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Bibliothek Bücherregale
Sabine Schoder - (c)Gaby Gerster_05.jpg

Me and author?
Nobody could foresee that!

Or maybe yes?

Once upon a time there was a favorite book...

... read by my mom so I should fall asleep faster. It just didn't work. "The Little Vampire" fired my imagination so much that I lay wide awake in bed and wanted to hear more and more. Soon I was spooking around in self-sewn vampire cloaks and building my own tomb out of couch cushions. That's probably how it started: Strange worlds grabbed me!

“Five Friends” was mostly just in my head

Our small mountain farm was so remote that I often had to play alone after elementary school. This alone time fired my imagination all the more. I wandered through the forest and told myself made-up stories. I wrote down the very first one when I was nine. It was entitled "The Red Ruby". My favorite books at the time were The Five Friends.

Others read about horror. I of friendship.

"Stephen King's IT". My first adult book, which I read when I was twelve. After all, it took me three months to get through all the chilling scenes. I was so enthusiastic about the "Losers' Club" that I hit the keys myself afterwards. I wrote a few horror stories on our electric typewriter, but they never made it past the first few pages (as my fingers kept getting caught between the keys - ouch!)

Hehe, my brothers will never guess that password!

(Yes, unfortunately neither did I later...)

I was writing my first teenage story when I was fifteen. I now had a PC and secured all my data with extremely strong passwords. So effective that unfortunately I can no longer open it today. I never would have thought of publishing it anyway. At that time the internet was still in its infancy and it never occurred to me that there would be something like writing communities. I also had another career goal in mind: I wanted to draw!

I dive into a flood of books

Although I would have loved to illustrate manga, I decided on a "real" job. I studied graphic design at the Advertising Academy in Vienna and blossomed there as an artist. The training was great, my first jobs were very exhausting. I often lacked the energy to draw. More and more often I sank into my book worlds after work. Back then I read a new book every week. Just not one thing, although everyone made such a fuss over it. After all, what on earth would a "Muggle" be?!

quidditch? That's rubbish!

"Harry Potter" finally convinced me. And just as he got thousands of kids to read, in my early twenties he took me back to my desk and had me banging my keys. A fantastic story of five volumes plus a continuation of three more was created. Unfortunately only in my head. Only a thin Volume 1 made it onto paper. The problem was that I had already planned the plot in such detail that I didn't feel like writing it down. A few novels followed. Even two vampire novels were among them, but they were based more on the disheveled characters from "The Little Vampire" than on glittering dream men. I still got Stephenie Meyer's autograph when the opportunity arose at a reading. It was then that I started wanting to be a writer. Of course not in reality. It was just one of my fantasies.

May the Hunger Games begin

The Hunger Games changed my life. If I hadn't read them, I would never have taken part in the Triboox/Oetinger Panem writing competition. It was the first time I had a story read and judged by complete strangers on the internet. And, oh my god, it was full of comma errors! Despite this, I made it to 3rd place out of over 400 submissions  . Maybe, I thought very, very carefully, my writing wasn't so bad after all?

As my husband always says: If you want cake – bake! 

I wanted to finish a novel before my thirtieth birthday. With an emphasis on done. Nothing more, no publishing, no publisher. I wrote Colorblind (later better known as "Love Is For Idiots. Like Me.") within a few months. Since I was working full-time, there were weeks or months of writing breaks in between. Nevertheless I persevered. My trick: Apart from the ending, I had no idea where the story was going to take me. She remained exciting for me. And finally she was actually done.

Later I asked my editor if it was true that only 2 out of 1000 manuscripts were accepted by publishers.

She thought for a while and then said, "Less."

I knew how unlikely it was to be accepted by a well-known publisher. Several Internet forums had enlightened me about it without a doubt. Not wanting to give it a try, I bought two books on editing (almost read them too *cough*) and rewrote large parts of the story. The course of action remained the same, only the language improved. Another year passed, and suddenly I was sitting in front of a finished AND revised novel. Now it got scary. Should I dare and write to a literary agency? Should I let my dream of numerous unfriendly rejections shatter now and possibly forever? "If you don't send it off, your chances are zero percent," says my husband. So five agencies got my exposé plus reading sample. Four of them wanted the entire manuscript. Three offered me a contract. And it finally became one. my agency My agent,  Christiane Düring .

Writing is for idiots. Like me.

After that everything happened very quickly. My agent had sent the manuscript to the book publishers. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. And suddenly the time had come: there were publishers who wanted to buy my story! Which they would actually publish! I signed at S. Fischer, worked my way through editing over the coming weekends, and had my own book in my hands almost exactly a year after sending my manuscript to the agencies. I was now thirty-three.

"Love is for idiots. Like me.” became so successful that I was able to become a freelance writer. I'm still working towards the first million, but at least I can afford to pursue a profession that has been in my bones since an early age: telling stories! 😄

A roller coaster ride of emotions

– this is how many book bloggers have described my novels so far. And the rollercoaster ride of emotions pretty much applies to my life as a writer. Hand on heart: There were moments when I wasn't just close to despair, but hugged it tightly. But there were also these flights of fancy, these unique experiences that made up for everything. My books have been published in six languages so far, I've been nominated for the Buxtehude Bull and the BEO German audio book prize, and I've won the DELIA youth literature prize. Bärbel Schäfer interviewed me at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the fully occupied reading tent, I was on Cologne Radio, ORF, on the exhibition stages of FM4 and Der Standard and a few more.  I was invited to the Buenos Aires Book Fair by my Argentinian publisher, was the guest of honor at a blogger event where everyone (except me) spoke Spanish, was interviewed by Argentinian radio and have read in Argentinian schools. I also met great authors, fell completely into my fangirl mode with Kerstin Gier, and was also able to experience how it is the other way around when readers  fall into fangirl mode because of   (crazy, right?!) I have no idea where my writing journey will take me next, but one thing I know for sure: I hope so YOU accompany me for a long time! 😊

Last but not least, have a look at my house:

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