Monday, March 26, 2012

The Same Six Questions - Cora Buhlert

Welcome back Same Six faithful! And a rousing Monday-morning Hello! to all the newcomers to this ongoing interview series, The Same Six Questions! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Please say hello to today's guest, Cora Buhlert!

Thanks, Andy! I live in Bremen in North Germany – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. But don't worry, I write in English. I have an MA degree in English and am currently working towards my PhD. When I'm not writing, I work as a teacher and technical translator.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Several books actually. At the moment, I'm at fourteen and counting. But before you get too awed, most of those are reprinted backlist short stories and novelettes. I have published several historical shorts and novelettes, a series of short thrillers in the style of the pulp magazines of the 1930s about a pulp writer who fights crime in the guise of a masked avenger called The Silencer (the first story is called Countdown to Death (The Silencer) and has The Silencer facing the electric chair) as well as a scattering of other stuff. Jack – or rather Jane – of all genres, that's me.

You can buy my books at Amazon, OmniLit/All Romance, DriveThru Fiction and XinXii.


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've been telling stories all my life and I wanted to tell stories for a living since elementary school. However, I have a very visual imagination. And so I wanted to tell my stories in film form for many years, first as an animator and - once I realized that I couldn't draw for the life of me - as a director of live-action movies. I even went as far as joining the local amateur film club, until I realized that: a) movies were a team effort and b) I wasn't much of a team player.

I had already written my first stories at that point and even had a short story published in the literary magazine of my university, so I thought, "Forget the movies! I'll become a writer." And here I am.


3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

In high school I penned and composed an opera called Sino and Sana, because I happened to love opera. The libretto for that opera, a standard fairy tale plot of royal twins lost in the woods, was most likely longer than 1000 words, though the credit would have been shared between me and my then best friend.

A bit later I started my first novel, a science fiction tale of which I remember nothing except that it started with a flying red sportscar kidnapping two teenaged girls with a tractor beam and flying them out over the San Francisco Bay. Why San Francisco? I haven't the foggiest idea, except that I somehow thought it was a cool setting. Again, I'm pretty sure I got further than 1000 words before the idea fizzled out.

My first finished piece of fiction, which exceeded 1000 words, was a short story called Neverending Nightmare which I wrote in twelfth grade. It was a bizarre story about a girl who was turned into a plant by a mad scientist and then chopped up and served as salad and somehow managed to stay conscious through it all. There was also an ambitious circular structure, which I remember sketching in my notebook during German class.

Thankfully, all of those early attempts have been lost during countless computer updates.


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)?"

During my second semester at university, when I wrote a short story for a writing/composition class and the teacher suggested that I submit it to a British newspaper which had a regular short story feature. Of course, my little story was rejected, but the fact that the teacher believed enough in my writing abilities to make me mail the story proved to be invaluable encouragement.

The next indication was when one of my short stories was published in New Leaf, the literary magazine of my university. Of course, I didn't get paid and I didn't even get my contributor's copies until several months later, because I happened to be doing a semester abroad when the issue with my story came out. But seeing my name in print for the first time was still a great feeling.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Probably Stella d'Anvers, singer, dancer and sorceress (in that order), from an upcoming story called Cartoony Justice. Why? Stella is fun to hang out with and unlikely to cause trouble or get me killed. Besides, she's one of my all-time favourite characters and I haven't done anything awful to her yet, therefore she is unlikely to harbour a grudge against me.

The Silencer, a.k.a. Richard Blakemore, would certainly be fascinating to meet, but he does have the tendency to get himself into trouble and bullets are likely to start flying whenever he's around.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

It's my three favourite writers, Jane Austen, Isaac Asimov, and Thomas Pynchon. That is, I think it's them, since Asimov and Jane Austen are rather decomposed by now and no one knows what Pynchon actually looks like.

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Thanks for stopping by today, Cora! Find Cora online at her author and publisher Web sites.

See you back here on Thursday, when my guest will be Steve Kazzie!