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 🙂
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“ 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!