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Interview 2017 : Andreas Eschbach
A la Une
auteur Andreas Eschbach
Pour lesYabook

Let’s meet Andreas Eschbach and talk about his latest novel !

Mes Premières Lectures : Hello Andreas, and thank you for your time ! Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about how you came to writing ?

Andreas Eschbach : Hi, my name is Andreas Eschbach, I’m born in 1959 in Ulm, Germany, lived in Stuttgart for a quarter of a century for studying and working in the IT business, and besides this, I was always writing since early childhood. However, I started publishing rather late in life : I published my first short story in 1990, my first novel in 1995, and when my third novel »Jesus Video« became a huge bestseller in 2000, I dropped everything else and became a full-time writer in 2001.

How I came to writing ? Honestly, I don’t remember. When I grew up, there was always paper around, and I loved filling it, first with drawings, then, after I’ve learned to read and write, with words. Basically, that’s what I’m still doing to this day.

Mes Premières Lectures : L’Atalante just released your novel Aquamarin. How did you come up with the idea for this story ? What was your starting point ?



Andreas Eschbach : Sometimes, novel ideas come to me as a handy package with not much open questions left, and Aquamarin was one of them : I had the image of that girl with gills, I knew her name was Saha, and I knew she had to live on the north coast of Australia. Especially this location proved to be a very wise decision, which I only came to understand that when I wrote the second part of Saha’s story (which has been published in Juan 2017 in Germany under the title »Submarin« and will be translated as well).

Everything else sprouted from these three points, and it was mostly fun to write the book, which is not always the case. Maybe that’s the reason why so many people told me they loved the book very much.

Mes Premières Lectures : What themes did you want to discuss in this novel ? Are environmental issues important to you ?

Andreas Eschbach : Yes, environmental and ecological issues are important to me, but they are rather not the subject in this particular novel. Aquamarin tells the story of somebody who doesn’t fit in with the society around and doesn’t understand why for a long time – until something happens that forces this person to discover hidden secrets. The theme is, I’d say, how we would see genetically manipulated people once they will become part of our daily life.

Mes Premières Lectures : Aquamarin is set in a rather close future (2151). How do you imagine life and industries at that time ?

Andreas Eschbach : I don’t see 2151 as close future. In terms of science-fiction, it’s a rather distant future. The advantage of setting a novel in a distant future is that none of us today will be still alive then, so whatever I tell about that time can’t be proven wrong or right in our lifetime : this is quite comfortable.

Close futures are a very difficult setting. Imagine I had written a story in 2007 (when George W. Bush still was president of the US) : Would I’ve guessed that 10 years later, a bankrupt, misbehaving reality-tv-star would become US-president ? And even if I had guessed that right : Wouldn’t readers have rejected that story with the then valid argument that it’s »too far out unbelievable« ?

But actually, this wasn’t the reason why I chose 2151, but : I needed some time to pass between the creation of the submarins and the story in order to have the sea already populated with them. The story would not work if there were only a few of them.

Mes Premières Lectures : Aquamarin is a young adult thriller. Do you write differently for teens or children ?

Andreas Eschbach : No. The heroes are younger than the heroes in my adult novels usually are, but that’s it. And it’s by no means easier to write for teens or children, although a lot of people seem to believe so, unfortunately.

Mes Premières Lectures : Do you have any other on-going projects ?

Andreas Eschbach : Always. Remember, writing is my job. But I usually don’t speak about the next project before the first draft is written.

Mes Premières Lectures : I believe you were in Saint-Malo for Étonnants Voyageurs !

Andreas Eschbach : Yes, I were, for the fifth time already, I believe. I always love to be in Saint-Malo, it’s a beautiful city, especially the old town, Intramuros.

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Interview 2017 : Andreas Eschbach : Mes Premières Lectures