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Language teacher publishes novel

Thursday 4th February 2016

A CHAINHURST language teacher has joined the growing number of would-be authors to publish a book.

Phyllis Bischoff, who lives in Chainhurst, is the principal of Kent Language Services, which delivers on-site business language training to businesses in the South East.

She has spent time in both Germany and Austria and is fluent in German.

Her interest in the history of Nazi-dominated Germany, and particularly the situation in Austria following the annexation by Germany in 1938, inspired her to write her first novel Lilac Time, the story of Ida, an elderly Austrian woman who has made England her home for the past 55 years.

Following a fall, Ida is less able to look after herself and her family arrange for her to move into a care home where suppressed memories of her life in Vienna during the war start to dominate her thoughts.

As Ida’s daughter Anna begins to unravel the events of the past she takes a trip to Vienna in an attempt to discover what happened to her mother during the darkest days of Nazi occupation.

It took Phyllis about 18 months to research her subject and a further year to write the novel, snatching time when she could in between teaching and running the family home.

She also wrote it in longhand – without the aid of a computer or spellcheck!

Phyllis said: “There was no real pattern to my writing. I was working full time and leading quite a busy life, so I had to grab the opportunity to write when I could.”

The book has received excellent reviews and it is also available to download from Amazon.

Phyllis has now completed a follow-up novel, with the working title The Blue Hour, about the occupation of Paris during WWII.