Friday, August 03, 2018

Interview with Joerg H. Trauboth, Author of Three Brothers @jorg2dots

Joerg H. Trauboth (Wikipedia) was born just outside of Berlin in 1943 during an air-raid. He discovered his love for writing early in his career as an officer and was awarded top honors by the General Inspector of the German Bundeswehr. Along the way, he flew over two thousand flight hours as a Weapons Systems Officer and instructor in the Phantom RF4E (in which he survived two critical lightening strikes). After a training in George AFB (CA), Major Joerg H. Trauboth flew the  Phantom F4F  and finally – followed by another conversion training in Cottesmore (UK) –  the Tornado aircrafts. Trauboth became a General Staff Officer in the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg-Blankenese and enrolled as LtCol  in the NATO Defense College in Rome. He has served in the German national operational headquarters as well as in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels as the German representative in the areas of Crisis Management, Operations, and Intelligence.

At the age of fifty, he retired early from his post as a Colonel in the German Air Force to become a Special Risk Consultant at the Control Risk Group in London. He was trained and engaged in negotiating extortion and kidnapping situations in South America and Eastern Europe.
The former Colonel, eager to start making money on his own soon founded the Trauboth Risk Management company. He received a startup award and quickly made a reputation for himself internationally as an top-notch crisis manager in Europe. During his time as CEO, he conceptualized crisis prevention strategies for a number of European companies and employed a 24-hour task force to protect them from product tampering, product recalls, kidnappings, and image crises. He was also a co-founder and the first president of the European Crisis Management Academy in Vienna and wrote a standard reference book on the subject of crisis management for companies at risk of threat.
Today Joerg H. Trauboth is an author, filmmaker with more than 75.000 youtube clicks, and an enthusiastic Grumman Tiger pilot. (See this latest night flight-video here. And if you want to know who his favorite Co-Pilot is, have a look here.)  The crisis manager and active pilot has served as the European Director and President of the US – based international American Yankee Pilots Organization.

His advice on crisis management is continually sought after and he is present as expert in radio and television interviews regarding his opinion on  international crisis situations.
Joerg H. Trauboth has been  53 years married with Martina. They have two sons, three grandchildren, and both live near Bonn, Germany. In addition, Trauboth voluntarily contributes his expertise to the Crisis Invention Team of the German Federal Foreign Office in Bonn and reads from his fiction and non fiction books on readers’ tours followed by discussions with his readers about the dramatically changing world.

Joerg’s latest book is the thriller, Three Brothers.



About the Book:

Author: Joerg H. Trauboth
Publisher: Ratio Books
Pages: 581
Genre: Thriller

Marc Anderson and his two commando brothers Thomas and Tim are highly respected elite soldiers in the secretive German Commando Special Forces, the KSK. Together with the American Navy Seals, they successfully rescue the crew of a downed American F-15 tactical fighter jet in the Hindu Kusch Mountains under a barrage of heavy fire from the Taliban. However, their next mission – in Northern Iraq – to save two German hostages taken captive by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ends in disaster for the three brothers in arms. The perfectly laid-out strategy of Operation Eagle is betrayed, causes Marc, Thomas, and Tim to narrowly escape death. The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) starts the hunt for the informant.

The devoted commando brothers decide to leave the KSK and start a new career together as security advisors with a family-owned company based in Cologne. But the terrorist activities of ISIS continue to determine their fate. The brothers are faced with one of their greatest challenges when ISIS kidnaps company heir Johannes Ericson and his partner Karina Marie. Moreover, the terrorists demand a ransom and extort the German government to immediately suspend its military intervention in the fight against ISIS. It is a race against time to save the couple from assassination.

Joerg H. Trauboth has written more than just an exhilarating novel. Three Brothers unites the current omnipresent threat of terrorism with the author’s first-hand experience as a crisis manager and a military and terrorism expert. The result is an unrivaled political thriller. In this gripping novel, Trauboth foretells possible scenarios for our society in light of the rise of radical Islamic terrorism. Read the full chapter 1 here …

Three Brothers is the English translation of the successful German thriller Drei Brüder (ratio-books), highly appreciated by thousands of readers, as well as military organizations and government officials alike. Jörg H. Trauboth’s storytelling skills can be compared to those of Tom Clancy and similar authors as James Patterson. The German version of the novel will also soon be available as an audio book.

Drei Brüder has been translated into English by (US native) Leanne Cvetan.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Stereotypically, I am not, at least I thought, a fiction writer. How could I be as an ex-soldier, business consultant, and checklist-minded pilot? After my retirement as a Colonel of the German Air Force at the age of fifty, I started a career as a security-related Crisis Management Consultant. My clients wanted to know more, especially concerning the “right” response to kidnapping and extortion. A well-known German publisher invited me to write a non-fiction book about Crisis Management. That was quite easy for me as new author since prevention and response was my daily business.
In 2001, the book became a standard reference source for all companies and persons who find that it wise to be prepared; to think the unthinkable. In 2017, I developed that book further together with 5 other authors and it’s now used as standard lecture material in businesses and universities. It is not projected for translation. In that time, I was consulting a family whose daughter and partner were kidnapped from a sailing boat in the Philippines by the terrorist organization Aba Sayyaf. The couple was held captive for six months and survived unbelievable physical and psychological pains. Her family did as well since they received nearly no information about the negotiation process by the German government. Normally, a professional kidnapping consultant aids and assists the family regarding the police, the media, and negotiations for 4-6 weeks before being relieved by another consultant to allow them to recover also from their own emotions. The family insisted that I stay and I agreed. I couldn’t leave the lovely 81 years old mother alone in her grief. And also, because my ethical standards as a social crisis counselor for the church in my hometown of Bonn, Germany made it imperative that I stay with the family.  

I felt okay emotionally, but I did something new this time which helped me to create more distance to the case. As a kind of self-assessment, I started writing a political kidnapping thriller but incorporated only few details of the real case. I created my own heroes and, 570 pages later, my readers deemed the story an “incredible page-turner.” Between the lines, the reader learns about managing a kidnapping case which is often a dirty, and always a dangerous business of “life for money,” about the brutal terrorist organization ISIS, and the difficult governmental crisis management surrounding the official policy of not paying extortion ransoms. Seventy percent of the drama in Three Brothers directly stems from my life experience, the rest is fiction. After that, I felt much, much better. And last, but not least: the couple was released and I will never forget the way the mother embraced her daughter upon her arrival at the Frankfurt airport after suddenly appearing through a secret door. I sat down and continued to write, sometimes day and night.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It can be dangerous to tell too much of your life in a novel. You should only do this if you are sure that a follow up book is possible. 

I am not the kind of author who just sits down and starts without any preparation. I have to know in advance for whom I am writing. Who should read this book? Young or old, men, women, only thriller enthusiasts, Americans, English, Germans, French, etc.? This last point is very important due to the cultural differences. The typical patriotic thinking of the U.S. can be counterproductive in other countries and even turn the reader off.
So, I create a plot, develop my protagonists, and I let them change. Otherwise, it could get boring. I take them with me to bed, I speak with them. Sometimes they really annoy me. I have a picture of each character and try to project that picture into words. I decide who the good and bad guys will be. And I try to keep the tension from the first to the last page. I like to work with cliffhangers and surprises and stay logical, otherwise I will end up losing the reader.

I am a detail freak, but force myself not to divulge everything, I like to leave room the readers’ imagination. Also, I work with emotions but try to minimize clichés. The book should have the potential for a second reading even after you know the end. I decide relatively early whether the book ends positively or negatively. Three Brothers ends positively and the reader closes the book, hopefully, with a peaceful feeling. That’s my plan or it is what I wish happens. Would anyone recommend a book that ends in disaster?
I adjust my wording to the scenery.  In the romantic parts, the words are soft and match the backdrop or the general feeling. In a shooting or crisis situation, the sentences are short like the shots of a bullet. Sometimes I speak out loud and record a page and listen to my written words. At the latest, once your book has become an audio book do you become aware of what you have written down. 

And finally, a very important point: I don’t think too much about moneymaking during writing. I contend with my book for as long as I feel it is necessary. Unfortunately, a book never stops in your head, but when you feel the baby is ready to be born, you have to let it go. 

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

After about 15 unsuccessful attempts and losing precious time, I often empathized with former welfare recipient Joanne Rowling who had more than 30 unsuccessful attempts with her Harry Potter idea. Publishers said the book was too long and not a seller. And now look at this lady! Just as she did, I found a small publisher in my local area, Franz Koenig at He was fascinated from the beginning. We started with the German edition Drei Brüder in 2015 and this year we are going international, followed by an audio book. In the meantime, we have become good friends.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Writing is one thing but to get it to turn out right, it’s another. You need a cover that will enhance the content of book. The cover is the first impression and will make or break a reader’s interest. You also need a professional editor. I was surprised at how difficult and time-consuming it is to find help with these things. It can also be difficult to hear critique of the book, but remember, you can’t please everyone.

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

After this success, I have a follow-up political thriller in the works. This time we jump into the White House and bring the president in an awful situation. I am not allowed reveal the title yet, but it will be another mixture of politics, crime, and love. And my protagonists from Three Brothers will be on board, of course. I hope to have it published mid-2019.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Seeing the cover, you might think that’s just a military thriller. Only partly. In fact, it’s a story about three extraordinary young men on the way to themselves.

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?
The motto of the book is I Will which is meant to be understood in the spirit of never giving up. In fact, that is the way I try to live my life and I would not be successful in doing this without the support of my lovely wife Martina with whom I have been married now for 53 years.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Yes. As a pilot, I recommend new writers attempting their first project to: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Then a good landing is assured. Blue skies!

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