Today I am talking with German writer Christine Spindler/Tina Zang.
Molly: Today I am talking with German writer Christine Spindler/Tina Zang. Christine, Over the past five years I've read/reviewed several of your books Christine, and find you are always improving and growing as a writer. Please will you tell us why you chose mystery genre for some of your work?
I've always been very fond of mysteries, especially series. I tend to get very attached to the characters, i.e. Martha Grimes' Inspektor Jury and Dorothy
L. Sayers' Lord Peter. When I wrote my first book, I wanted to create a series character, too. I wrote four Inspector Terry mysteries, but they were no
success at all, neither in the USA nor in Germany. Gladly, my new mysteries, the Falcon's Bend series I'm co-authoring with Karen Wiesner, is doing a lot better.
Molly: Wonderful! I know that you are also finding nice success with your line of Children's books, particularly those written in German. Please if you will, Christine, tell us which of your books you are most happy with. And why.
I'm so happy I managed to be successful in this wonderful genre. Most of my children's books are published under my pseudonym, Tina Zang. There
are several series, plus some stand-alone titles. All in all I've written 15 children's books since 2007, and some of them turned into long-sellers. My recently published book "Der Karatehamster legt los" is certainly my cutest book. The next two books in this series are finished and will be published in 2008. I was very lucky to find the perfect publisher for this series, with wonderful editors who are adorable to work with.
You are very interesting Christine, both as a person and as a writer. I have found that each of your books that I have read is filled with rich details, nicely developed characters and an agreeable storyline. Can you tell us
what your research involves and about how much time do you spend in doing background research before you beginning a book
That depends on the book. Some need hardly any research at all. Some require a trip or two, lots of background reading, plenty of internet research and
interviews with specialists. I love doing research. For my books, I often choose a topic that I've always wanted to learn more about. Thus, I can
combine my personal interests with book research.
Molly: I see, Now that you have been writing for a while; would you say it is becoming easier to get a book together, or does each book seem to have it's own
challenges? On average, Christine, is the time less now for you to write a book from start to finish?
It's become a lot easier. It took me two years to write my first book. Now I finish a book in roughly two months. Every now and then, I need a new
challenge and write a book in a genre that's new to me. It's very refreshing to try one's skills at something different. It's a bit like building your first cupboard after you've built dozens of tables and chairs.
Molly: Chuckle, sounds a good analogy.
I know Christine, that you have written both series and stand alone works. What is it about series that you like the most? What is the most difficult about writing
I like to meet the same characters over and over again, to put them in new situations and to offer them new possibilities to develop. In most cases, my series weren't planned. After the first book I would realize that the characters had the potential to return. In one case the publisher asked for a sequel because a title was doing so well. I was quite flattered, as you can imagine.
And to continue that theme: What is it about stand alone works that you like the most? What is the most difficult about writing a stand alone book?
I like the feeling of being really finished when the book is written. The story is over, the problems are solved, the dust has settled for good. Or so I think
(see my previous answer).
Molly: You are giving us a lot to think about. Now that you have been writing for a while Christine, have you found more success with or without use of an agent? And do you try to find a publisher before beginning a new work, or do you search when the book is completed?
I have an agent. We've been working together for 6 years now, and it's really very helpful to have someone to negotiate contracts and do all the
I usually have a publisher before I start a new book. The editor calls and asks me if I could write this-and-that. Then I plot and write a synopsis, and
when it gets accepted I sign the contract.
But sometimes there is a book inside me that wants to come out. Then I write it and don't bother about getting it published or not until it's finished and
polished and ready to be submitted.
Molly: Christine, I know your daughter is growing up and you are busy with your writing, please tell us something about yourself, about your life today as it differs, or has remained pretty much the same as when we first became acquainted five years ago.
The biggest change in the past years was in 2005 when I completely stopped drinking alcohol. It's only tea and water now, no more beer and wine.
Although I was certainly no alcoholic, I relied too much on alcohol to relax me when I was nervous or stressed out. In the meantime, I learned some
relaxations techniques and I meditate regularly. This works a lot better than beer, I can tell you!
Molly: Water is so good for us, and I know that many folks really believe in meditation and relaxation techniques! I am happy to hear your good results with them. Now, Christine can you tell us what particular rewards do you continue to find from being a writer?
I've always been very fond of learning, and I've always wanted a job that gives me an opportunity to broaden my knowledge and try out new things. On
top of that, I love being creative, and meeting interesting people. Writing gives me all of that and a lot more.
Molly: Sounds like the best of all worlds for you! What plans to do you have Christine, for the coming weeks regarding promotion of your books, book readings and the like?
I do readings. All the other promotion is done by my publishers.
Now Christine what one bit of advice do you have for beginning writers?
I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. So my best advice is probably: learn from other people's mistakes and avoid them.
Molly: Sounds like good advice to me.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
In my experience there's no such thing as writer's block. It's a myth. I thought a couple of times that it had happened to me and then found out that it was an entirely different problem. Once that problem was solved, the writing was flowing again.