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Monday 7 December 2015

ℚ♫ Riesa Series [1-2] - L.D. Towers

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Riesa, her Military Fiction series.

The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to  Lauren D. Towers; thank you for joining us.

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in the Riesa series, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"This is all the music named in Teufel. :) One of my fans asked for it! :D Some of the nazi songs in this playlist might be banned in some countries, but I think most of it is safe."

What was the inspiration for New Austrian Order?
"New Austrian Order is a sequel to my first book, Teufel, so one could say the child was inspired by the parent.  I found a great book that went through the anschluss or union with Austria and Nazi Germany in day by day detail.  It’s amazing. I realised that I wanted to work on this topic in detail.  It was so close to being a very ugly little war- Hitler’s tanks were rolling towards the border and then suddenly… POOF!  Hitler is making this triumphant return to his homeland and now it is his happy people throwing flowers in front of his motorcade.

I also wanted to do more with Galiena von Steinberg.   In Teufel, she has one chapter for every two of Hagen’s.  She was pretty traumatised in book 1, and now she’s finding herself in New Austrian Order.   She has bigger fangs than people give her credit for.  She’s still damaged in the sequel, but she’s fighting back."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"There is a lot of me in both of my books.  Much of Galiena’s inner turmoil germinated out of my own. Not that I’ve suffered in the way she has, but I’ve my own struggles with anxiety over the years.  I’ve said many times that she is a lot like me, if I had a hoard of money.  She likes to shop.  She’s a larger woman.  She likes to please people, but is in little doubt as to their motives.  Galiena is perhaps more devious than I am.  People see me coming like a freight train. I don’t think people underestimate me, but then we live in different times.

Hagen’s process is similar to my own.  He’s a thinker- he thinks out his plans and conversation well in advance.  There is a scene in Teufel where Hagen is waiting for Hermann Göring.  He knows Göring is going to tell him that he can’t see Galiena, and he plans out the situation in his head like a flow chart before Göring arrives.  That’s so me.  We are almost the same age now, and I have to say, when Hagen is feeling dyspeptic about his age, that could be a bit me as well!"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for New Austrian Order - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Pranav Lohani put the cover together for me based on an old cover I designed.  I found him by his handle as Venom_hunt over on Fiverr when I needed a quick and dirty cover for a fanfic I did and I’ve been using him ever since.  Highly recommended! :)  Though I think he didn’t like this one as much as I did!

As for the cover- The Riesa series have a basic theme.  They are and will always be red, white and black as a nod to the colours of the Schutzstaffel- Hagen’s organisation.  Where as Teufel (entirely made and designed by yours truly, actually!) just has the totenkopf or deaths head symbol on it, New Austrian Order’s cover is different.  The Teutonic cross, the symbol on the cover, was on the flag of the Fatherland Front, the fascist ruling party of Austria in the 1930s.   It was used as a de facto flag in Austria at the time even though it was not the official flag of the country.

I liked the geometry and simplicity of the cross.  It’s cropped up again in another work of mine in progress."
Why should we read New Austrian Order and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"I do a lot of research.  Many famous and infamous people crop in Teufel and New Austrian Order and I try very hard to be fair to them. (the good and the bad)  It would be very easy to make stuff up but why do that when the truth is so much better than the fiction!

I can document almost everything you see the real people do in the book. From time to time, someone will message me and ask me if this or that detail is true- did Hermann Göring really have lions, for example.  (Yes, and they slept in bed with him!  If the lion handlers tried to put the lion in a different room, they were very unhappy.  One named Mieke broke down several doors to get to Göring.)  There is a fencing scene between Reinhard Heydrich and Hagen in Teufel.  Absolutely possible.  Heydrich was an Olympic level fencer and extremely competitive.  I love these little details."
Can you tell us something quirky about New Austrian Order, its story and characters?
"When I wrote Teufel, I named every ‘misc. german dude walk-on’ Helmut.  Then when I edited the book, there were over eight Helmuts, so they all got renamed except two.  Helmut Rotbart - which translates to Helmut Redbeard- and Helmut Erzberger.  I don’t think anyone would notice.

In New Austrian Order, we have the Helmut which is here to stay.  Helmut Ritter von Kleist, who is the number 2 at the von Steinberg Gesellschaft, or corporation.

A funny addendum to this is that I dated a Helmut for a while when I lived in Berlin.  I remember saying to my friend… I’m dating a walk-on!"
Who would you recommend New Austrian Order to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"WARNING!  This series is about Nazis.  If you have a serious allergy to anything related to 1930’s Germany, you might not want to read it.  A friend of mine is Jewish and she told me she just couldn’t read it, and that’s totally cool.

I think more of a trigger is that Galiena is raped by her grandfather, Meinrad von Steinberg, just before Teufel starts.  For some people, that could be a bit upsetting.

It’s interesting to me, with the whole rape in Game of Thrones controversy, the people who were arguing about rape as a plot point and how it is lazy.  I don’t personally agree, but I think that authors need to be careful about it.  Many women have been victims of sexual assault and I think it needs to be dealt with sensitively.  In many ways, what happens to Galiena is the catalyst around which much of the story turns in the background.  I couldn’t take it out."
If you could / wished to turn New Austrian Order and the Riesa series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Ha!  My fans and I did this on Twitter and Facebook not too long ago!

Hayley Atwell as Galiena though she would need red hair.  When I wrote her originally, I was thinking Kate Winslet in her ‘Hideous Kinky’ size 16 phase, but now she would be too old.  (I wrote Teufel ten years ago!)

Paul Bettany was my original Hagen Kohl, perhaps Damian Lewis would also be good. Perhaps Kevin McKidd, though he’s more muscular and less beanpole.

Timothy Dalton as Meinrad von Steinberg- a lah Penny Dreadful.  That’s Meinrad RIGHT THERE!

Stephen Amell as Eugen Freisler - my original thought was Sven Ole Thorsen about 25 years ago.

Burg Eltz was the original inspiration for Schloß Riesa, but since I’ve been there, I would say it is a little small."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I’m actually working on a whole series about Vampires, simply to market to a different audience.  A bit more romantic and it’s my attempt to break out of the war mould.  We will see.  I’m excited about it.

I’ve also got a murder mystery set in WWI coming up.  It’s an interesting concept.  A Canadian officer goes on the hunt for a serial killer operating on the front lines of the Western Front.

In terms of what I read, I generally only read non fiction, though I will read Kathy Reichs books when I need a little break from the heaviness."
What is your writing process?
"Get an idea, sit down and write.  I don’t do any of the whole ‘mapping’ out ‘outlining’ thing.  I think a lot of people spend too much time ‘preparing’ to write, and not enough writing. /end rant.  This is a topic I can get a little choleric over!

Teufel is 269000 words.  People often ask me- how did I manage to write all that.  It’s simple. I sat down and I wrote it.  The first draft took four months.  I will admit, I wasn’t working at the time.  I was on medical leave.  I told myself I had to write 10 pages or a chapter a day. Now I’m not so prolific because I am working.  When I’m working on something, I try to do 2k words a day."
What is in store next?
"Anschluss, the sequel to New Austrian Order is in the works.  This finishes the story of Austria and it’s going to end with a bit of a bang.  I’ve always said that New Austrian Order and Anschluss were my Empire Strikes Back.  Originally they were supposed to be the same book but it was just getting too big.

I’m also working on a series of novellas about Meinrad von Steinberg’s life.  He’s a VERY bad man, but he’s an interesting one.  We have a very big hint in New Austrian Order about why he did what he did to Galiena, and it all becomes clear in the novellas.  He was designed to be a foil to some of the real characters in the Riesa series who were also very bad men."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have a Sealpoint Siamese named Niblet who is my constant companion. He’s 8 months old at the moment, and so far has lived in Canada, Belize and Mexico.  My old Siamese, Shen Lung, is with my parents now.   He just turned 21 in October and I didn’t think it was fair to bring him down to the tropics with me.  Shen and I lived in Germany, France and Canada. Now he rules my parents with an iron paw.  My sister and I joke about putting all the ‘old folks’ in the same home together.  I know he is very happy!  It’s surprisingly easy to be a nomad with a cat.  You just have to be organised."

Hello Niblet!  He is the same age as my two 'kittens' - they are trouble!
Wow - your kitties are true globetrotters!  (and there was me thinking I had done quite well bringing my cat Fix back from Greece... :-D )

The Riesa Series
Available NOW!

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LD Towers said...

So much work here! Thank you! You even have a pic of me and my blue hair! :D (That's an... OH MAI GAWD, I so don't want to turn 40 next year rebellion!!!) I'm blown away!

BooksChatter said...

Hi! thank you for popping by, and I am glad you like it :-)
I love the blue hair, but I am not brave enough for it!
Ah! 40 is not so bad, it's just a number ;-)

BooksChatter said...

BTW: you can meet our kitties here!

LD Towers said...

OMG! You have a pride!!! They are so cute!!

I'm so sorry about your Lou Lou! :( Shen's brother Mao had kidney disease, and it's so horrible watching your babies fade away!