, Bebe had plenty of time to figure out how this thing worked and she practised plenty. She could feel an instant effect and felt years younger and slimmer already.
Kev: Provide a teaser/short passage from your book.
She needed to take her mind off her troubles and decided to have a drink in the trendy bar next door. It was full of recording hopefuls and producers talking about contracts and demos, with more names being dropped than you’d find in a copy of Rolling Stone. It was enough to set Bebe’s teeth on edge. She knocked back a Bloody Mary but the presence of so many young starlets with their ‘sponsors’ – usually twice their age – only made her feel worse, so she soon left and headed instead, to a piano bar not far from the studio. Maurice occasionally worked here. The lighting was low, so nobody would recognise her and she could take a moment to get over her worries and anger. There seemed to be a kind of tea dance or cabaret act in progress. Someone sang a very bad rendition of That Ole Devil Called Love – another Alison Moyet hit. Bebe had enough and turned round, ready to go back to her car and be done with London, when she heard a shrill voice screaming her name.
“Bebe Bollinger? Oh my god, it’s her!”
Instantly flattered and in a better mood she turned around and saw two middle-aged gay men with moustaches and jeans and leather attire fall over themselves to run after her. She couldn’t suppress a smile.
“We’re such big fans,” the two men gushed in unison and grabbed her hands “You must come inside and sing for us,” one of them insisted. “Please, please, please!”
Her face flushed with happiness.
“Darlings, my manager won’t let me sing without his cut,” she said evasively. “You need to book me properly sometime. I’d love to sing for you.”
She blew them an air kiss with her free hand and tried to free the other one, but her admirers didn’t loosen their grip.
“Just the one,” they insisted. “Losing My Mind. Please!”
Bebe turned her head left and right. The road was deserted, nobody had seen her; she could do this. This spontaneous gig was exactly what the doctor had ordered.
“Fine,” she said.
They led her into the piano bar where a crowd of drag queens were holding a karaoke event. Some of them had impeccable make-up on, Bebe noticed. It put her to shame. Glitter, feathers, disco-lights and size 11 heels – this place had it all.
“You look fabulous darling,” one of the drag queens reassured her.
“You think?” she asked. “People keep telling me I’m too old.”
“Nonsense,” her admirer said and waved his hand dismissively to the side. “Jealousy, that’s all it is.”
Here, she was a star and treated like royalty. Drinks were ordered for her, she was begged for autographs and people were reminiscing about their favourite moment in her career.
“Remember that time you were on Top of the Pops?” a guy asked her. He had a grey woollen vest on and wore thick glasses, like her. He looked like a librarian.
“Which time?” she said. “I managed a few gigs there, thank god.”
“The show with Renee and Renato,” he said. “You sang right after them and they stayed and brought you flowers afterwards, remember? Cabanero was your song. I remember it well.”
She looked at him with astonishment. Even she had forgotten about the flowers from Renato. Renee was nowhere to be seen. “Aren’t you a darling,” she said and kissed him on the cheek.
The man shrunk shyly and played nervously with his glasses.
“Bebe Bollinger to the stage,” the DJ called out, “Or we’ll all loose our minds.”
Her heart pounded with joy.
She sang four of her songs – pleased to see that almost her entire repertoire was in that karaoke machine. She made a note to get one of these things herself. It seemed a lot easier than her recording in the basement.
“So what is new with you?” another drag queen asked after the show. “Are you going on tour again sometime? I’ll be at every show.”
“He’s not joking,” said a stunning-looking woman, half Bebe’s age. “He really is your number one fan.”
“Well then I’m very pleased to meet you,” she said. “And thank you for sticking by me.”
She found it very difficult not to spill the beans about her Engelbert gig or ask these fans about their opinion on her further career plans. As loyal as these guys were, they were only a fraction of the music market and she needed to think bigger.
“Come back soon,” the DJ said when she made her goodbyes.
Kev: When you wrote this work, did you write off-the-cuff or use some kind of formula like an outline?
I had a basic outline but wrote the story with a few possibilities in mind as to who the murder would be. That way I didn’t know myself which strands would become red herrings and which wouldn’t. I had to block off avenues as the first draft progressed until I was left with a choice of two. Re-writing to make it all fit was a tough undertaking.
Kev: Did you research for the backdrop of your story or any other part of it?
Not much, to be honest. I was stuck in a snow storm five years ago and had first-hand experience of that part of the setting. A few police procedural and forensic enquiries and google searches probably put me on the radar of the UK watch radar…
Kev: What challenges did this particular work pose for you?
Trying to be funny, after writing so many dramas, felt very challenging.
Kev: What methods are using to promote this work?
Twitter, wordpress blogging, Facebook, Bookfairs.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never stop believing in yourself and take all criticism as helpful and useful advice.
Connect with Christoph!