Interview with Stephanie Laimer-Read

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was a pop-up book about dragons going to a funfair :). I was about five and had just learnt to read. I never really stopped since then.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing stories when I was about eight and had just been given an old typewriter. It could be little texts about mundane events, absurd stories or, occasionally, attempts at a novel.
In my teens, I wrote fantasy stories and some poems. I also started writing song lyrics. When I was in my early 20s, I had that idea about a mythical island where a centaur lived - the two resulting novels will be published in English as soon as possible.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Berlintoxication was originally meant to be a short story. In summer 2010, my partner suggested participating in a steampunk story competition, and I thought I would write about a character I had had in mind before but never written about: a man who, without wanting to, experienced other people's thoughts and feelings.
It seemed interesting to set the story in Berlin in the 1880s - in a lively, fascinating and modern city, but also in an environment that was dominated by militarism, imperialism and obedience to authorities. The story is about how these traits are encouraged and strengthened but also questioned. Somehow it grew and developed into a novel. Writing the book was a challenge, especially since English is not my first language. It was intense and not easy but extremely enjoyable.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It is a lot of work, but it is brilliant if you grow fond of your own characters and wish you could meet them. I also love it if I feel as if the story I'm writing has actually happened and all I need to do is find out about the events. My greatest joy is probably creating a world that feels real to me and that I would like to be real.
What are you working on next?
I am translating At Last: The Truth About the Gods, my novel about a centaur, a living shadow, prophets, deaths and gods, from German into English. Watch this space!
Who are your favorite authors?
Terry Pratchett, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Attila the Stockbroker, Kurt Tucholsky, Paul Celan, Bertolt Brecht, William Shakespeare, Christian Morgenstern, Joachim Ringelnatz, Robert Gernhardt, Heinrich Heine, Douglas Adams, Susan Cooper, Bill Bryson, Michael Moore...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
James Young - Songs They Never Play on the Radio Featuring Nico. A touching, bizarre and sometimes baffling account of the last years in the life of a fasclnating chanteuse, who is not famous enough by far.
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything. The book delivers what the title promises - a concise, extremely readable description of natural history, evolution, culture and the universe.
Terry Pratchett - everything, but especially Lords and Ladies. An extremely funny and wise version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Irvine Welsh - Trainspotting. Disgusting, tasteless, sad, scary, insightful and sometimes hilarious.
Douglas Adams - The Meaning of Liff. All of his books are funny, but this one, which provides brilliant definitions of everyday phenomena that haven't yet got a name, stands out.
Published 2014-05-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

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You set the price! Words: 1,760. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
The man has been in a hopeless situation for years, trying to get by and somehow bear it. He is ignored by most of those around him and is not sure if he is still real, still visible, even still alive. Then, suddenly, he sees a chance to break free from his entrapment... A captivating story about isolation and alienation, a spooky fantasy set in a very real everyday situation.
The Mystery of the Second Cucumber
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You set the price! Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
A crime story that Dame Agatha Christie never wrote, but probably should have done. Hercule Poirot investigates the grotesque death of Colonel Brindsley Arundel, helped by his famously incapable friend Captain Hastings and hindered by the Colonel's more than dysfunctional family. Who murdered the Colonel? Who killed beautiful actress Jane Rutherford? What do cucumbers have to do with it all?!
Berlintoxication
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Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 64,320. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
It is 1889. Berlin is ruled by a society that is benevolent towards those who obey its orders, but ruthless against those who disagree. A new leader emerges. His powers are almost impossible to resist. Walter Busch and Charlotte Schaefer suddenly find that they are enemies of the state, forced to live as outcasts, shunned by others. There are, however, rebels who are determined to fight back.