Innsbruck has so much to offer - especially culturally. The alpine metropolis has already produced important personalities, among them some authors. In this post, I'd like to introduce you to three up-and-coming talents who couldn't be more different. They cover different genres and topics. However, one thing they have in common is their love for writing. I had the great pleasure and honor to talk to all three of them and may now introduce them to you.
Verena Wagner: an inspiring mother, environmentalist and blogger
In October 2022, at the Harvest Festivalorganized by the cooperative field:creates i met Verena Wagner. She was together with the initiative foodsharing initiative, about which I have already written an article. For those who haven't read the post: foodsharing is committed to saving still edible food from being wasted. Verena and I got to talking, and it turns out that in addition to volunteering as a food saver , she is also an author, blogger, and mother. She is committed to sustainable living in a variety of ways. My curiosity was piqued, we met again, I bought one of her books and am now very happy to introduce her to you.
"I've actually always enjoyed writing," recalls Verena Wagner, who studied comparative literature and ethnology. After graduating from high school, she completed a traineeship at a publishing house and then worked as an editor. She only became self-employed after the birth of her three children.
Live more sustainably
in 2015 she founded the blog mamirocks.comwhich is mainly about topics that are interesting for families. Verena wants to give parents impulses, inspiration and ideas to fill family time together with joy, joie de vivre and meaning. Sustainability plays a major role for the mother of three. "This includes, among other things, my passion for collecting and processing medicinal herbs and growing them in my own wild garden, as well as trying to run a zero-waste household," Verena explains.
Once through the year - once around the world
With her book „Familienbande im Jahreskreis“ verena provides a wonderful source of inspiration for families who want to celebrate each month with all its special features. The comprehensive collection of ideas and suggestions ranges from seasonal coloring pages to delicious recipes as well as craft and creative tips, accompanied by background information on various festivals and customs around the world. Verena takes the reader on a journey around the globe and presents customs from different countries and cultures: from Chinese New Year to the fasting month of Ramadan to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles or our carol singers. It becomes clear that many customs are based on ancient traditions - including our Christian festivals. The solstice, for example, has been celebrated since time immemorial. It is probably no coincidence that we celebrate Christmas at exactly this time. The book reveals even more fascinating parallels, such as the fact that spring is greeted with lavish festivals and celebrations all over the world - be it at the Hindu Holifest, the Persian Nowruz or the Buddhist New Year festival Songkran. Browsing through "Family Bonds in the Cycle of the Year" allows you to discover and learn many new things.
A richly filled treasure chest
It's a wonderful book for families, filled with suggestions, inspiration and tips that Verena has collected over the years. "I draw on a wealth of experience that I have gathered over 15 years of motherhood," says Verena. "It's important to me that parents don't put pressure on themselves at all by thinking they only have to do crafts, cooking and baking from now on. My book is a tool that is simply meant to inspire." And I think she's absolutely succeeded in that. Without pointing fingers, she shows us how much fun it is to celebrate the seasons together with the whole family
On the road with children
In another book, „Naturzeit mit Kindern: Rund um Innsbruck“she presents 40 hiking and discovery tours for children. She attaches particular importance to family suitability. So there is something for everyone, even for the very young. You'll hardly find any forest paths at Verena's. "That was important to me," she tells us, "small forest paths or steep tracks are much more exciting!" So if you enjoy being outdoors with your kids and are looking for new inspiration, I definitely recommend Verena's books.
Christian Kössler: teaches us the creeps
Now it gets spooky. Christian Kössler takes us into the world of legends, he shows us the mystical Innsbruck, and it also gets a little macabre. For creepy fans his books are just the right thing, squeamish readers should rather keep their distance.
From sporting goods salesman to creepy author
Christian Kössler first worked as a sporting goods salesman before deciding to embark on a career change and train as a librarian. Since then, he has been working in the public relations department at the Library of the University of Innsbruck. Books have always played a role in his life. Writing, a fascination for sagas and the macabre have accompanied him since childhood. So it happened that in 2005 he took part in a saga writing competition and made it into the top 30. Christian Kössler denies the question of whether he learned to write anywhere: "It's always been in my blood somehow. I'm not really good with numbers, but I am good with words."
The kicking literary man
Since then, Christian Kössler has published eight books, seven of which belong to the horror genre and have a connection to his hometown of Innsbruck. Since 2007, he has been going on reading tours and touring Europe with his stories. Among other things, he reads at universities, mostly in front of German language and literature students. "My personal highlight was when I was allowed to represent Austria at the international literature festival in Tartu/Estonia," Christian says. But it's not just his work as a writer that takes him around the world; on the side, he also plays on the austrian authors' soccer team. Since 2009 he has been defending the goal of the Austrian literary team and has played in Basel, Berlin, Ljubljana, Rome and Vienna.
In our conversation, I ask Christian which of his own books he likes best. It's a question that probably bugs every author, but it still interests me. "It's hard to say," Christian reflects, "my first book is of ‚Bestialisches Innsbruck‘ is very close to my heart, of course. That's where it all started, and it was my springboard, so to speak. However, it brought me ‚Unheimliches Tirol‘ the most attention - also internationally." In this work, he devotes himself to historical sagas. "I tried to dust off this genre." He succeeds by bringing the original motif into the present.
I recommend Christian's books to people with a black sense of humor, fans of the supernatural, and anyone who likes to be creeped out.
Catherine Snow: Fantasy made in Innsbruck
Catherine Snow is an up-and-coming fantasy author who has already written two books - „Viridis – Der Seelenfänger“ and „Akademie im Niemals“ - and has numerous projects in the pipeline. Her love for writing started early. As a child of the 90s she grew up with a very famous wizard student. The love of Harry Potter certainly shaped and inspired her. However, she denies the question of whether Joanne K. Rowling is her role model. "I had the great fortune to meet one of my favorite authors, Bernhard Hennen, in person at a convention," Catherine says. "Since then, we've been in touch, and when I have literary questions, I may turn to him. In a way, he's my mentor."
Social media yes - pressure to compare no
She gets inspiration for her fantasy novels in a very unusual way: "I watch documentaries about the muddiest conspiracy theories and ask myself, what would happen if that were really true?" Catherine is always striving to improve herself. She is well connected and belongs to several writing groups on Facebook. To connect with her readers, social media also plays some role. Like many authors, she also runs an Instagram account, which allows us certain insights into her life and work. However, it's important for her to emphasize, "I'm a writer, not an influencer, writing is and always will be the most important thing to me." She warns young fellow authors not to compare themselves too much with others on social networks: "Everything always looks top on Insta. You run the risk of thinking that others are doing much better than you."
A hardworking writer
I've known Catherine - or Katharina, as she's actually called - for quite some time, and it was always clear: writing is her great passion and lifeblood. So I was very happy for her when she published her first novel. I have always admired her for her discipline and her belief in herself and her ability. It's a mystery to me how she manages to write so much while studying at the College of Education and working. "It just flows from my hands," Catherine tells me, "other people watch TV, I write." Catherine doesn't have a set writing routine; she often writes in the evenings when her husband is working, or with friends. To boost their productivity, they host writing sessions - at Starbucks, for example. "We set a timer, chat until it rings, then focus on writing again until it rings again."
Replenishment is in the pipeline
Fans of fantasy literature can rejoice, Catherine has, as mentioned, several new projects in the pipeline. Her new book, „Schatten der Magie“, is due out in July 2023. "I'm not short of ideas, if anything, I'm short of time," Catherine laughs. So we can stay excited and look forward to lots more to come!
Tips from the pros
If you too dream of writing for yourself, I have something for you. I asked our three authors to leave us with a few tips.
First things first: You have to really love what you do. Few can make a living from writing. That means passion, not money, has to be the priority. Persistence and perseverance are essential. You should also build a network and get in touch with other writers. It makes perfect sense to join writing groups or participate in contests. If you ever have writer's block, don't let it put you off - it happens to the best of us. Go through the world with your eyes open and let yourself be inspired.
With that in mind, I wish you happy reading - and writing.
Cover image: © Catherine Snow
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