Yep. I’m moving to Germany, sometime this summer, for one year. The most likely schedule is that I’ll leave in late July, after finishing the US tour for THE HOLLOW CITY, stay for a year, and then return to the US sometime in August of 2013. My wife and kids, of course, are coming with me, and we’re all incredibly excited.
Why are we doing this? Why not? My wife and I are both very adventurous, and we’ve wanted to move somewhere for a while, but we didn’t know where. We’re not tied to a physical location, because I’m fully self-employed, so we started looking all over the world; we considered England for a while, but slowly shifted to Germany for a lot of reasons. First, of course, we love the country: we’ve been there a few times and adore it. Second, as many of you know, that’s my biggest market. My books sell better in Germany than any other country, probably any other two countries, and living there will allow me to do a lot of the stuff my US fans take for granted, like readings and signings and con appearances. I’ve also long been tempted to write a book set in Germany, or a made-up place very similar to it, and living there would be the perfect research opportunity. The third reason we chose Germany is simply that we love to travel, and we want to give our children a cool cultural experience outside of the US. Travel is the single best way, in my opinion, to widen your view and gain a new perspective on life and the world and the people in it, and we want our kids to have that. Living in a new culture, eating different food, speaking a new language, and making new friends are going to be things they look back on and love for the rest of their lives.
The process of moving to Germany is tricky, and we’ve been working on it for a while. We hired a relocation agency to help with the arrangements for a residency permit, and so far that’s gone much better than we expected. All the preliminary stuff has gone through now, and all that remains is an in-person interview where I’ll have to fly over and prove that I’ll be earning plenty of money through my writing; since I won’t be getting a job there, they want the very reasonable assurance that I won’t be a drain on their economy. This shouldn’t be an issue: we’re not rich, but we earn enough to support ourselves handily. After the interview they’ll stamp the permit and we’ll be in.
My interview will likely happen in late April, which means I have about a month to figure out which part of Germany we want to live in. We honestly don’t know. My publisher’s in Munich, so we’ve looked at that, and I really like how central Frankfurt is–it would be easy to spread out from there to take small trips all over Europe, which is definitely a part of our plan. We’ve also looked at Hamburg, since my wife has a lot of ancestors from there, and it would be a good place to explore her family history. I’ve even looked at Essen, just because I’m a boardgame geek. Honestly, I don’t know: I am open to suggestions. If you live in Germany, or have lived there in the past, PLEASE take some time in the comments to sell me on your particular part of it.
In fact, let’s open this up to even more comments. Tell me where in Germany you think I should live, and why. Tell me about the book fairs, bookstores, and SF/Fantasy conventions you think I should go to. Tell me about your local reading group, or gaming group, or whatever. Help me decide exactly which part of Germany will be best for me and my family.
And for everybody not in Germany: don’t worry. I’ll be back in November for a conference, and again in March for the PARTIALS 2 book tour, and probably at least one other trip. I want to connect better with my readers in Europe, but I definitely don’t want to forget about everyone else.