A year or so ago indieberlin decided it wanted to embrace the language of the land that it lives in. Well I mean we try to anyway, but it doesn’t seem to work so well. So while stumbling through a late-night burlesque club, exotically dressed ladies delicately disrobing in the background, we met Claudia Rapp, who turned out to be a a literary translator, writer and lady of taste and style, we asked her to come aboard to the good ship indieberlin. Claudia will of course be not only presenting her books for sale and perusal at the indieberlin Book Fair Thing in Posh Teckel on Saturday 7th November, she will also be reading from her work and giving a talk in the afternoon on a. what to think about when getting your work translated, and b. what to do if you want to be a literary translator yourself. Here’s Claudia in interview (in English for some reason, she’ll explain it all), enjoy:
Claudia: First off, I work as a translator. So I travel back and forth between English and my native German all the time. Here are my English answers. My German ones would probably be a little different.
indieberlin: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Claudia: Find readers and make them feel stuff. Especially yearning. I love it when I read something and it makes me yearn for I don’t even know what. That is what I’d like to elicit with my books.
Listen to Claudia Rapp at the indieberlin Book Fair Thing in Posh Teckel on 7.11 both read from her work and speak about literary translation from both sides of the mirror
indieberlin: Which writers inspire you?
Claudia: John Steinbeck, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Crane, Pamela Des Barres, The Bloggess
“An exalted musician and a straightlaced female detective try to solve a case of mass teenage suicides while testing each other’s patience”
indieberlin: What are you working on at the moment?
Claudia: Let me try to wrap it up nicely… An exalted musician and a straightlaced female detective try to solve a case of mass teenage suicides while testing each other’s patience. With a lot of motifs stolen from Jane Eyre. My tentative tagline so far: Forget Grey. ‘Cause this guy is pitch black… And the girl is like white bread with surprising bite. Something along those lines anyway.
indieberlin: What genre are your books?
Claudia: Ah, the pesky matter of genre! I wrote a small thriller set at my home university, a short novel on finding yourself through getting away (Maybe it’s Eat Pray Love without the praying, but with more Hawaii?), and a time travel groupie adventure. It’s complicated.
indieberlin: Where do your ideas come from?
Claudia: Life, music, the internet, reading, the news, my crazy head.
“The only time I had to look up names was when I created characters that lived in Medieval Finland”
indieberlin: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Claudia: The names just come to me. When I imagine my characters, their names sort of suggest themselves to me. The only time I had to look up names was when I created characters that lived in Medieval Finland.
indieberlin: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Claudia: Finding the time, i.e. earning enough money so you have spare time (and spare mind).
indieberlin: How do you publish (self-publishing, amazon, traditional press, etc) and why?
Claudia: I tried both, self-publishing (via amazon’s kdp/createspace and BoD so far) and with a wonderful small publisher, Amrûn. I’d do both again in a heartbeat, depending on the kind of book I’m writing. It’s hard to make a general statement about which is “better,” because that totally depends on your abilities/willingness to do stuff, on the book or genre you write, on the marketability of your stuff…
“Don’t expect fame and fortune, but if you’ve got the itch, do it!”
indieberlin: Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Claudia: In lots of places. Probably still here in Berlin, writing, translating, organizing readings and such. But who knows. If the political climate veers further to the right, I might go find sunnier pastures. If a cool opportunity arises, I might just pack up and go to Finland, Iceland, Malta, the U.S. West coast, Hawaii, Hong Kong, or some other place I have no idea about yet. Those are just a few I’ve been to or am interested in…
indieberlin: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Claudia: Don’t expect fame and fortune, but if you’ve got the itch, do it!
Claudia Rapp appears at the indieberlin Book Fair in Posh Teckel on 7th November, speaking about literary translation for and from writers – and reading from her book
Photo of Claudia Rapp by Claudia-Rapp photo by Christian Hartz of genuss-fotografie.de
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.