I am proud to be part of the first anthology with a short crime novel written in English. I became part of a Facebook group called 'A Stab In The Dark' in order to get to know other writers from England, Scotland and the USA. When the idea came up to collect short stories for an anthology first idea was 'I cannot be in that'. Furthermore stories shall take place in the golden age of crime - the 30's and 40's. No way I thought. Hard boiled - well Rich, the main character of my US-Crime Novel "Rich & Mysterious - Der Niagara-Fall" is kind of a hard boiled story. And then I had the idea: 30's, 40's - what about a letter written by German Journalist, who had the flee to the States and ended on the wrong path (and in the end in the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia)?
Why foreign locations?
When you start a business first thing you should do is market research. The problem of an author writing his or her first book is that in most cases it works that way:
I am honest – this is no smarty-pants-advice from a pro – it exactly worked that way when I started my first novel “Rich & Mysterious – Der Niagara-Fall (currently only available in German – The Niagara-Case in English)). Except 4. and 5. got mixed up somewhere in the middle.
But: I am glad I did it that way – I am a writer, not a business man. Well, actually I am one but not as an author. On purpose I did not read any guidebooks before the first book neither. I wanted it my way – not following tracks of others. I did afterwards and considered some few advices.
If I made market researches before writing my first book and if I valued commercial reasons higher than my personal preferences I maybe would have told the story from another perspective and – even more important – I would have chosen a local crime scene.
Actually that was a question in my first interview: Why did you chose USA as location – is the Police in Bremen (this is my hometown in Northern Germany) not interesting enough? Actually it is and I have just finished a Stockholm-Bremen-Thriller. But also that one takes place mostly in Sweden, a bigger part in Bremen too. USA, Sweden – why is that? There are two reasons:
Number one is that I can neither write against my bookshelf in which are a lot of Scandinavian writers like Mankell or Larsson, nor can I write against my DVD-shelf with mostly american Crime Series like Castle, Bones, Psych.
Number two is I love travelling and writing itsself is an exiting journey but writing about foreign places even spice it up. When a NYC writer informed me that it is not allowed to live in Jersey City and work at the NYPD (though it is faster to get to work than if you live f.w. in Queens/Glendale) it took me three days on Google Street View to find a new appartement my NYPD-detective can handle with her salary. As she has italian roots I am in contact with an Italien writer to avoid cliché – while actually most of her points she had what exactly what I thought was cliché ☺.
I love this exchange and I do not understand this location issue. Authors write historical novels or science fiction (why do you not write about the presence where you live in?), characters are models or private investigators (you’re an accounting – how can you write about …). List is not limited.
In my first English Short Novel “Hello, Vivian!” which is part of the Anthology “Con, Dames and G-Men” I travelled both – in time and space as it tells a story about Philadelphia 1945.
Writing is the best journey I have ever made and I would love to visit more places in my imaginations in future.