Today I’m pleased to welcome Simone Buchholz to the blog. Simone is the author of Blue Night, which is published by Orenda Books on 30 March 2018 and translated by Rachel Ward.
Today Simone is discussing why she likes to sit around in bars.
I like being in bars. If I’m in an unfamiliar city and I don’t know where to go, I head for the nearest pub and sit down at the bar. If a friend wants to meet up with me I’m unlikely to say ‘let’s get something to eat’, I almost always say: let’s go to a bar! After a day when I’ve written a lot, I head to a bar to relax. After a day when I’ve written too little or nothing at all, I head to a bar to write. A good bar is a place where anything’s possible.
Concentration. Distraction. Happiness. A dance, a row, a kiss. Conversations about football, art, politics and broken hearts. In a good bar there are people that you can do all that stuff better with than anyone else. Because most of them come alone but don’t want to stay alone. Otherwise they could just have stayed at home, lying on the couch, couldn’t they?
And obviously I like the drinks in a good bar. My favourites: ice cold white wine spritzers, and vodka, depending what I want from an evening. I drink white wine spritzers on light, bright evenings, when I’m in the mood for discussion, when everybody’s talking at once and words swarm through the air like bees – or when I want to write. I never drink many spritzers, I don’t want to get drunk on them, I just want a glint in my mind, a twinge in my romantic muscle. And on the way home I skip from corner to corner.
The other sort of evening generally starts later and goes like this: the music is louder than normal, it’s a little too warm in the bar, nobody’s got any more work to do, and everyone’s already well oiled. Somewhere at the bar there’s a seat free, and next to it there’s a person free, and mostly another and then another, and by then we’re in the middle of something. We talk and laugh and sing and dance, and glasses of vodka keep appearing on the bar just because one of us said to the barman: ‘let’s have some more, please’. The reeling wraps itself around our everyday lives like a cloak of invisibility, the world we’re standing on, walking on, starts to move more and more, the floor starts to buzz, it’s like a holiday in our heads, we meet heart to heart, and even someone who’s said nothing all evening starts telling the others about their life.
In the early hours, maybe even with dawn already breaking, we can’t speak that well any more, but we still can’t stop being together so we see each other home. In the end, I unlock my door and haul a sack of stories up to the 3rd floor, stories that wouldn’t even exist if there weren’t all these bars round the corner – in every city in the world, there are times when they’re the best places of all.
About the book
After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard- boiled poetry and ascerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.
About the author
Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as the second Place of the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.