Q&A with Robert Thier, author

By   Hannah Bickerton 3 min read

Robert Thier is a German historian, lover of old books and award-winning writer, whose novels and stories encompass the historical, satirical and fantastical. His inventive fans have given him the nickname ‘Sir Rob’, for the way he manages to make the past come alive as if he himself lived as a medieval knight. For Robert, becoming a writer followed naturally from his interest in history. ‘In Germany,’ he says, ‘we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.’ He does not wear the helmet featured in his photo because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor Mountains. We asked him about his life as an author and his decision to use the publishing platform Wattpad

1. Tell us how and when you started writing?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I wrote essays in school, of course, but never had much success with my teachers. My parents, however, encouraged my reading and it was a big part of my life, due to health difficulties that prevented me from having many other hobbies. Over time, writing simply grew as a natural extension out of my love for reading books. It still took quite a while to switch from writing in my mother tongue, German, to writing in English, however. I only started writing English stories around the time I finished school.

2. What made you decide to self-publish?

I liked the idea of the independence within the self-publishing model. As long as you have enough support, you can put your stories out there, and I was fortunate enough to have lots of fabulous fans who were willing to support my first book publication through a crowdfunding campaign. Also, I dabble as an artist and love designing my own book covers, which means self-publishing offers me the opportunity to indulge two of my favourite hobbies at once. That being said, I would still be open to offers from interested publishers!

3. How did you first hear about Wattpad?

I was browsing the internet for publication methods when Wattpad caught my eye. I found it really intriguing because of its large and diverse community. Having the opportunity to get feedback from so many people from different countries and walks of life is really fascinating.

4. You upload content weekly. How does this affect the way that you write and pace your novels?

The frequency of uploading does put a certain amount of pressure on you as a writer to regularly produce new material. It also means that most of my work must be planned ahead considerably, with quite a lot of drafting and re-writing.

5. Where did you get the inspiration for Storm and Silence and The Robber Knight?

The Storm and Silence series received its inspiration from my university studies. After growing up in Germany, I was confronted with totally new and captivating subjects when I started studying history at an English university. The ones that intrigued me most were British suffragism and imperialism, especially since they presented many historical personalities that could offer inspiration. Reworking this history into a story was a task I found both challenging and tempting.

As for The Robber Knight series, it was inspired by local history from my home country of Germany. Around my home town, we have a lot of fascinating ruins and remnants from the Medieval Era, and they aroused my interest in things like medieval feuds and robber knights, which I thought would be an interesting new subject for an English-speaking audience. 

6. Anything you’d like to share that you wish you had known when you first started?

I wish I had known how amazing it would be. If I had, I might have started even earlier. I’ve received support from all around the world and have met many interesting people. In case you have the urge to start writing, I can only you encourage you to follow your dream.

Check out Robert’s website or find him on twitter.

Alternatively, learn more about Wattpad here.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.