Two estranged brothers are confronted with each other when their mother dies. One is bitter about his place in the family, the other has mental health issues. The book follows the group of people attending the funeral and covers the days leading up to and the weeks following the funeral itself .
I know a lot of people who struggle with mental health issues, whether it is themself or because of one their friends or their family. I’m amazed at how wonderful and natural some people are with it and how uncomfortable and unkind others are. I always wanted to write about that to raise awareness and make people challenge themselves. I think we all (me very much included) have a lot to learn about full integration and tolerance.
I love the theatre and should go more often.
A few years ago I went to a self-publishing seminar in London (held by Hay House Publishing) and decided to try ‘working for myself’ rather than for someone else. I’ve learned since that traditional publishers don’t offer as much as they used to; in fact, the entire industry is going through some vast dynamic changes and it seems safer to keep control and rights to myself. I’m pleased with the results I’ve achieved going it alone and see no immediate need to go traditional.
Some parts of the story couldn’t come to a lasting conclusion within the space of the two weeks that my novel covers. That would have been unrealistic and not the kind of book I’d like to write.
2010, Waitrose Abergavenny. My mother-in-law spent all morning nagging away at my partner for not wearing a mac – as she felt was decent and called for on such a drizzly day. Between arriving at her home and taking her to the coffee shop in the supermarket she must have mentioned it ten times, to the point that nobody was talking to each other anymore. Trying to break the ice I took a gamble and involved one of the waiters in a practical joke. When he came to pick up some empty cups he took a step back and said with a disapproving headshake to my partner: “Aren’t you cold? You should be wearing a body warmer or a mac on a day like this.”
You probably had to be there to appreciate the moment but even my mother-in-law laughed and we spent the rest of the day in peace and harmony.
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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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Time To Let Go:
Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
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 Alzheimer’s 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.
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Martha was petit and fragile looking with bleach blonde hair, very light skin and lots of freckles. She seemed lost in her overly large black dress. When she saw it was a stranger answering the door she trembled, mumbling a barely audible greeting. Charles quickly stuck his head out of the kitchen and shouted:
“Martha, this is my friend Simon.”
She looked puzzled.
“Remember, I said there’d be someone from Torquay. The orchid guy?”
She nodded slightly, hesitantly stepped into the hallway and looked searchingly around.
“Talk to each other while I’m making dinner,” Charles ordered them. “I’ll be out soon. Go, sit in the living room!”
Martha shrugged and gave a little grin, then stood there waiting for Simon to do something.
“You have been here before, haven’t you?” he asked surprised at her lack of initiative.
“Yes, of course,” she said, continuing to stand until he started to walk. Only then did she move towards the living room, following his lead. She sat down on the sofa, put her handbag on the floor and folded her hands over her knees. She remained that way, without saying a further word, her gaze averted towards the floor. Simon sat down on the other sofa and tried to think of the right thing to say, but was stumped. Although she was as shy as Charles had predicted, there was something quite forceful underneath that exterior that didn’t sit comfortable with him. An unspoken pressure surrounded that woman and tensed up the atmosphere. She, too, had very attractive features, he thought. A hint of Meg Ryan maybe, if only her face was more relaxed.
“Can I get you a drink?” he eventually asked, grateful that something had finally sprung to mind.
“No thank you,” she said, her voice cracking halfway through the first syllable. He noticed that her eyes were melancholic and seemed to be continually searching for something. She smiled and shrugged as if to apologise for it. Only then did Simon remember being told about her drinking problem and felt the sting of embarrassment. To add to his discomfort Martha now seemed to have lost some of her initial shyness and looked expectantly at him. The mounting pressure began to feel very uncomfortable.
He remembered her story vaguely from one of Charles’s long monologues. Martha and Charles had met in hospital after his accident at the estate while she was being treated for nasty bruises and fractures – souvenirs from a recent fight with her latest abusive husband. The memory made him even more self-conscious as to what to speak to her about.
“How was the journey?” Simon had finally thought to ask.
“Alright,” she said, repeating her grin and shrug routine.
“Are you still living in…” Simon paused, realising that he couldn’t remember the name of the town.
“I’m still in the same place that I lived in with my ex-husband Clive,” she said eagerly. She had moved to the front of the seat and was leaning towards him. “It has to be sold to complete the divorce settlement and the sale is taking its time,” she added.
“Sorry to hear that,” he said, surprised by her sudden change of attitude.
“Like our marriage, the sale has turned into a tedious and painful affair,” she said, giggling slightly.
“I see,” Simon said, feeling embarrassed by the sudden intimacy. “I hadn’t meant to ask that, of course.”
“I don’t mind talking about it,” she said. “I’m in AA and there we share everything. Clive and I worked at the same firm and nothing about the split has ever been secret. Everyone knows my story and in parts I find that quite liberating. Charles probably mentioned the saga to you. At least he probably told you why I don’t drink,” she added.
Simon was stunned into silence by her forwardness.
“You don’t have to get embarrassed,” she assured him.
“I am embarrassed,” he said, to which she just shrugged her shoulders.