Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"Late-night dancing, watching ships go by, and writing about orgasm": an interview with Simone Buchholz

Kia ora and haere mai, welcome to the 33rd instalment of 9mm for 2018, and the 205th overall edition of our long-running author interview series.

Thanks for reading over the years. I've had tonnes of fun chatting to some amazing  writers and bringing their thoughts and stories to you.

You can check out the full list of of past interviewees here. If you've got a favourite writer who hasn't yet been featured yet, let me know in the comments or by message, and I'll look to make that happen for you.

Today I'm very pleased to welcome award-winning and #1 bestselling German author Simone Buchholz to Crime Watch. I first heard of Simone and her writing thanks to the brilliant Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books - Karen brought Simone's sixth Chastity Riley crime novel BLUE NIGHT to English-speaking readers earlier this year (originally published as BLAUE NACHT in 2016).

I first interacted with Simone on Twitter during the FIFA World Cup, as all Orenda authors were 'representing' their countries on a bookselling website and I predicted she'd last the longest, given the German team's pedigree and talent. How wrong we both were!! (side note: congrats to Johana Gustawsson, the French crime writer with the Swedish surname).

I finally got to meet Simone at Bloody Scotland last weekend, bizarrely on the dance-floor of a Fun Lovin' Crime Writers gig on the opening night where I was in full Scottish kilted regalia. So hardly repping my 'Kiwi crime' credentials - at least until the Saturday with "The Kiwis Are Coming" panel.

So not the usual introductions that led to a 9mm interview, but a heck of a lot of fun nonetheless. Simone was born in a town outside of Frankfurt, and went on to study philosophy and literature at university before training to be a journalist in Hamburg. Simone has written several novels, including eight crime novels in her series starring Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley.

Simone's two most recent Chastity Riley books were both #1 crime bestsellers in Germany for multiple months, and collectively won several crime writing awards. Her latest book, MEXIKORING, was just released this month. Fingers crossed that we'll see some of Simone's other books in English soon, following on from BLUE NIGHT.

But for now, Simone Buchholz becomes the latest author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.

Simone Buchholz, credit: Gerald de Foris

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
Kemal Kayankaya, a Turkish private eye and the antihero in Jakob Arjouni's work. Always drunk, always a bit lost, always in love with the most unusual woman in the story, but very smart and in a weird way very good looking.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. I had a big crush on Holden Caulfield, for me (as a 15-year-old-teenager) he was the coolest guy on earth.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) - unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I was a journalist, but a very bad one. And because I needed money I wrote a book about first love (for teenagers) and a book about – excuse me – orgasm (not for teenagers). And a short story about Napoleon peeling grapes on St Helena. I wrote this to impress a man. It was a terrible story and didn’t work.

4. Outside of writing, touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Hanging around with my son and my husband, we LOVE to got to cinema together. And I really like to cook this massive Italian meals, but only on Saturdays or Sundays when I have a lot of time because I hate quick cooking. My perfect leisure day:

  1. jogging in the morning.
  2. cooking for lunch.
  3. cinema in the afternoon.
  4. drinking in the evening sun & under the moon.
  5. dancing til I crack.
  6. NO wake up call.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
OK, if you ever visit Hamburg/Northern Germany, go to the harbour to a place called "Br├╝cke 10". Buy a Fischbr├Âtchen and an ice-cold bottled beer. Sit down and watch the ships go by.
I would recommend it around sunset or on a foggy day, depends on your mindset.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Bruce Willis.

7. Of your writings, which is your favourite or particularly special, and why?
A Marijuana Poem in my new book "Mexikoring" (out in Germany in 2018). Most relaxed part of any book I’ve ever written.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller’s shelf?
When I signed my very first book contract in 2002 I was just wondering if they really know what they do.

When my first novel was out in 2008 I was super pregnant and had other things to do.

When my German publisher called me and told me I will be brought to the English market by Orenda Books I bought a bottle of Vodka and called my friends.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
A  writer – who I didn’t know before our reading event in a big German city – lost his hotel key card while we were out drinking after the event and there was nobody at the hotel reception late at night. We had to share my room as almost strangers, it felt a bit like being Rock Hudson and Doris Day. We were talking all night. Telling us our whole lives. Friends since then.

Thank you Simone. We appreciate you chatting to Crime Watch. 

You can read more about Simone Buchholz and her books at her website, and follow her on Twitter

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