From the deepest, darkest Black Forest to the opulent spa town of Baden-Baden, from the remote Swabian Mountains to the ruins at the university city of Heidelberg - these historical fiction stories set in Southwest Germany span over the last five centuries and touch on a diversity of lives including a runaway peasant boy, a delusional young lady, a depressed aristocrat, and a determined Nazi hunter.
The short story collection includes "Island of Flowers" (Finalist for the Tasmanian Writers' Prize 2015) and "Flower Behind her Ear" (Honourable Mention for the Aestas Short Story Competition 2015).
Diether swept the floor of the empty stage, bustling about with his broom in near darkness, the faint candlelight flickering from the side curtain as a draft played havoc offstage. It didn’t bother him - he was used to living in the shadows.
“Why are you sweeping?” a child’s voice called out.
He stopped and looked out to see a small boy sitting in the empty auditorium. The theatre doors should have been shut by now, he thought. “Why am I sweeping? Well, someone has to do the job.”
The boy nodded and smiled, his face lit up by the candles mounted along the walls towards the back of the auditorium.
“Listen, boy, tonight’s performance has finished. Why are you still here? Where are your parents?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll leave soon and catch up with them.”
Diether had no time for children. He went back to his sweeping.
“Are you with the theatre troupe?” the boy called out again.
“No.” Diether brushed harder, facing the floor of the stage.
“What do you do?”
He stopped again and rested his hands on the top of his broom. Studying the smiling boy, Diether knew the lad couldn’t see him clearly on the darkly lit stage. “What do I do?”
Maybe he’s not so bad, Diether thought. Not like the others. He scanned around to make sure there was no one else in the auditorium. “Very well.” He placed the broom down on the stage, made a theatrical pose, his hands out in front of him, and took in a deep breath. “I am a minnesinger. I am –"