’5 Questions’ Interview With Cora Buhlert!
Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Cora Buhlert to the blog as part of the ’5 Questions’ with authors interview series! Cora Buhlert was born and bred in Bremen, North Germany, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines.
If you are an author who would like to participate in the series, fill out the questionnaire here! And if you are a reader who wants to suggest an author for the series, just send me an email!
Describe your book Murder in the Family in ten words or less
Murder in the Family collects nine short tales of love, death, vengeance and murder.
Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?
It’s a short story collection, so the ideas came from lots of places including a Volkswagen TV commercial, a supposedly true story that happened to a friend of my great-aunt, a photo of a hat floating in a river and a writing prompt asking me to write about “How to murder your parents”.
Which of your characters (in this book) is closest to your heart and why?
I have a soft spot for Eudora Pennington, a nice old lady who gets mugged in a cemetery and gives the robber a nasty surprise.
I also have a lot of sympathy for Hannah, a single mom who deals with a sexual harasser in a rather unorthodox way, even though she is a criminal. But then the harassment scenes, particularly the brief scenes narrated from the POV of Hannah’s harasser, were just so icky to write that I felt the urgent need to take a shower afterwards.
Finally, I’m quite fond of Alfredo Spinelli, the mafia boss with a hair problem, simply because he was such a hoot to write.
Do you have a day job? If yes, tell us about it and how did that affect your writing / publishing process?
Actually, I have two day jobs. First of all, I work as a freelance technical translator. Moreover, I also teach remedial English classes at a local high school.
As for how either job has affected my writing, translation is closely related to writing anyway, since both are jobs that require working with words. Of course, technical and business writing (i.e. the sort of thing I translate) are very different from fiction writing, but you can still learn a lot about how to writer effectively. Though I actually learn a lot more about how not to do it, because the quality of a lot of technical writing is abominably low. Finally, you also learn interesting tidbits about all sorts of technology and get to meet interesting people, particularly if you also work as an interpreter on occasion.
As for my other job, teaching is a great way to keep in touch with how teenagers think and speak. It also increases your empathy, particularly if most of your students are “problem kids” like mine are. And trying to help these kids and maybe make their lives a little better simply makes you feel good, even if you know that you can’t help all of them. Besides, interacting with real live human beings is beneficial, since writing and translating are both rather lonely professions.
Tell us about an upcoming book or project you’re excited about
I’m still working on making my backlist available in e-book form, so I’ve got a new book coming out every month or so.
Upcoming projects include, “The Dark Lily”, a spy story set in Beirut in 1965, which is a prequel to my spy novelette “The Other Side of the Curtain”, “Flights of Madness”, a collection of short stories about planes and flying, and “Cartoony Justice”, a story which every editor to whom I ever submitted it loved but had no idea how to market it. I call it “too weird for New Weird, too bizarre for Bizarro”. It involves magic, talking pigs, people getting turned into dancing bananas and cartoons.
I’m also continuing to translate my existing stories into German.
Bonus Question! Fill in the blank: If you like ___, you’ll probably like my book too!
Oh, this question is really difficult to answer, because I write in multiple styles and genres.
That said, a few years ago a fellow student at university compared my writing voice to Nick Hornby. That same student later went on to become an editor at a German imprint of one of the so-called “Big Six” publishers, so I can confidently say that my work was compared by Nick Hornby’s by a Big Six editor.
Murder in the Family is available on Amazon (Kindle).
Check out Cora Buhlert’s Amazon author page for more info and browse through her other books!
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