Zen And The Art of Murder By Oliver Bottini @maclehosepress @CorinnaZifko #AuthorSpotlight

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Today we are over the moon for our spot on the Zen And The Art Of Murder Blog Tour. We have a special interview with Oliver Bottini for you to enjoy.

Zen And The Art Of Murder By Oliver Bottini
Translated by Jamie Bulloch 

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1427.0 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (11 Jan. 2018)



The first in a gripping new crime series set in Germany – the Black Forest Investigations

Louise Boni, maverick chief inspector with the Black Forest crime squad, is struggling with her demons. Divorced at forty-two, she is haunted by the shadows of the past.

Dreading yet another a dreary winter weekend alone, she receives a call from the departmental chief which signals the strangest assignment of her career – to trail a Japanese monk wandering through the snowy wasteland to the east of Freiburg, dressed only in sandals and a cowl. She sets off reluctantly, and by the time she catches up with him, she discovers that he is injured, and fearfully fleeing some unknown evil. When her own team comes under fire, the investigation takes on a terrifying dimension, uncovering a hideous ring of child traffickers. The repercussions of their crimes will change the course of her own life.

Oliver Bottini is a fresh and exciting voice in the world of crime fiction in translation; the Rhine borderlands of the Black Forest are a perfect setting for his beautifully crafted mysteries.

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

Interview with Oliver Bottini


OLIVER BOTTINI was born in 1965. Four of his novels, including ZEN AND THE ART OF MURDER and A SUMMER OF MURDER of the Black Forest Investigations, have been awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis, Germany’s most prestigious award for crime writing. In addition his novels have been awarded the Stuttgarter Krimipreis and the Berliner Krimipreis. He lives in Berlin. www.bottini.de.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your main character, Louise Boni.
I was keen to create a strong but also vulnerable police officer who slowly, through the course of the novels, learns to live with the wounds from her past (and also from her present). In Zen and the Art of Murder, the first novel, we meet her as an alcoholic. She has to fall far before she can find the strength to stop drinking – which she manages at the end of the novel.

The setting of the Black Forest is very atmospheric. How well do you know the region?
I often travel to Freiburg and to the Black Forest, to do my research. I also go there a lot on holiday. That’s how I get to experience the atmosphere, even if I don’t live there.

The story revolves around a group of Buddhist monks. What significance does Buddhism play in your life?
Buddhism used to be very important to me. As a twenty-year old I used to read the classics of the Zen. I spent thirteen years learning Kung Fu and Qi Gong from a Thai Buddhist teacher who also told us students about meditation and Buddhism. I think I have learnt a lot from my involvement with Buddhism, even though I never was spiritual myself or a Buddhist. But looking after myself has always been very important to me, although

Your career has gone from success to success.  You’ve won multiple prizes, including the German Book Prize, and regularly top the German bestseller lists. Can you tell us more about your writing career, how you started out, and about any particular challenges you had to overcome?
I started writing at age 14 – poems, short stories, novels, plays. That’s how, in addition to reading, I learnt to write. However, while studying German literature, I found that I couldn’t write anymore. Suddenly I found that looking at texts from an academic viewpoint paralysed me as a writer. I found that very frustrating, although I did enjoy being an academic. I only started writing again after my studies had finished – but without success. I was 39 when I finally succeed. I was a freelance editor and knew the right people. One can say: I had a long dry stretch, and then a lot of luck!

What tips can you give to writers who are just starting out?
Write! Write! Write! Whatever you want! And read! Read! Read!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Playing with our son (two and a half years). Spending time with my wife. Yoga. Playing the piano. Reading. Watching series on Netflix. Meeting friends.

Who is your favourite author?
A difficult question! Here are some of my all-time favourites: Christoph Ransmayr (an Austrian), Don Delillo (early works), Jack Kerouac (the hero of my youth), Gabriel Garcìa Márquez, Virginia Woolf, Colum McCann, Shakespeare.

You travelled the world as a young man. What did you learn from your experiences abroad?
I learned what loneliness feels like. But also, that there is a paradise on earth: New Zealand (at least in the eighties).

Your Louise Boni novels focus on political crimes, such as arms dealing, child trafficking, war crimes, etc. Where did your desire to write about these topics come from?
I am interested in politics a lot. But mainly I am interested in the truth, the “whole picture”. In Germany –and maybe in the UK, too? – the media often don’t tell you the whole picture, only parts of it. The parts, which are opportune or fit to the opinion of the majority. And I enjoy writing novels about these other, hidden parts of the truth.

How does it feel to see your novels being translated into English for the first time?
It’s just great! A long-standing wish was fulfilled. English is the most important and most spoken language of the world. Now also people who don’t know French or Danish, for example, can meet Louise Bonì, if they want. Besides I like English very much.

Could you share your writing routine with us?
At 9 a.m. I drive our son to the kindergarten, than I start writing or doing research for a book. At 1 p.m. I usually have my lunch or do some sport and rest, than work again. A 4 p.m. I get our son home, and when it’s not my turn to take care of him, I sit down again to work until 6.30 p.m. Sometimes I read books for research after 8 p.m.

Are you writing anything new at the moment that you can tell us about?
Right now I am working on an idea for a television crime series. A German TV producer gave me the chance to develop a storyline. If TV stations here aren’t interested, I will use the idea for my next novel.

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