Interview with C Harrison

Published 2014-04-05.
Toten Herzen. Are they a real band?
They have their own website, so they must be real. If it's on the internet it's real right?
So how did you get mixed up with Toten Herzen?
In 2012 I read an article in the Guardian newspaper about 10CC and the hits they had in the seventies. As I read it I thought 'hang on, that's not how I remember them.' I went on Youtube and checked out a few of these old songs and ended up 'videohopping' through the suggested videos. I came across one of Sweet performing Hellraiser live and something just clicked. I started to get ideas for rock songs (I do a bit of songwriting and music production), but didn't want to record them under my own name. After a while the name Toten Herzen (Dead Hearts) sounded quite good, so I went with it.

The real sinister bit started the following Sunday when the idea for Toten Herzen's backstory came out virtually complete as if someone had transplanted it overnight. I told a friend, my friend told me to write it as a novel and here we are. . . .
Have you written anything before?
Yes. I was a prolific writer from about 1996 to 2001. That was back in the day, before ebooks, before epublishing, before the internet. Almost before electricity was invented. Back then the only way to get published was to find an agent or turn to vanity publishing. You couldn't do it yourself. I wrote about seven novels back then, usually about mad designers, weird photographers, murderous paranormal book characters or crocodile hunters. I gave up when the house became so full of rejection letters it was a health hazard.
How do you find self-publishing?
Good and bad. The good thing is obviously being able to publish your work without relying on someone else saying yes or no. The bad side is the marketing and promotion. The reason the world has marketing people is because not everyone can do it. Writers write, marketers market. Any writer who has cracked that problem is a genius. I take my hat off to them even though I'm not wearing one.
But the internet is full of marketing advice, isn't it?
Yes and 99.999% of it is utter horseshit. And the other 0.001% applies to non-fiction!
Whose work do you enjoy reading?
I have to say I don't read a lot of fiction. I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller and I prefer my stories visual, so it's film and television. The only authors I look out for over and over are Martin Amis, his dad Kingsley, Umberto Eco (although his later novels are increasingly self-indulgent) and Milan Kundera. I prefer non-fiction, I prefer facts and curiosity. Authors are often told to read read read other authors. But then authors are also told to 'create interesting characters' and 'don't use adverbs,' so I'll ignore the advice thank you very much.
Why do you write?
For attention. No one in the creative arts ever did anything, be it painting, sculpture, music, illustration, dance, acting, for the sole purpose of being ignored. We do it so that people will go 'hey, check this guy out over here.' We're all egomaniacs. Ideas for stories come to me all the time, so I write them down.
What do you think about ebooks and people publishing their own work?
It's a revolution and the more people who do it the better. It doesn't matter how badly you write, get it out there. Anyone who buys a badly written book and then complains about it being a badly written book is a mug. For too long the literature industry has been the preserve of an elite and the gnashing of teeth that goes on when the subject of indie publishing is raised is disgusting. If you have a novel in you write it and publish it. Obviously try to make it as good as you can, you owe it to the reader if you want your book read, but ignore the snobs who try to stuff people back into their boxes. The genie's out of the bottle and is on a rampage.
So, will we see more of Toten Herzen?
There are five novels planned for this lot. Eventually who they are, who Rob Wallet is, what the hell's going on will be revealed and explained. Every day another piece of the puzzle falls into place (remember this idea feels like it's being fed to me from somewhere!), but I'm not exactly sure what the final outcome will be.
And are they really, I mean really, a real band? . . . go there and you can hear them! The vocals are by a Finnish singer called RomyHarmony. Read the interviews with them, google the names. Dee Vincent has a Twitter account: @DeeTheVampire (They all have Twitter accounts for that matter.) They have 174 fans on Reverbnation and are currently the 47000th most popular rock band in the world. Of course, if you still don't think they're real that's your prerogative!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This is a Smashwords generated question. Isn't it sweet. The greatest joy of writing is when I go looking for inspiration running through wildflower meadows. Actually, that's a lie. The 'greatest joy' is when a paragraph or chapter comes together and you read it back and think 'f*** me that's good. I wish I could do that every time.'
What do your fans mean to you?
I'll tell you when I have some.
What are you working on next?
When Toten Herzen Malandanti is complete and published I might start a Malandanti spin off. I like the idea of black magic and the corrupt corporate world being rolled into one. That looks like it'll be sometime next year, or the year after if the third Toten Herzen novel muscles its way in. The idea for the third is quite well formed. 'There Will Be Blood' will involve the band promoting their new album on a world tour, dealing with a rival band (The eponymous There Will Be Blood) and Rob Wallet ghost hunting in the south of France. You get around a bit when you're an author, you know.
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Books by This Author

We Are Toten Herzen
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 101,890. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
In 1977 all four members of the rock band Toten Herzen were murdered. Thirty five years later an investigation by British music journalist Rob Wallet led him to discover the band still alive in a remote village in southern Germany. He persuaded them to make a comeback. Hoax or strange reality? Find out in the only official account of Toten Herzen's long awaited reappearance.