Due to the surprising and overwhelming popularity of some recent picture posts on my blog, here are some more pictures to illustrate the inspiration for my books.
This is the farm and restaurant business that distant relatives owned, shown here in its very early days. Although the images contributed to my story, the actual place does not share the same history or any of the events of the Black Eagle Inn.
There was a fire that burned down the hay loft, leading to a renovation.
The restaurant in the 1980s.
A family photograph that inspired my vision of Anna and her husband
An image that inspired the characters Magdalena and Hans-Ulrich. These are my maternal grandparents and although they were very religious, they had no political ambitions at all. I only ever met my grandmother but she died when I was seven.
This is them with their children, who – like in my book – were indeed sent to help on the farm quite regularly.
My mother, named Maria, pictured at a fancy dress party. Like a character in my book, she was born in 1940 as the second but last child and was politically active (although only mildly and for the Christian Socialists, not the Social Democrats).
At the time as I was writing the first draft for the story, my cousin, also named Maria, entered the Bavarian Parliament. She however did so for the Social Democrats. her life and career are however totally different and the name was just something nice for me while writing..
These are more family photographs from a family chronicle that fed me ideas about how the people in Black Eagle Inn might be. I pictured Anna Hinterberger and her family something like this.
Here are some photographs of a recent holiday in my hometown Rosenheim, which served as inspiration. To emphasize that my book is fiction, I changed the name to Heimkirchen because of ‘Heimat’ (home) and its many churches (Kirchen).
The last picture was taken at the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s refuge. It was a chilling experience to see this sinister place, adequately hidden away but right there in the middle the most beautiful Bavarian countryside.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
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 in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact 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 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. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.
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Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made 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 the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.
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The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
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 for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.
Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.
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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 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.