Jan-Philipp Sendker

Jan-Philipp Sendker lives in Berlin with his family. He was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, was an international bestseller, and he’s the author of A Well- Tempered Heart, Whispering Shadows and its sequel Dragon Games. He is currently at work on the third novel set in Hong Kong.   Getting to know: Jan-Philipp Sendker 1.       Do you have a favourite character in the book? I do feel close, in one way or the other, to all the characters. Of course, Paul, the main character of the whole China trilogy has become a close friend over the years…   2.       What is your favourite scene or moment in the book? There are too many since I believe this is a very emotional book. I could name a few but that would mean spoiling the story which I do not want of course…   3.       What inspired you to become a writer? I do not know if there ever was an inspiration to become a writer. I have wanted to write novels all my life. I can’t tell you why.   4.       What keeps you motivated as a writer? I just love to tell stories, make things up, day dream, I do what I love to do, there is no special motivation that keeps me going.   5.       What’s your favourite book, and why? Too many to name. It also depends on the phase in my life. There are books that left a deep impression in my teens, in my twenties etc.   6.       Do you have a routine when you’re writing (i.e. silence, a particular genre of music, only working in the morning, only working in your underpants?) Yes, I do. I need to listen to classical music when I write. I believe the music helps me to leave this world for a few hours so than I can create and enter a different, new world. I usually write from 9 or 10 in the morning until the afternoon. Never in the evening or at night. Never under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Music is my drug.   7.       What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer? Start writing. Find your voice. Never give up.   8.       How easy was it for you to find a publisher? Not so difficult because my first book was a non fiction book on China. At that time I was the Asia correspondent of Stern Magazine, a leading weekly magazine in Germany.   9.   What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book? To be totally immersed in the story, forgetting time and space, being in a different world. Like reading a wonderful novel.   10.   Who are you generally writing for? Myself.   11.    What one thing would improve your life? My life is very good as it is. To wish for more would be greedy and ungrateful, two human qualtities I do dislike.   12.   Where would you like to be right now, anywhere in the world? Exactly where I am: At home, at my desk with my wife and my kids in the house. (But I just came home from a wonderful trip to Burma and Hong Kong…)   13.   Are any or your characters based on yourself or people you know? Yes and no. Not really based on me or people I know but all my experience, my emotions my dreams and nightmares are part of  my  characters. I created them, right?   14.   If you could swap lives with one of your characters, who would you choose and why? I do not want to swap my life with anybody (except George Clooney may be, because he has such a nice villa on Lake Como).   15.   Have you ever regretted how you ended a story and wish you could change it? No.   16.   If you weren’t a writer, what would your ‘dream’ occupation be? A classical piano player.   17.   If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character? Richard Gere could play Paul.   18.   Why are books important in your opinion? That is a question for my readers. I am not really sure if they are important at all.   19.   What are you reading right now? Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie   20.   Which authors do you particularly admire? All the authors who keep writing without much public recognition. All the writers that risk their lives by writing.   21.    If you had a superpower what would it be? Stop people from hating and killing each other.