All right, already. I made a mistake. I should have said 'abroad." What's the big deal anyway?

All right, already. I made a mistake. I should have said ‘abroad.” What’s the big deal anyway?

I’ve gone intercontinental, People!  I’ve hopped “The Pond” and am interviewing a really dapper chap (cool dude) living in the U.K. (England) who has written and released the third book in his trilogy about the effects of WWII on families indirectly impacted by the war.

I’ll be using the native language (English) throughout this interview, just to fit into my international setting. I hope it’s not too confusing. I’ll provide translations. You’re welcome.) This is also helping me as I prepare myself for the much-anticipated Princess Diana interview. You may have forgotten, but I haven’t.

So, tally ho! (giddy up!) On with this interview.

See? I told you he is a dapper chap!

See? I told you he’s a dapper chap!

Go to Chrisoph’s website to find out more about this dog’s bollocks (great) author. Frankly, I’m gobsmacked (surprised) that he had the time to chin wag (talk with) with little old me. But since I flew all the way across “The Pond” (the Atlantic Ocean), it’s the least he could do without seeming like a total crusty dragon (booger).

This is the book we'll be chin wagging about today. Smashing book cover, don't you think?

This is the book we’ll be chin wagging about today. Smashing (Excellent) book cover, don’t you think?

Lorna: Oi oi, Christoph! (Hi), Thanks for meeting at this pub (bar). It sure is dark in here.

Christoph: Hi Lorna, thanks for interviewing me about my new book. How about a pint? It’s on me.

Lorna: Oh no. I don’t drink. Alcohol that is. My days of room temperature booze are long gone. Tea though, that would be dandy (nice).

Christoph: Oh, sure. [winking] Best to keep our heads about us. Barkeep! Two teas.

Lorna: [clearing my throat] Yes. And no funny business in my tea like milk or sugar. I’m not that kind of lassie (girl, not famous dog who kept rescuing Timmy). Any road (Anyway), let’s get on with our interview. The Black Eagle Inn…sounds like a nice to place to visit. Would I want to live there? Just kidding. What’s the story behind the title for your story?

Christoph: The Black Eagle Inn is the name of a family restaurant and hotel business in my book. In 1948 the Allied chose a Black Eagle to go with the West-German flag. The Eagle was also on the speaker’s desk in the German parliament. As the book deals with post-war Germany and politics, this accidental symbolism seemed the perfect choice for a title.

Lorna: Yes it does. I love symbolism, but I think I’d rather stay at the Ritz. It’s a name recognition thing. Speaking of recognition, if there was a fancy electronic billboard advertising your book, what catchy slogan would it be streaming?

I find the Ritz staff very friendly...and cuddly.

I find the Ritz staff very friendly…and cuddly.

Christoph: Black Eagle Inn. A family saga set in post war Germany: Rivalry, religion, reformation and regeneration.

Lorna: Impressive! You’d make a good addition to Madmen. I adore adept alliteration! Since we’re on marketing, who is the target market for this book?

You'd fit right in, Christoph!

You’ll fit right in, Christoph! Well, you’ll need a tie and you’ll have to put on that jacket you’re carrying, but then you’re good to go.

Christoph: People who like a good family story and those who would like to see how the “little man” in Germany got on with his life after 1945, not just the party big wigs at the Nuremberg Trials; those curious to see a little what is was like for the new generation and how the people struggled to make Germany a modern nation.

Lorna: Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Yes) We do tend to focus on the high-profile war criminals when we think of WWII and Germans. I imagine bookshelves are collapsing under the weight of all the books written about those bad actors.  But your books are different from the rest of the pack, aren’t they? 

Christoph: Most books, fiction or not, about WWII focus on the sheer magnitude of the war, the tragedy and the horrors, and the long-lasting consequences–all fascinating themes for a book. But there are still so many stories to be told. Each story is different. Each tells of maybe just one small aspect of the terrible whole. The Black Eagle Inn covers one such small aspect. A family almost unaffected by the war but confronted with the guilt of their nation and the modernization of their country afterwards. Few people — including me – know/ knew much about how the country rebuilt itself.

Lorna: I’m with you, Christoph. Let’s stop obsessing with the famous and infamous. We “normal” blokes and lassies (people) are interesting, too! Was there one character in your novel, just a normal person, who really got yeh mafted (you liked better than the others, okay, got you hot, but as a writer, okay)?

Christoph: [Sipping tea and staring at me in that weird way people sometimes stare at me] Yes, I had a favorite character. Surprisingly, she was Anna Stockman, the tough woman who learns to love, to soften and to throw pretense over board. She is very flawed but often so refreshingly honest and was a complete pleasure to write. She surprised me every time I sat down and wrote about her. There are many characters who are more likable in the book but Anna had an irresistible bite.

That's the way that some people look at me sometimes. Just so you know.

That’s the way that some people look at me sometimes. Just so you know.

Lorna: So you like your fictional characters a little on the spicy side, eh? (Oops, that’s Canadian–sorry!) You don’t have to answer that. What about the toss-pot (your least favorite character or the jerk)?

Christoph: Lukas and his father Hans-Ulrich were the worst, mostly for their stubbornness and arrogance that – as with many people in real life – just would not yield to my many attempts to make them better people.

Lorna: Christoph, I learned a long time ago that you can’t change other people. That goes for the people in your head, too. Good lesson for all of us to learn. Before this gets too heavy, tell me a fun fact about this book.

Christoph: I described the book and its themes to the cover designer and his first suggestion was absolutely perfect. The church he had found in his picture library and which is at the back of my book cover is identical to the one I had in mind when writing the book.

Lorna: Serendipity. I love it! Okay, now give us a fun fact about you.

Christoph: I am often likened to the Friends sitcom character Monica. Like Monica, I can be fun at controlled and organized indoor events. Although often told that I am too Germanic and serious, I love the adolescent humor of South Park, cheesy pop music and am so useless at playing Candy Crush that I let my partner play the difficult levels for me.

Indoors. Definitely involves control...

Indoors. Definitely involves control.. And I can totally see your fun side.

Lorna: Zany German paradox! I love it even more. I’m totally chipper (happy) now. What are working on now, besides your Candy Crush gaming skills?

Christoph: My next book has the working title “A time to let go” and concerns a family in contemporary Britain consisting of a stewardess, a mother suffering from dementia and a rigid father. Once the first wave of publicity for The Black Eagle Inn has been dealt with I am returning to the story to make a new draft.

Lorna: Hmmm. Sounds uplifting. Get it? Stewardess? Uplifting? Okay. So, our tea is drunk and we’re not. I’ve asked you all the questions I came to ask. Did I leave anything unasked?

Christoph: You could have asked me if I was writing about my own family in this book.

Lorna: Okay. Were you?

Christoph: Yes and no.

Lorna: Did you just set me up, Monica?

Christoph: Yes and no. [chuckling a charming German/U.K. chuckle] Let me explain. The characters in the book are all amalgamations of many individuals and stereotypes I have come across in my youth. They are inspired by events, snippets of conversations on buses, trains and restaurants and some by family members. However, I never liked just regurgitating old news and I let my imagination and the characters in the book take a life of their own.

Lorna: Okay. but it still felt like a set up. So I guess all that’s left is getting a copy of this intriguing book–and the two others before it.

Molly is a smart girl. I think I'll follow her lead and see what else is on her reading list. Maybe you should, too.

Molly is a smart girl. I think I’ll follow her lead and see what else is on her pawsitively fascinating reading list. Maybe you should, too.

The Black Eagle Inn

The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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On Amazon:

On Goodreads:

On Facebook:

Excerpt from The Black Eagle Inn

During the early stages of the new war, a time when victory was certain and – in the view of everyone in Heimkirchen – completely inevitable, the baby Maria Hinterberger was born; it was a Saturday evening in September 1940 and absolutely nothing seemed to be able to stop Hitler and the German nation.

The small Bavarian town – like the rest of the country – had already been thoroughly ‘cleansed’ of the very few Jews, Communists and other ‘subversive’ elements that had found their way to this little backward and hidden corner of the world. There was no one left for the enthusiastic supporters of the Fuhrer to focus their hatred on but the Russians, the French and the British.

German troops had made remarkable progress everywhere in Europe and despite what the deeply religious Hinterberger family and some other citizens of Heimkirchen secretly thought of Hitler and his hateful politics, the military success promised a great future for the nation and left the people on the streets with wonderful feelings of optimism and curiosity.

All the posters sent there from Berlin, warning of Communists and Jews, seemed totally out of place and unnecessary. The city was in total harmony with their leadership – at least that was how the population of Heimkirchen would appear to any outsider passing through the town. On this beautiful early autumn day it was easy to forget about the war.

Being the fifth child Maria caused her mother Magdalena comparatively little pain in the way of labour. The first signs of an impending delivery had – rather conveniently – started moments before lunch was being served, leaving just enough time to feed the other four children and send for the midwife before things became more complicated.

Magdalena was a beautiful woman, whose body seemed to have suffered little damage from giving birth four times already. Born herself at the beginning of the Great War Magdalena had learned to keep quiet and not to bother her own worried mother with any demands of her own.

The latest addition to the family arrived with what felt like consideration for the pregnant woman’s other duties. Magdalena could not have chosen a better moment for this birth had she been asked to and this gift for convenience and timing made the new child utterly likeable, albeit easily forgettable in the context of the bigger and more dramatic picture.

She had inherited her mother’s long and thin nose, her green eyes and dark blonde hair, she was of average size and weight for a new born and had few remarkable physical features and to a mother of five it came as a relief to have at least one child that was so easy to handle.

From the smooth way that Maria had come to her today Magdalena already sensed that this child was special and would not cause her as much grief as her siblings had. Little did Magdalena know how wrong she was.

Thank you, Christoph!
And good luck on all of your writing endeavors!
I’m heading home now to prepare for my interview with Princess Diana
now that I’m in a British state of mind.

Wasn't it nice of her to send me off back home personally? Maybe she was just happy to see me go.