So as a huge Harry Potter fan myself I just had to participate in the Confessions of a Harry Potter fan blog tour. So here is my interview with the author of the book Confessions of a Harry Potter fan: Give a warm welcome to Thomas Sailer!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am almost 26 and live in Burgenland, a state in Austria. I have done the usual stuff, school, working, and then attending university and finishing with a Bachelor degree in 2011. Besides that, I have been a very busy member of the virtual Harry Potter fandom, working my way up from among the many millions of HP fan all around the world to a recognized name within the HP scene. Further, I have published 3 books: “Der Freizeitpionier”, “Die Wuestenpflanze” and of course “Chronik eines Harry Potter Fans”, which was translated and published in English as “Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan”.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The wish to become a writer came to me several times. First in 2003 when I attempted to write a fact book with the title “What is Art?”. Around that time I also began writing a story that was supposed to become a book, but stopped after a few pages. Then, in 2007, I wanted to write again and started writing a manuscript. It did not take long until I gave up, but I kept the word file saved.
It wasn’t until the autumn of 2009 that I started to write continuously. Indeed, it began with the idea to write down all my experiences from the online Harry Potter fandom. Due to university work, I had to interrupt writing soon. But then, I found the manuscript from 2007, suddenly had a great idea for how to continue the story and decided to finish the novel. That’s why “Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan” became my third book instead of my first one.
So basically, 2009 was the year when I started writing.
3. What came first? The story or the idea for the book?
Considering that my book is an autobiography, the story came long before I had the idea to write a book about it; it took pretty much 5 years from the initial happenings to the finished book.
4. What would be your favorite past time activity, when you are not writing?
When I am not working, I enjoy things like meeting my friends or going on short trips. I also love to listen to music or go for walks in the nature. I love the forests, meadows and fields! Oh naturally, and did I say yet that I love old cars? 😉
5. Are there any writers out there that have inspired you?
Joanne K. Rowling, of course! She has inspired me in many ways. I got so incredibly much work from the Harry Potter story, which would not exist without her. I also like her writing style a lot. And last but not least, her incredible success story is an awesome inspiration for an ongoing writer.
6. Can you tell a little more about your book: Chronicles of a Harry Potter fan?
“Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan” tells the story of my years of lasting activity in the Harry Potter fandom.
It is not fictional; it is a collection of memories. It is about my incentives, my activities and my success story in the international Harry Potter fandom. The action starts when I began to become a fan of Harry Potter back in 2004 and then quickly proceeds to my beginnings in the online fan community and all the things I did to work my way up.
It tells the story of many unique projects with other HP fans, of hopes and dreams and of all the many steps it took me to become a recognized name in the HP fandom.
7. What inspired you to write this book?
Basically, the book was a product of frustration. Back in 2009, I was unhappy with a lot of things. For me, this time was like falling deeper and deeper into a hole.
One evening, I had the thought to write down my memories of the work in the HP fandom, to make sure the fandom won’t be forgotten. And that didn’t just give me incentive to start writing; it was the beginning of a new, much more positive chapter in my life also.
8. What experience did you enjoy writing about the most and why?
Actually, there were plenty of experiences which I enjoyed, both to have them and then to write about them.
But I decided to dedicate an entire chapter to one experience: the birthday project for Emma Watson back in 2008. I was the head of the DA at that time, an registry of over 50 Harry Potter based fan communities, and we decided to create a wooden keepsake box for her 18th birthday.
This was probably not the most work intensive fan project which I have ever led, but it was the first time that my organisation managed to contact Emma’s father personally. When I heard that we had actually got a reply of him , I was beyond happy. It was a very special moment in my time in the fan community.
9. If you could have dinner with one of the persons you met who would you choose and why?
Phew, that one is tricky. You know, I have met so many awesome people during my activity, many of whom I think it would be great to have dinner with once, that it would be really unfair for all the others if I chose one of them now.
10. Do you get a lot of responses from your readers?
Actually, sometimes I do. Although, having published my first book in December 2011, so around 1 ½ years ago now, a real fanbase hasn’t yet built up around my work. At least not when it comes to my first two novels, which are published in German only.
However, things look a bit different when it comes to “Chronicles of a Harry Potter Fan”. Thanks to the fact that, till this day, I do have a very good reputation in the international Harry Potter fandom, there have been plenty reports about the release of the book; even when it was initially released in German.
11. What are you currently working on?
Currently, I focus on information methods about my books mainly. I do have several ideas for further books noted down, but haven’t yet started working on any. Having published 3 books till now, I think it is more important at the moment to inform potential readers about them than to publish a fourth book without pauze.
12. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Yes, of course! First: people, always chase your dreams and never give up. Deciding to take a step for others rather than yourself not seldomly means a step into the wrong direction.
And second: if you decide to read my books, I really hope you will enjoy them and get a lot of inspiration from them! J
Two years later, he founded the ‘Knight Bus’, a widescale directory for Harry Potter websites. And finally, he even tried to mobilise fans from all countries by means of an organisation.
During his years as an active member of the fan community, he has accomplished quite a lot and made contacts to fans and website owners from all over the world. However, what he has basically intended with his activity, did not happen to become real.
In this book, he talks about his work in the international fandom, his motives and how the Harry Potter story has influenced his life.
When first released in November 2012, the original German version of the book caused a stir within the fan community: Although it has never been on a bestseller-list, there appeared to be several reports about Thomas Sailer’s story on many fan based websites from all around the world.