Have you been writing for a long time? Can you tell a little bit about your career?
Yes, the first thing I’m known to have written is a poem to my father when he was away in the army. I was about 9 or 10. In my teens I kept a diary (threw it away years later- it seemed so narcissistic) I studied classical literature, history and philosophy at Oxford, then more philosophy at Princeton and settled on a career as a philosopher. My literary work has always been interspersed with philosophical writing. I guess it was because of that mix that I wrote a book on the philosophy of literature, although I’ve written lately more literature than philosophy. I was appointed as a very young philosopher to teach in Indonesia and that’s where I got my interest in Asia, returning there (to Hong Kong) after spending some years teaching in England. Hence many of my novels are set in Asia.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
I don’t honestly know. It was just something that I always did and, as I grew up, couldn’t imagine not doing, whether it was writing philosophy or novels.
Is this book a stand alone or part of a series?
I have started on a sequel, which will follow the characters in their later lives, which are pretty eventful.
Why did you choose this genre
I didn’t. I don’t sit down and consider what genre to write in. An idea for a story comes to me and I try it out. If I find I’m increasingly taken by it, I keep going. That’s what determines what genre I write in.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t do it unless you feel you have to. Don’t try to live off it, unless you just want to write what the market (thinks it) wants. If you happen to become very successful (ie please the reviewers and sell a lot of books), fine. But don’t aim at it, Aim at writing the best book you can and let the market and reviewers do what they do. It’s far better to have written a good book that never gets published than an inferior one that does.
Are you a plotter or a fly by the seat of your pants writer?
It depends. Sometimes, as with The Kaminsky Cure, I have a fairly detailed outline in my head before I start (although it may change as I go along). At other times the outline is pretty hazy – I know where (I think) I want to get to, but how exactly I get there is still not clear when I start. My novel Shanghai is somewhere in the middle, while the one I’ve just finished, Chinese Spring, is nearer the other (hazier) extreme.
What is your daily page or word count record?
Do you mean the record number I’ve written or the daily average? And do you mean the first draft or subsequent ones? (Sorry, as I said, I’m a philosopher.) Either way, I don’t know. I know some writers (Graham Greene, supposedly) set themselves a target and then take the rest of the day off. I can’t work like that. Some days I’m stuck and the words come very slowly (and may be erased the next day). That’s generally the first draft. Other days things go faster, especially on later drafts (there are many drafts before I’m satisfied).
What is your favorite story of all time?
That depends on what day of what week you ask me and at what time of the day. -Well, that’s an exaggeration, but our tastes certainly do change with time. I think Anna Karenina would probably be one that I’d very often say was my favourite (sorry, favorite). But ask me next week, after I’ve re-read it, and I might answer Ulysses.
About the Book
Title: The Kaminsky Cure
Author: Christopher New
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
The Kaminsky Cure is a poignant yet comedic novel of a half Jewish/half Christian family caught up in the machinery of Hitler’s final solution. The matriarch, Gabi, was born Jewish but converted to Christianity in her teens. The patriarch, Willibald, is a Lutheran minister who, on one hand is an admirer of Hitler, but on the other hand, the conflicted father of children who are half-Jewish. Mindful and resentful of her husband’s ambivalence, Gabi is determined to make sure her children are educated, devising schemes to keep them in school even after learning that any child less than 100% Aryan will eventually be kept from completing education. She even hires tutors who are willing to teach half-Jewish children and in this way comes to hire Fraulein Kaminsky who shows Gabi how to cure her frustration and rage: to keep her mouth filled with water until the urge to scream or rant has passed.
Christopher New was born in England and was educated at Oxford and Princeton Universities. Philosopher as well as novelist, he founded the Philosophy Department in Hong Kong University, where he taught for many years whilst writing The China Coast Trilogy (Shanghai, The Chinese Box and A Change of Flag) and Goodbye Chairman Mao, as well as The Philosophy of Literature. He now divides his time between Europe and Asia and has written novels set in India (The Road to Maridur), Egypt (A Small Place in the Desert) and Europe (The Kaminsky Cure). His books have been translated into Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese. His latest novel, Gage Street Courtesan, appeared in March 2013.
Buy on Delphinium Books
Buy on Amazon