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René Schurtenberger: When imagination blossoms

While others are gardening, partying or playing football, René Schurtenberger is sitting at his desk. The Helvetia buyer has already published four novels, short stories and even a children's book. But one dream has remained unfulfilled to date.

3 August 2017, author: Isabella Awad, photo: Bider und Tanner, Kulturhaus in Basel

René Schurtenberger is standing in a bookshop, in front a red English telephone box.
Author René Schurtenberger wants to entertain his readers with facts, fiction and humour.

His novels are entitled “Der Ketzer von Basel” (The Heretic of Basel), “Der Gardist von Basel” (The Guardsman of Basel) and “Der Druide von Basel” {The Druid of Basel) – “Die Mumie von Basel” (The Mummy of Basel” is coming soon. Fascinated by the city on the Rhine? “Yes, very much so,” says René Schurtenberger. “Basel is very old and you find history wherever you look. Basel has existed since 58 BC and is of Celtic origin. »

Ideas bubble

History always offers a backdrop for thrilling novels. Even as a young lad he had a blossoming imagination. Later he told his daughter goodnight stories which he invented on the spot, admits René Schurtenberger. But that's still not enough to write novels that will also impress a publisher. “I have plenty of ideas for stories, they come when I'm half awake or while I'm walking,” he says, laughing. In spite of that it took five years for the first book to be finished; René Schurtenberger simply typed on, day by day. He wrote the second novel in a year. “I structured my work: first as a mind map, then I wrote a script.”

Between facts and fiction

His books are not high-flying literature, says René Schurtenberger. Rather he wants to entertain the reader, with humour, fiction and facts. To reproduce the facts accurately, he researches meticulously in the university library or reads specialist literature. “I like learning new things and I love inventing figures and stories.”

Close to life

His second-last novel, “Das Interview“ (The Interview), bears autobiographical traces. It is about an author who loses his family in the plane crash outside Halifax and withdraws completely from the public eye. “Working on the book was emotionally hard. But the essence of the book is that life goes on - even the heart can recover,” says René Schurtenberger.

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