~ Constanze Wilken: „Ein Sommer in Wales“ ~

Ihr konntet bereits vor einiger Zeit meinen Artikel zu Constanze Wilkens Roman „Der Duft der Wildrose“ lesen – und das darauf folgende Interview mit der Autorin (hier in deutscher und hier in englischer Sprache).

Some time ago I published my article to Constanze Wilkens novel „The flavour of wild roses“ and also a lovely interview in german as well as in english.

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Nun habe ich das zweite Buch mit dem schönen Titel „Ein Sommer in Wales“ gelesen und bin ebenfalls begeistert.

~ Ein Buch, wie gemacht für den Sommer ~
~ Ein Buch, wie gemacht für den Sommer ~

Constanze Wilken schafft es, dass der Leser nicht nur in die Geschichte eintaucht, sondern auch die Mystik und das Wesen des walisischen Schauplatzes spürt.

Now I have read the second book with the wonderful title „A summer in Wales“ and am as satisfied as with the first one.

Constanze Wilken is able to not only let the reader dive into the story but also let them feel the mystic and the „wind“ of the welsh town.

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„Etwas außer Atem kam Simon am Ende der unbefestigten Straße an, die an einem Gatter vor dem Herrenhaus endete. Die Säulen vor dem Eingangsportal waren deutlich zu erkennen, genau wie die mit rotem Efeu überwucherten Mauern.

Morlan House!

Die Nähe zum Meer hatte dem prächtigen Haus seinen Namen gegeben. Simon wusste alles über die Geschichte des Hauses, hatte sich jedes Buch aus der Bibliothek ausgeliehen, jeden Zeitungsartikel gelesen, der auch nur entfernt die Legenden berührte, die sich um Morlan House rankten. Sollten sie ruhig über ihn lachen. Er wusste es besser, auch wenn er erst zehn Jahre alt war.“

(S. 9)

Dies war im August 2002 – und noch vor den Ereignissen, mit deren Ausgang sich die junge Redakteurin Ally Carter seit jenem Jahr quält.

In diesem Sommer war sie – wie in vielen Jahren zuvor – mit ihren Eltern im Sommerurlaub gewesen. Der letzte, den sie als Familie verbringen sollten!

Jetzt, 10 Jahre später, arbeitet sie beim Inside-Travel-Magazin und wird für eine Reportage nach Aberaeron geschickt – eben jenen Ort, den sie am liebsten nie wieder besuchen wollte…

This happened in August 2002 – and before the events that are hunting young editor Ally Carter to this day.

This was the last summer she spent with her family – like in so many years before in the welsh country.

Now, 10 years later, she is working for the Inside-Travel-magazine and is sent to Aberaeron to write about this town – a place she is not happy to go to again…

In langsamen Zeitsprüngen werden wir als Leser in die Geschehnisse von damals eingeweiht, die sich noch in die heutige Zeit verlagern, als Ally Bekannte von damals wiedertrifft.

„In einem grauen Sweatshirt Jeans und Segelschuhen schien er gerade von einem der Boote im Hafen zu kommen. Begleitet wurde der Mann von einem triefend nassen Jagdhund, der Anstalten machte, sich zu schütteln. […] Der Irish Setter setzte sich gehorsam und David drückte Allys Hand. Sie war schon beim Klang seiner Stimme zusammengezuckt. Das durfte doch alles nicht wahr sein! […] Nach all den Jahren traf sie ihn ausgerechnet hier wieder. […] Ally fühlte ihr Herz bis zum Hals schlagen und fand, dass überhaupt nichts mehr in Ordnung war.

Ihr sorgsam aufgebautes Leben fiel gerade in sich zusammen wie ein Kartenhaus.“

(S. 32/33)

Während des Lesens der Geschichte machen wir eine kleine Rundreise durch die Gegend um Cardigan Bay und erfahren Interessantes über die Gegend, Dylan Thomas und das walisische Wetter.

Wir werden in Orte wie Newquay, Llanerchaeron und Aberystwyth eingeladen und erleben den Charme dieses Fleckchens Erde.

While reading the story you are invited to a small tour around Cardigan Bay and get to know little insights of this place, Dylan Thomas and the welsh weather.

We are led to towns like Newquay, Llanerchaeron and Aberystwyth and get a glimpse of the charme of these places.

Natürlich geht es auch schrittweise vorwärts in der Geschichte um David, Ally und die Ereignisse der Vergangenheit, die beide nie losgelassen hat.

Wir lernen auch interessante Menschentypen kennen, die sich mit ihrem jeweiligen Leben arrangiert haben – oder aber mit ihm zu kämpfen haben.

For sure the story is told in small steps and it revolves around the towns people, the plans of some – and the fears of others – all hidden in the past and still alive in the present.

We get to know some interesting characters who have huge goals, have arranged with their life – or struggle with it in some ways.

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Dominiert im ersten Teil noch die Recherchereise von Ally und ihrem Fotografen Nick, so ist es im zweiten Teil die Suche nach der Wahrheit, die Ally erneut in das walisische Urlaubsgebiet zieht.

In the first part you have the focus on the works of Ally and her photographer Nick but all the while there is a change in the focus and suddenly Ally is drawn again to the welsh town.

p2

Am Ende von „Ein Sommer in Wales“ löst sich natürlich alles auf und die Geister der Vergangenheit geben Ruhe. Natürlich werden sie wohl immer Teil von Allys Leben bleiben, aber die Wahrheit hat allen Beteiligten mehr Klarheit gebracht.

For sure in the end of „A summer in Wales“ there is some closure and the ghosts of the past are not as moving as before. Sure they will always be a part of Allys life but the truth has given her life some really needed space to breathe.

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Constanze Wilken hat ein Gespür für das richtige Erzähltempo und natürlich übt auch der walisische Schauplatz einen gewissen Reiz aus.

Constanze Wilken has some intuition for the right tempo of telling her story and for sure the lovely welsh setting has a lot to do with the feeling, too.

Auf ihrer Website hat die Autorin auch noch einige interessante Informationen rund um die Schauplätze des Romans zusammengestellt:

Auf jeden Fall ist „Ein Sommer in Wales“ zu empfehlen – am besten jetzt – als Sommerlektüre 🙂

„A summer in Wales“ is a good read for the summertime 🙂

"Ein Sommer in Wales"
„Ein Sommer in Wales“

~ „A Cottage in Wales…“ – an Interview with Constanze Wilken ~

My dear english-speaking readers,

here is the promised translation of the very nice interview I had the chance to do with the lovely author Constanze Wilken. Her german novel „The flavour of wild roses“ whose action is taking place in lovely Wales is a good one to read and I can highly recommend it 🙂

So let’s go to the interview 🙂

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Dear Constanze,

thank you very much for taking part in this Q&A. After putting it up on my site you are invited to also take it to your author-site and link to my blog.

I really hope you don’t mind me offering you the more personal „you“ 🙂

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1. When you had the opportunity to study in Great Britain you instantly fell in love with Wales – and spent five years living there. I had similar feelings when I was in Wales last year. Do you sometimes think about moving back there or living in Wales for a longer period of time?

I love to think back to my times in Wales and will also be in this country this year. A small cottage in Wales – that would wonderful.

If so – where would you like to live and for what reason especially there?

My cottage should be near Aberystwyth – at the cliffs with a sea view. Aberystwyth has everything you can dream of while being in a small town – and it has the university with lots of international students. There is the Arts Centre the University can be really proud of – with exhibitions, theatre- and music-events as well as a Café and a Restaurant. And – another essential place for my researches is there – the National Library.

Besides this Aberystwyth is situated in the middle of Wales, so you can do trips to the north and the south of this lovely country. Every region has it’s charme. In the next month I am travelling again to Aberystwyth because my friends live there – and then I am off for research for a new book to the northern area of Wales – to the beautiful Llyn Peninsula.

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2. Reading, writing and hiking in national parks are some of your favorite things to do. It’s the great mixture of culture and nature that’s part of your wholesome life.

So is being an author your dream job – or did you do some different things in former years?

Writing is now my dream job – that’s for sure. I just take a detour with cultural history and my studies to get there. Nowadays I also love working with contemporary artists and I am also involved in the world of arts and auctions. But besides writing I have nearly not enough time to do these things.

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3. During your research for „The flavour of wild roses“ you also talked to rangers of the Snowdonia-Nationalpark and those guys were really interested in your novel and your interest in their work.

Did you have this feeling for a longer time – to write a novel taking place in Wales? Or was it just a spontaneous idea?

After the fourth historical novel it was definitely time for me to come back to the present and since Portmoirion was in my thoughts for a novel-setting for a longer time I started to keep myself busy with this idea. My stories are developing themselves step by step. Sometimes its a place or a historical event or something someone told me – and that is evolving and taking more space in my thoughts. And Wales is an old country full of traditions and myths and legends – with picturesque towns and this awesome natural surrounding – so I didn’t have to search that long to find new things for my novel. 

The idea to „Storm over the Sea“ was built during my last Wales encounter. A friend of mine told me – while we were walking at the beach of Borth – about the legend of a sunken kingdom and fossil treestumps. What evolved from this talking? The book comes out in December.

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4. As an author – did you have bigger problems to solve? Was it difficult to find an agency? What were you looking for especially with agencies?

If you’re not at home in this industry or have been an editor you should really go for an agency to help you. I was lucky enough to find the perfect one for me and am really content with them for years now. 

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5. During my stay in Wales I also found the people there to be really friendly and helpful. It’s really wonderful and pleasant to live in a small town and really blend in there. After coming back to germany did you sometimes compare the behaviour of the germans to the ones of the welsh people?

I did. The welsh people are unbelievable friendly, polite and open minded. I really felt at home in an instant and surely miss this natural and hospitable contact with each other in germany. Especially the politeness in the underground or while waiting in lines is not a thing most germans are good at…

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6. I read former interviews with you – so I know that you are mostly listening to folk-songs while writing your novels about Wales. Biggest thank yous for mentioning Cara Dillon – I didn’t know her before and she really has a wonderful voice.

While staying in Wales did you had the chance to listen to lots of welsh artists? In the pubs there are often live-performances – also spontaneous ones.

Is there any artist you can recommend?

Karan Casey (irish) also has a wonderful voice and Steve Balsamo who is currently on tour with Rosalie Deighton. Steve Balsamo is a welsh artist and most will know him as a great musical singer from Jesus Christ Superstar. 

I can’t really remember all the wonderful musicians I listened to in pubs – but every timne it was an unforgettable evening when the musicians pulled out their instruments and filled the pub with happy or melancholic melodies.

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7. I think the welsh language is really interesting, but I didn’t have time to try to learn it. And it’s always best to learn a language in the country where it is spoken. Do you speak some words Cymraeg?

Not really… and I don’t want any welsh-speaker to hear this. But I can read some of it. 

If so, what kind of experiences did you have while learning it?

Welsh is a really independent language and I was happy that my english was good enough for the university. But we as germans should have no great problems with the pronunciation – welsh is really  guttural and full of consonants.

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8. Your second novel taking place in Wales called „A summer in Wales“ is coming out in a few weeks. Do you have any plans for readings, lectures or something else?

Will you be at the next Leipzig Book Fair next year? (I missed you this year)

This summer I am travelling a lot, but in September there is a planned event: at 09.09. I am presenting my novel „A summer in Wales“ together with my brother who is a jazz-musician. This will take place at the Dünenhus in St. Peter-Ording.

Leipzig is always beautiful – city and fair and I think I will be there next year and hopefully we’ll meet then 🙂

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9. Since my blog is not only dealing with books I have some a question concerning other media:

Do you have special movies, series or something else you keep up with regularly? Are there media-heroes you have that lift you up in dark times?

To relax I love the Poirot-movies with David Suchet and also the Montalbano crimne stories with Luca Zingaretti and mostly every BBC literature adaption. Oh – and also Downton Abbey 🙂

Another tip: the english crime series „Hinterland“ (Y Gwyl) with Richard Harrington as silent investigator – it’s taking place in and around Aberystwyth – really dark with local colour. I like to watch it because I know many of the places there.

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10. Now to the last part of questions. Please write the first thing that comes to mind. Thanks 🙂

Summer or Winter? Summer

English Breakfast or Continental Breakfast? Continental

Most loved historical figure of GB? Oscar Wilde

3 places (except London) where you want to live: if not only GB: Florenz, Montauk (Long Island), Cardigan Bay (Wales)

favourite song these days? Karan Casey „you brought me up“

Place where you feel at home: Where friends and family are

I can switch off the best when… I go for a walk on the beach with the dogs

What I have to see when visiting Wales… Besides Aberystwyth – Aberaeron, Llyn Teifi (See), Laugharne in the south and St. Bride’s Bay and all the time: Snowdonia

Thank you so much for the Interview, Sindy! Diolch y fawr!