Where Honesty Never Ends.
Hello and welcome to The Review Board. Today we bring to you February 2016 Author Spotlight Katharina Gerlach.
Conducting this interview is our very own Mini Truth.
Hello Katharina. Thank you for being with us here on The Review Board.
1. Your original works were written in your native tongue of German. Was it a challenge having the works translated? Did you do it yourself or was it a Professional Translator/Editor? What was the biggest test during the translation?
I’m translating my own stories because I like doing that. When I translated my first book into English (Ann Angel’s Freedom, YA historical novel), I found that the resulting English had a very German feel to it (which native speakers confirmed). It’s no problem for this particular book since it is set in Germany, but I didn’t want that for my other novels. So I began writing in English with the backup of native speakers as beta-readers. Now, my originals are always in English. I find it easier to write in English and translate it back into my mother tongue.
2. Out of all of your books, which is your favorite and why? Also, can you share the premise of the story with us?
Naturally that changes with every story I publish. At the moment, I have three favorites, one isn’t published yet.
My favorite single title is Juma’s Rain. It is a YA historical fantasy love story. The main character Juma, determined to become the tribe’s next chieftess, falls in love with the current chieftess’ son Netinu only to learn that her magical abilities doom her to remain a virgin. At the same time, a severe drought threatens the peaceful matriarchate. As the problems pile up, Juma and Netinu set out to wake the rain goddess and foil the plans of heat-dæmon Mubuntu.
My favorite series (and the only one I’m currently writing) is a series of fairy tale retellings at novella length (less than 100 pages) that are all set in the same world. There, magic and the newly developed technical advances struggle to coexist. In areas with a lot of magic (like in book 1), there’s fairly little technology, and in areas with a lot of technology (like in book 3), there’s little magic. I find it most interesting when I get into the areas where there’s a reasonable amount of both (like in book 2). Since some tales are obscure even by German standard (us being a big nation of fairy tales), I always include the original. And since I want my readers to like my books, I always include a bonus story (with a link to wikipedia in case the original isn’t known).
The unpublished favorite is Chasing the Grimm Reaper a non-linear fairy tale murder mystery written from a first person point of view (I did…). In it the reader can choose at the end of every chapter how the story will continue. This story will be published closer to the end of 2016.
I love to write YA fantasy, science fiction and historical novels. Those are genres where I feel competent when I try to tell my stories. Naturally I write very few historical novels since they need much more research and planning (the first one took 5 years).
When I read, I read much more broadly, but I tend to stick to the YA age range most of the time. On my TBR-pile, you’ll find crime stories (especially CSI-style) or a fascinating non-fiction on top of graphic novels or love stories. All in two languages.
4. I find that with some writers they’ve been writing all their lives, but with others writing is only as old as their first publication. What was the case with you? Were you a life-long writer or is writing new to you? Could you tell us a little bit about that.
I wrote my first stories when I had learned all of my letters (I still got those 1 page illustrated masterworks somewhere 😀 ), but I never took it seriously. I wrote short stories for friends and families, read some creative writing books to make those stories better but never much thought about publication. Then my best friend found a box with documents about their farm dating back to the 14-hundreds which she translated from the old German hand writing into legible computer print. I was hooked. Together we researched the living conditions at that time, and I wrote my first ever novel which was published by a tiny German publisher. After that, I created new stories, learned more about writing every day until it became my main job (aside from being mother to 3 wonderful girls). My passion really took off when the so-called eBook revolution hit.
5. Who is your favorite author(s)? What is it about that person(s) that you like so much?
Diana Wynne Jones: she is the only author I read (and I read a lot), who consistently managed to surprise me with her stories. She never wrote the same story twice, her characters were always refreshingly new and her prose always took my breath away. I believe she’s the only person I didn’t know personally where I cried when I learned about her passing.
Edith Nesbit: Not only did she write some of the most fascinating children’s books I ever come across, she also raised the children her philandering husband had with another woman, played a crucial role in the creation of the British Labor Party, and single-handedly supported her whole family with her writing after her husband’s death.
Astrid Lindgren: She wrote my all time favorite female character (Pippi Longstockings), my all time favorite male character (Michel from Lönneberga) and was a strong supporter of nature. Also, she lived to the age I#d like to reach. 😀
Neil Gaiman: I don’t like all of his stories but some of his are my all time favorites. First and foremost there’s his co-production with Terry Pratchet (Good Omens), and his Sandman-series, but I also love Anansi Boys and his picture books.
I could list a lot more authors that you’ve probably never heard of since they only had a few books published in Germany and never made it over the pond. With 2000 printed books in my attic and countless eBooks, it is really hard to pick only a handful of authors. 😀
6. Random Question 1: Beef or chicken and why?
Chicken but only if served with a big, big salad. I eat meat rarely because half my family is vegetarian.
7. What are you currently working on, if anything?
I’m preparing novellas 5 to 8 of my fairy tale retelling for publication, setting up the audiobook of my award winning novel “Scotland’s Guardians”, and preparing to write its sequel while striving to learn more about the emotional involvement of made up characters. You see I’m always busy.
8. Random Question 2: Favorite place in the world and why?
My writing room because I can write in peace there. But aside from that I love to visit friends and family. Wherever they are is my favorite place at that time.
9. What was it like growing up in Germany?
I live in the middle of a forest as a child as the eldest of four kids. We lived adventure every second of the day. It was splendid. I also loved going to school because I always wanted to know more about the world I loved in. I didn’t much care for the bullies in school and more than once got into trouble with them, but they did learn in the end. 😉
When I grew older, my parents encouraged me and my brothers to be individuals and to stand up for everything we believe in. I’m still trying to live up to my own expectations on those goals. Yes, all in all I had the most wonderful childhood and teenager time.
10. Random Question 3: Who is your favorite movie star/actor and why?
Libuše Šafránková in “Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel” (Three hazelnuts for Cinderella) because she’s the most beautiful fairy tale princess I’ve ever seen but she’s not helpless and waiting for Prince Charming but finding him through her own talents.
Thanks for checking out The Review Board’s Author Spotlight. Feel free to like, subscribe, and share. Have a terrific day!