Q & A

Throughout the past years, Cornelia has been asked countless questions by her readers. We have compiled a collection for you, that will keep growing.

Could you tell me what book you are most proud of that you have written?

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I cannot answer that question, as that would be like wondering which of my children is my favourite. The ones that were hardest to write were the ones where I wanted to change my style for the story- The Thief Lord and Reckless. If you'd like to know which one I am most passionate about — that's always the one I am working on.

What is your most precious memory?

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The birth of my two children – but in the past years so many precious memories have piled in my heart, that for the rest I can’t choose one. They are all about meeting people, finding new friends, working together – my memories oft he past years are like a box of treasures, and I am sure, there will be a time, when I will like to open it and look at them still shining.

Do you like the film adaptations of your books?

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Selling movie rights means accepting the fact that the richness of a novel needs to be shrunk for the big screen. Which makes TV so much more interesting. But I find it unacceptable when an adaptation changes my characters – which, for example, happened with Dragonrider.

Do you struggle with writer's block?

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I don't think there is such thing! I came to believe that every story is a labyrinth (the better we get, the more elaborate it is) and the story will hide its heart in it as she likes to send us on a journey to find it. She teases us with wrong paths and wrong characters, she doesn’t reveal her secrets easily!

So when writers meet the so-called writer’s block—that means, in my opinion only, that the story tricked them and that they have to go back and find out where. Or cut a path through the hedge.

Whatever they do — those days are often the most insightful ones, as we do in the end understand the story better.

Does what you read influence how or what you write?

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Every book I have read so far — the good ones and the bad ones — influenced my writing.

Do you listen to music when you write?

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Oh yes, I do. Mostly to classical music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Haendel or Henry Purcell.

Did you want to be an author when you where you were younger?

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No, not at all — I wanted to be an astronaut first! And then a pilot, and then a thousand other professions, until I understood I was a writer.

Do you have any writing rituals?

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Oh yes, espresso, fruit gummies and liquorice, some chocolate, a candle, and music that fits with the time the story is set in.

If I had a time machine, where would you travel to?

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I'd go to Elizabethan England and see Shakespeare himself performing on stage, meet Heinrich Heine, Mozart and Henry Purcell, watch Rodin at work, visit the Acropolis, when it was still highly coloured, travel to a time in the future when it is possible to visit other planets.

Do you have a favourite author who inspires you?

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Many! There is a list on Goodreads which shows some books that inspired me: T.H.White, Dickens, Kipling, Maupassant, Steinbeck, Heine and Buechner .... but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

What influenced some of the common traits in your characters?

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They mostly step into my room and are so much alive, that I ask myself where they came from. Of course, some oft them are the result of hard thinking, adding characteristics, manners, etc., but others are alive from the first moment they appear. When I wrote Inkheart, this happened with Dustfinger. He told me his name and he was so real that after a while I had the feeling that he was standing behind me whispering his story in my ear.

Do you have a favourite book?

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"The Once and Future King" by TH White. It is the book I would take to the island, the book I want by the side of my deathbed, the book I wish I had written.

What are some of your insparations to write?

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The ideas come from the inside and from the outside. I collect ideas about things I am really passionate about, characters I want to talk about and that readers would want to read about. Then I collect ideas for places in the book, I look at photos and books about different places for inspiration. Then I start collecting little things about the story and background... until I have a chest full of ideas. Then I start writing the plot of the story, based on these ideas.

What is the most important element of a story?

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Many and always different from story to story. Let the story tell you! And most of all — let the readers fall in love with your characters.

What is your source of strength?

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The world with all its visible and invisible wonders, good friends, anything that creeps and flies and swims and grows, and some very good-natured gods or/and angels who will stand by you, when nothing else could help.

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