At the beginning of my adventure there was a simple encounter with Esther, a wonderful Swiss woman. I grew up in Glückstadt and was living in Berlin, freshly divorced and father of three children. She was a homely Bernese Oberlander, who was living with a friend in the city of Berne. After a few thousand miles travelled by plane and many lengthy nocturnal telephone calls on planes I asked my three children if they could contemplate me marrying Esther ? As I had already accustomed (so I thought) all three of them to Swiss products, Rivella, Ragusa, Toblerone and organized a Summer visit to a ski-hall somewhere between Hamburg and Berlin (I thought), the answer was positive. Immediately afterwards it was time to ask her father’s permission to marry her. With his certainty, "She always does what she wants," he also seemed to have given his consent to his daughter marrying a divorced man from Germany with children. So the remaining question was whether Esther wanted to get married. To put it briefly: yes, she did. However, I had to commit myself with the wedding vows to move one day to Switzerland. We got married in the canton of Berne, had two children together and are happy. So for me, the only challenge remaining was is to get my three children from my first marriage to be inspired by Switzerland.
From the start, my three 10 – 14 year olds asked the question - what makes Switzerland exciting and unique (apart from the fact that their two half-siblings, Esther and myself live here)? The answer was (unfortunately) found rapidly: apart from Asterix and the Swiss – very little. The story of Heidi is written for small children and is therefore not very useful. The majestic splendor of the high mountains - is also to be found in Austria or Southern Germany. The advantage over Austria is obvious - Switzerland has a plus in the flag, while the Austrians have to live with a minus. Then there is of course the tasty Swiss chocolate. But even chocolate is produced in Germany and Belgium. Tasty young cheese - is a German synonym for Edam. And Swiss banking does not impress this age group (fortunately).
What to do? I knew how adolescents (and this also applies to the young at heart) are immersed in fantasy and / or adventure stories. Here, my field of work cam in very handy. I have been in marketing and communication for over 18 years and three days (but who’s counting?). So I took a blank sheet of paper and began to work on a communication concept "Swissness for young people". It had to be something more than a gripping poster. More than a nice bedtime story. I had to show them a world that they would want to be a part of. A world that can be experienced in different ways. A world that ... I was looking for the jack of all trades in red with a white cross on it. And it was not that hard. Since Switzerland has Celtic roots, is full of myths and legends about dragons, dwarfs and goblins, this was relatively easy.
The beginning was finished. The first volume »Rustico Vecchio – Andrin’s Legacy is available as a hardback book, as an eBook and an audio book. The second volume "Rustico Vecchio - Malins Elixir" has already been printed. So it's moving forward. In this blog I write regularly about background, perspectives and insights about the book series and about my very own adventure in Switzerland.