I was a fairly average child, much to the despair of my teachers, because the only thing I could do, and the only thing I ever properly understood, were stories. Making up stories and reading books, talking about characters and agonising over their fates, cheering them on and drawing inspiration from their heroic feats. Numbers were never my thing, neither were the sciences; in fact, the only time I really understood abstract concepts like cell duplication and condensation and the speed of light, was when I put myself into the shoes of this one poor, unfortunate cell, bursting under pressure and forced to spew forth clone cells to overcome all evil. That, I got. And even today, if something mathematical comes my way, like, let’s say, Year 7 physics, I imagine an unfortunate water droplet trying to find its way out of a closed room, anxious and afraid, and, lo and behold, I’m delivering a lengthy monologue on water condensation to a child who really only wanted a quick answer for his homework.
After skidding by at school and spending too much time reading novels in the library, I flourished at university. I studied English, American and German literature and being surrounded by people who were exactly like me, who loved to read, write and talk about it all day (in the library, too!), was a new and wonderful marvel.
I graduated rather reluctantly, studying abroad and writing for a local newspaper for a little while, but as soon as I started working in book publishing first in New York, then in London, I found that I loved being an editor as much as I loved reading and writing. Working with writers on shaping their stories, developing close relationships with authors and their creative processes and generally living and breathing books was a privilege and a joy for the ten years I worked in the industry.
When my husband and I moved back to Germany, however, I decided to take a leap into writing full-time. That leap became an amazing journey — and a dizzyingly steep learning curve. Writing at your leisure and scribbling stories in notebooks at night is very different to turning yourself into a writer-on-the-job. Someone who gets up early every day, no matter where the muse has gone to hide, who sits for hours to labour over plot and characters, writes and edits and edits and writes, only to start all over again the next morning, because the story doesn’t shine. It’s a process that’s in turn thorny and invigorating, frustrating and utterly fantastic — and I haven’t looked back since.