Who are you and what do you do?
Ema: I‘m a twenty-one year old writer, and student at a German university, majoring in English Studies (while my minor is German Studies). I grew up bilingual (German and Bosnian), but am able to speak in, including those two, five languages. If I had the chance, I‘d love to learn British Sign Language, Irish, Scottish-Gaelic and Swedish as well. Most of the time I surround myself with Social Media projects, especially when it comes to feminism, LGBTQIA, literature and mental health issues.
Lena: I’m a 25 year old German university student. Right now I’m studying English Studies and German as a Foreign Language and having a lot of fun with that. I already have a BA in Asian Studies (which was also pretty cool) so yeah. Basically I’ve studied half the world and if my parents hadn’t told me to start working after this BA I’d gladly study the other half, too.
What genres do you enjoy?
Ema: While I tend to enjoy all kinds of genres, I consider ‘Autobiography’, ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Horror’ my favourite ones.
Lena: I frequently read Young Adult fiction. They are such fast reads and entertaining plots. I really enjoy Dystopias, Fantasy and Science-Fiction, the worlds are just so fascinating to play with. If I’m in the mood Classics are also something I turn to. Right now I’m exploring some Victorian literature and it’s fun.
What are some of your favourite books or series?
Ema: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, The ‘Watch’ series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Wasted by Marya Hornbacher, I am not a serial killer by Dan Wells
Lena: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma, Emma by Jane Austen, the ‘Harry Potter’ series by J.K. Rowling, the ‘Ruby Red’ trilogy by Kerstin Gier
Biggest book you've read?
Ema: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Joanne K. Rowling
Lena: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin has been the book with the most pages in the last few years.
What is your favourite language to read in?
Lena: English. Although sometimes I have the impulse to read in German, too.
Bad book habit?
Ema: I tend to start reading many books at the same time which is why there’s always the possibility that I’ll take ages to finish one.
Lena: I also do the reading-too-many-books-at-the-same-time-and-finishing-none thing.
Favourite place to read?
Ema: My bed.
Lena: My couch, cuddled up in a blanket.
Favourite pastime besides reading?
Ema: As I wrote in our ‘About Us‘, (written) words are my passion. I love losing myself in endless descriptions of what I see and feel, I love creating new and different worlds in order to give others a glimpse of my very own thought processes. After all, writing is what keeps me going. It’s what helps me through everything because even when I can’t be sure that the people I love will still be there tomorrow, I can be sure that words won’t ever leave me. I write for myself. Not because people tell me that they like the way I write, not because I want others to swoon over my words, but because this is mine. To me, writing isn’t about how good you are, it’s about what’s truly behind it. You don’t need others to compliment you (even if it’s nice) – you don’t need to prove anything, to be perfect at it. To shamelessly quote Melinda Haynes: “Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.” Write for yourself. If it makes you feel happy or content, if it has a meaning to you – any kind of meaning, then do it. Writing shouldn’t be measured on a scale, we all have a different style. So, sure, there will always be someone who’s going to tell you “that it sucks”, but there will also be people who are going to tell you to keep going with it. Why? Because they obviously see something else in your writing or in your eyes when you talk about it.
Lena: When I don’t read I usually watch TV series (Sherlock, anyone? Miranda? Keeping Up Appearances? Black Books? The Great British Bake Off?), watch YouTube videos about books or just lie around on the couch, playing with my cat. Recently I found out about a YouTube channel called Blogilates (a Pilates channel) and I’ve started to do some of her videos from time to time and find it very painful but good. Now I’d also like to try out Yoga some time because quite frankly my flexibility is non-existant and it’d be nice to be able to touch my toes without dying.
Do you have an e-reader?
Ema: Sort of. At least my phone is capable of opening e-books properly. I’m not sure yet if I’ll ever get a ‘real’ one, though.
Lena: Yes, I have a Kindle. And without it my flat would probably be packed with books over books so I’m really grateful there are things like e-readers.
If you were able to travel through time and visit any author from any time period - which one would you choose and why?
Ema: Considering the fact that he is my favourite author, it isn’t a surprise that, if I were able to, I’d love to travel back to the 19th century in order to meet Edgar Allan Poe. His writing style as well as the content of his tales and poems (etc.) have always been praiseworthy and exquisite. It’s always been fairly different and even today many people struggle to get close to his eloquence. The (albeit fictitiously) possibility to make the acquaintance of Poe would both give me the chance to talk about his work on a deeper level as well as open up the prospect of being able to connect to an individual who managed to make his childhood dream of becoming a writer come true.
Lena: Ok, this is hard. Because I’d feel really shy and probably wouldn’t get a word out if I were to meet an author on purpose. Maybe I’d like to meet Agatha Christie though. For a cup of tea and some crime talk. And some lady gossip.
If you could travel to one place you've read about in a book, what place would you visit and what book was it from?
Ema: I’d love visit the ‘Le Secret de Ji’ universe by Pierre Grimbert.
Lena: Hogwarts, definitely. Although, what I’d find even more fascinating would be Diagon Alley and the whole shopping district of the Harry Potter world.
Which fictional character do you identify the most with and why?
Ema: According to a test (the same one as the one Lena took) I should be able to relate to Jo March from “Little Woman” by Louisa May Alcott. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read it so far, which is why I find myself unable to decide if there really are any similarities.
Lena: Ok, I had to take a test for this. And apparently Jane Eyre and I are a thing. And there definitely are similarities. I, too, will try myself at a teaching career. And I can see myself protesting at the injustice done to her as a child. Also, the conversations she had with Mr. Rochester are something I was very amused by and the attraction that arose from them I can see myself developing as well in such a situation. Jane’s ongoing struggle to do the right thing got my admiration – I can only hope that in situations like that I’d be equally as strong.