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Swiss Writer Christine Rothenbühler Answers 13 Questions

At this place, I normally present a "blog-hop" between another author and me, in which we interview each other. But I absolutely want to present this woman to you, even though she doesn't have a blog (yet).

Christine Rothenbühler, the storyteller or "Züpflifee" (plait fairy), and me met at events of AUTILLUS (association of Swiss children's books writers and illustrators) and the BSV-Bern (writers' association of the Canton of Berne). She quickly became a good friend and energy-provider. We also meet out of the two organisations from time to time to share woes and celebrate successes.

Christine is devoted to Swiss lore, myths and legends and writes mostly
(but not exclusively) in Bernese Dialect Swiss German. In Swiss, she calls herself "Sagerin". For the German version of this interview, she provided a dictionary entry I'll try to translate here:  

"Sagerin [’za(:)gerin], f: story teller; decipherer of the inexplicable, of hidden worlds and unverified accounts by means of language and body language; compare fr. 'sage' [βa:sch.] wise, sage; 'sage-femme' [βasch’fam;] 'wise woman' midwife." 

So: good fun with the "Sagerin" (storyteller) Christine Rothenbühler.

The most urgent question first, Christine. When will your next book come out?

"Die Welt der Züpflifée" (The Plait Fairy's World), a kind of mythological thriller set between heaven and earth, will be published towards the end of 2016 by Knapp Verlag, Olten, Switzerland. 

Why did you begin to write? Was there a specific event that spurred you on?

As a child, I was afraid of the dark, especially at night, and therefore I used to read myself into sleep. Mostly fairy tales, which spurred and fed my imagination. So I was familiar with books from an early age and they were very, very important to me. I devoured books, immersed myself into the characters and their adventures, pictured everything vividly and took everything I read over into my everyday life and saw "things" everywhere. By the way: I taught myself to read when I was 5.

What genres do you write apart from fairy tales?

Columns, children's stories, occasionally lyrics, poems. 

Should you ever consider changing genre, what would you like to write? 

Scripts for radio and TV, and plays. 

Which do you find more challenging, the process of thinking up a story or the editing?

The former! It's hard for me to sit still. It can be quite painful when a story or idea is haunting me.

Do you have a favourite among your books/stories and why?

Each is unique in its own way and came into being wondrously. If I loved or treasured one of my works more than another, it would feel like betrayal of my luck, my stories and thus my "entrusted children". 

How do you fit writing into your daily life?

By setting myself small feasible goals and by considering how long it will take to reach those. Depending on the available time, I then plan my morning or evening. I know from experience that I'm unproductive in the afternoon.  

Which of your senses is most likely to be involved when there’s a first spark of an idea?

I'm tempted to say the sixth sense. But let's say here that it's my inner eye.

Are there any writing related events that you go to?

Nothing concrete. Meaning, I don't look actively for events but keep my eyes and ears open, and if I find something I think is interesting or that sooner or later could be useful for my writing, then I'll tell myself "go for it!". Still, regular excursions into nature are more important for me.  

Do you belong to any writing related organisations?

Yes, three of those. AdS (Authors of Switzerland), Autillus (association of Swiss children's books writers and illustrators), BSV (writers' association of the Canton of Berne). All three of them – and their members! – I can recommend full-heartedly!! 

How important is reader feedback to you?

Critical, fair feedback is very welcome indeed. It contributes to conserving and cultivating an old cultural property and to the development of my story telling style. And, what's very important, you help yourself (the audience) and me to profit the most from the time we share, be it at my desk when creating a story, reading at home, or performing/watching on the stage. 

How can readers contact you?

Via e-Mail, telephone, mail.; +41 (0)32 534 02 11; Christine Rothenbühler, Chante-Merle 83, CH-2502 Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

What’s your favourite book of all times?

There are many exceptional books out there I'd read a second or third time. The one that'll always be the richest in content and most important for me is the Bible.

Thank you so much, Christine, for granting us a glimpse into your work and writing routines. You've forgotten to mention that it's possible to book you as "Sagerin" (storyteller, performer). I was lucky enough to watch one of your performances – a great experience for anyone who loves to listen to folk tales. The best of luck for your future. We're looking forward to the publication of your newest book.