The question I‘m asked most frequently at my reading sessions is: ‘Don’t you have to have a screw loose yourself to write something like that?’
Or put in other words: ‘What on earth went wrong in your childhood?’
I used to wriggle out of this question by asking another question about what’s wrong with you as a reader? You even pay me money for unburdening my nightmares to you after all.
However, I secretly tried to find the reasons and looked for possible traumata I might have experienced in my formative phase as a young child.
At first glance, it seems you could find an explanation already in my first few months. I think I already look a bit like a psycho baby on this picture here.
My dislike of being photographed must have taken its course at this point.
I guess I rarely caused people to say: ‘Gosh, he’s so cute’ or ‘So sweeeet’ when they saw me. This might be the origin of my inferiority complex that made me want to become a tennis player later on.
As you can see, I was highly motivated, and with an enthusiastic look on my face I competed seriously with Boris Becker in the early 80s. I still resent him that his silly win at Wimbledon slightly distracted the media from writing about the brilliant 3rd place I had won in the amateur tennis tournament of the SC Brandenburg.
As you may have noticed, you don’t know my name from the world’s number one lists in sports, which may be – besides my fitness – due to the talent of the salesman who talked me into buying this racket here.
He was fully enthusiastic about the extraordinary and ergonomic power of this racket, but of course that thing was total junk (even before I broke the cover with my teeth in a rage). Since then, I haven’t been able to trust people who sell things out of their trunk at the highway any longer.
After my tennis career didn’t seem to get off the ground, I decided to become a rock star. It is true that I couldn’t sing like Freddy Mercury or play several instruments like Prince, but I have always danced like Joe Cocker.
When my parents developed tinnitus, they deeply regretted having given me a percussion instrument as a present.
So, I started living a fully uninhibited and excessive life as a musician.
Just like Madonna, I sometimes shocked the people around me with quite permissive photos, which might have caused people to have doubts about my sexual orientation.
Back then, there was only one thing preventing my great breakthrough as a multimedia celebrity in the music, show, and television business and in Hollywood – and that was me.
As you can see very clearly in these two pictures, I had always been a very popular photo subject during our shows. I was always easy to recognize.
To make sure I didn’t starve sitting behind the drums, I followed my parents’ advice and took my high school diploma. I didn’t know what subject I should study, so I chose the most obvious and got enrolled for veterinary medicine.
That was back in 1990. I wanted to abandon myself to the pleasures of life, make the world a better place and help dogs such as this one here by removing tartar.
This is Molly, may our dear God of the Dogs bless her.
Unfortunately, she died of old age and was always glad that my two left hands never got to treat one single animal, since after studying the subject over an incredibly long time of three months, I decided to change the subject (still dopey from the formalin vapour we used in our course in dissection).
I was very single-minded and therefore decided to switch from veterinary medicine to law studies.
It was the first time in my life that the outfit I wore on the occasion of my confirmation fit my desired career.
And this time, I even managed to pursue my studies until the first state examination.
Despite the fact that I have never worked as a lawyer in my life, I still enjoy working with axe murderers and psychopaths that I came to like during my lectures on criminal law.
Then, the wall came down in Germany. For reasons that are still unknown to me, the Berlin radio station 104.6 RTL offered me an internship related to my course of study.
That’s exactly where someone became aware of my qualities as a model, which were of course fully wasted at a radio station. As you can see in this picture, I became a well-known brand face for a special Easter edition of a famous car manufacturer.
Having so many qualifications as a deceptive tennis player, would-be rock star plus experience in dissecting dogs and my superficial legal knowledge, it was more or less sure that I would soon rise to fame in the German world of media – I became editor in chief at the radio station Berliner Rundfunk.
At the same time, I decided to do without the second state examination. However, in order not to disappoint my parents too much, I wrote my thesis on copyright law. (Yes, I really did. And I did it all by myself. Back then in 1996, there wasn’t even Google, and ‘Copy & Paste’ was thought to be an Italian appetizer.)
Back then, one of my friends told me that with such a title you would get better rooms when making hotel reservations. Of course, this was not true, just like my ergonomic tennis racket.
You are probably already wondering why such a straight résumé has not led to me becoming an author even earlier on. To be honest, I have no idea myself.
I started writing quite late, following a visit to the doctor. It was in early 2000, and I had accompanied my then girlfriend to the doctor’s office. We were waiting the usual minimum of eight hours in a waiting room having the size of a telephone booth, together with 234 other patients. And then, sometime shortly before midnight, I was thinking about the question ‘What if my girlfriend never came out of this consulting room again?’
This was no wishful thinking, but the beginning of my very first idea for a thriller. As you may have remembered, my book ‘The Therapy’ begins with the situation of a little girl who suddenly disappears without trace from a doctor’s office and everyone tries to tell her father, Viktor Larenz, that his little daughter Josy had never been there at all.
While my mother assured me that I would win the Nobel Prize in Literature, my manuscript was rejected by all publishing houses, until I happened to meet a literary agent in early 2002 (at a time when Google already existed). His name was Roman Hocke. If I had known at this time that he had once been Michael Ende’s editor, I would probably not have called him every day to ask about the present state of affairs.
Roman was obviously a bit concerned that I might continue to molest him, so together with his agency AVA-International, he finally made the impossible possible. He greased the palms of the people working at the publishing house Droemer Knaur and got me a contract. When I was told about the amount of the first impression, I was overwhelmed: 4,000 copies. I pictured how all these people would suddenly hold my book in their hands. But then I learned that there are over 5,500 bookstores all over Germany, which kind of brought me down to earth again. Nevertheless, we had a marketing budget of zero Euros, better than nothing!
This is where I would like to virtually bow to you, the reader. Without your word-of-mouth recommendations, I would still need to live in my villa with 20 rooms in Grunewald, drive a Ferrari and fly to Paris to have lunch. Luckily, these hard times are now over.
Anyway, I would like to thank you for allowing me to write some more books, with one of them ‘The Child’ being adapted to the screen at the moment. And ‘The Soul-Breaker’ is currently performed as a play in the theatre. In accordance to my person and my life, the première is of course not performed in the Kriminaltheater (theatre showing only detective stories and crime thrillers), but in the theatre Komödie am Altstadtmarkt in the small town of Braunschweig.
You may have realized that my name has now been taken off all single and dating websites. This is due to the fact that, in 2010, I married in Las Vegas in the Grand Canyon in the presence of all of my friends, relatives and good colleagues (so only the two of us). This is no photo wallpaper!
I actually have problems only with people who do not understand my sense of humour, just like the doctor I asked, while she was performing an ultrasound scan on my wife, about whether my daughter (26 weeks) would do her high school diploma one day.
Yes, I have become a father! Charlotte was born on 10/10/10. A date which I can easily remember as on 10/10/1794, the dictator Tadeusz Kościuszko was defeated with his army by the Russian army led by the General Alexander Vassiljevitch Suworow during the Kościuszko revolution in divided Poland during the battle nearby Maciejowice and was taken prisoner.
Sandra and I have provided evidence against the theory that women cannot get pregnant during the nursing period. Let’s see whether David will manage to be born on 11/11/11. Because then I would be allowed to wear my fancy dress in the delivery room!
(Note from the editor: David was born on 5 October 2011. He was not able to wait.)
My best friends say they can tell about the culinary skills of my wife just by looking at me. I don’t understand what they mean.
Sie können sich ja selbst von mir ein Bild machen wenn wir uns vielleicht mal auf einer Lesung treffen. Dann beantworte ich gerne auch die Fragen, die ich hier offen gelassen habe, zum Beispiel weshalb ich mich für einen Irrenmagneten halte und wieso mein Kind mit einem abhörsicheren Babyphone ausgestattet ist.
I invite you to form your own impression of me, if we shall meet at one of my readings. I will be glad to answer you the questions I have left out here, for example why I consider myself to be someone attracting only lunatic people and why I have a bug-proof babyphone for my children.
Until then I hope you enjoy visiting my website and/or reading my books.