The River Runs Red by Ally Rose ** Blog Tour Author Interview** #FahrenheitPress #TheRiverRunsRed
I am pleased to be able to bring you an interview with author, Ally Rose, whose crime novel, The River Runs Red was published in July 2018 by Fahrenheit Press.
Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.
Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.
A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.
With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.
Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?
Who is turning the river red?
Welcome, Ally, to Books, Life and Everything!
First of all, can you please tell us about your latest book:
In all my books I usually tell the story from two perspectives; the perpetrator of the crime and the police view as told by Hanne Drais. The River Runs Red is set in Berlin in 1999- with a back story cold case linked to the communist days in East Germany. It’s the story of a young rower; Rudy, who leaves his childhood sweetheart behind when he escapes life from behind the Berlin Wall. The story of his intervening years is told until Rudy returns to confront his enemies, and the scars of the life that he once knew, post German reunification. The quirky Berlin police team is led by the irascible Kommissar Oskar Kruger, and his deputy is the laid back Detective Stefan Glockner, along with their ocd forensic officer; Rutger Korfsmeier and the criminal psychologist; Hanne Drais. The team needs to find the serial killer who is killing former Stasi officers and turning the water red.
Where do you find inspiration for your novels?
The political history of East Germany offered the possibility to tell stories about truthful events and wrap it in fiction. Backed by the Soviets, the East German leaders with their vast army of the state police- the Stasi, East German citizens were controlled people by fear. The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to stop its citizens leaving for the capitalistic and western sector of West Berlin. From this moment on, they were denied their freedom and the World watched and could not stop it happening. Families were separated for forty years, with minimal visits allowed only from West Germany into the East. During this time, many died trying to escape and some succeeded. Most of those who remained, accepted their dismal fate and dared not speak out against the regime, for fear of being tortured, abused, silenced, indefinitely or permanently. After decades apart, the German psyche had split into two different ideologies and camps and this remained until long after the Wall had fallen. I am often in awe of their resilience and perseverance in the face of what seemed like a perpetual Wartime experience for them. It was only a younger generation of East Germans who brought about a peaceful revolution with the aid of the Glasnost policies instigated by the Soviet leader Gorbachev in the mid-80’s onwards. With research, reading accounts of former citizens, watching German films, but more importantly, having Germans recount their tales, I have created the worlds in which my characters inhabit. Former East German’s who have suffered under the Stasi regime, are the perpetrators in my stories with old scores to settle. Having spent some wonderful times in Berlin, I can recall with ease the streets that I have walked, and I’m always inspired by the Berlin I know and love.
Who is your writing hero?
I don’t have one.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Possession by AS Byatt. It won the Booker Prize in 1990. It was also made into a film, but the book is the format that really moved me and gave me dreams of writing something just as wonderful. Plus, I met the author; such a fine lady.
What advice would you give to someone considering taking the plunge and attempting to write their first novel?
It’s said that we write about what we know, and what we are passionate about. I can only know with the help Germans who lived through this period and my own research it all its various forms about another life in a place where I wasn’t born, or never grew up, or didn’t know about as I wasn’t yet born. However, I do write about what holds my interest. I write about what I am passionate about. I offer a different perspective; a German story written in English. I’m a non-German native, but I feel able to write about a Berlin Police team and crimes emanating from the former East Germany. I do this with personal knowledge of the German character and the knowledge of the setting- Berlin. This period of history is a passion, and so is the country- especially Berlin. I cannot advise other writers in depth as I am a work in progress as an author and a writer myself. I have learnt so much in the past decade about formatting a book and weaving a plot, but that is also through regular writing and reading. Anyway, here’s what I do. I write out my ideas on paper which amounts to no more than half a treatment of a plot. I like to have a title linked to what is going on in the story, and it’s often a double entendre title. For me, having the title from the beginning is important; I rarely change it. Writing the first page gets me up and running and afterwards, I let the story take me where it wants to go.
If you could have a dinner party and invite three other writers (living or dead), who would you invite?
J.K Rowling. She is an inspiration. We’d have a conversation in French and I’d thank her for her magnificent contribution to children’s literature and social causes.
Charles Dickens. I passed my English GCSE studying Great Expectations. A prolific writer of wonderful tales filled with some of the world’s best known fictional characters and I’d be content to just listen to this erudite man; a social critic of the Victorian era.
William Shakespeare. His influence is phenomenal and his plays are translated all over the Globe- no pun intended! His works made a lasting impression in theatre and literature. He depicted medieval life and society with a tour de force!
What’s the one question you wish I had asked and what’s the answer?
Will you try your hand at writing a different type of genre?
Writing was just a hobby until the road opened up for me. I used to just write scripts and try to get them produced and although with the help of a writing mentor, they improved, they came to nothing. But I wrote because it was something I felt I had to do, and I missed writing when I wasn’t writing regularly. Anyway, I didn’t think I could write a book; I thought it was beyond me, even though I always dreamed of being a writer from a young age. Success in my mind was selling something I’d written. Once I felt I’d lived a little and had something interesting to say, all my life’s experiences were added to my stories to enrich them and I got lucky and became a published author. I haven’t written a script since; my crime books are now the genre for me. That said, all my books contain elements of romance and humour, just to lighten the dark theme of the crimes. I may try a different genre other than noir crime thrillers at some point in the future, but for now, I’ll stick with what I know as it gives me many hours of pleasure and satisfaction as a writer.
Thank you, Ally. That would be some dinner party!
About the Author
Ally Rose writes –
"I've always been interested in writing crime stories and with the Cold War era, there is such a rich tapestry to draw from; especially the notorious and quelling Stasi reign in East Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, gives a contrast between the different worlds and any past crimes are held to account in a unified Germany.
Berlin is one of my favourite cities, and I've spent time living and discovering this diverse city and its surrounding areas. Seeing my characters in familiar places, they seem to come to life.
Hope you enjoy my Hanne Drais books."
You can follow Ally here: Twitter
Thanks to Ally Rose, Fahrenheit Press and Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for a place on the tour.
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