Meet Vera Bachernegg and Katharina M. Zimmermann – two creative minds from the Austrian city of Graz who dedicate their time and love to collecting good stories, writing them well and presenting them in a design that serves them best. They love what they do. We love what they do. And now it’s time for you to find out what they do (and love it, no doubt!).
Design&Paper: Let’s start off by introducing yourselves to our readers.
Katharina (Eat Write Live): We are Vera and Katharina – two Austrian ladies who love to travel different places, discover good food and meet new, inspiring people. The two of us have met during a class called „Cultural Studies“ at Graz University, where we soon knew that we shared the same kind of humour. We had occasional antipasti-and- wine sessions and grew to be friends. At the end of our studies we wanted to take a trip to London, Paris and the south of the UK, especially the south-west of it. I (Katharina) always wanted to go to Cornwall and talked Vera into it. So we went and fell in love with that magical place. On our journey back we had the glorious idea to tell all our friends and family, or, all people in the German speaking world about it, so we decided on writing a book on Cornwall. The idea for our first book was born and that’s how it all started.
Katharina (EWL): The core of Eat Write Live are the two of us: Vera and me. Travelling together, taking pictures, collecting stories, eating good food and talking to people. Then wrapping it all together in beautiful design. And that’s the point when other – very talented – people come up. For each of our books we work with a different designer who brings a lot of personality in the book. So Eat Write Live isn’t only about us and our self-publishing of books but we already formed a little gang of designers and helpers who are actually already spread all around the globe and who support us with their expertise, good ideas and fantastic work. Apart from the travel books, we also work as a sort of „agency“ delivering print products to our clients. These could be travel books, magazines, websites or other stuff that we love.
D&P: Where did the idea of writing and producing travel books come from?
Katharina (EWL): I worked for various newspapers and travel magazines in Austria and Germany and also wrote two travel guides for a German publisher. I knew that some day I wanted to be a travel journalist as I love the combination of travelling, taking pictures, telling stories and helping others getting orientated in a different place. For Vera – who also works in finance – it started out as a hobby. But we both love books and travelled a good bit of the world already, so we figured that we can just take a leap and dive into this whole new subject of self-publishing.
D&P: You mentioned you work with many other creatives, and your books are full of beautiful photography, illustrations and typography – who have you worked with?
Katharina (EWL): We always work with a designer who knows his/her trade. For our first book – Eat Surf Live (Cornwall), we started out with Verena and Christina Michelitsch for the editorial design and Georg Liebergesell for illustration. Now, for the newest edition, which was published just a few weeks ago, we engaged Verena Jauk who put a lot of effort in trying to save the original character of the book and who also added a lot of her personality and taste. For Eat Hike Live (Styria) Simon Lemmerer was our man and for our latest book Eat Bike Live (Sylt & the islands of the Northern Sea) Marie Zieger was in charge of outstanding, but yet lovely design. During these collaborations we learn so much and are always very glad to see in how many different ways our ideas, texts and photography can be interpreted. We also love the system that we have a new designer for each book and want to keep it that way.
D&P: The Eat Write Live travel books are in German, any chance of reading them in English one day?
Katharina (EWL): True – we started out to publish them in German. But we are still searching for publishers, who want to do an English version of it. We simply don’t have the time to do the whole distribution in the UK or other places. The German market is already enough for us, as we still want to focus on researching, writing and doing creative and conceptional work ourselves.
Katharina (EWL): We are currently working on client’s projects. One is the second edition of the Museum Magazine for the Universalmuseum Joanneum – a nice magazine on one of the biggest museums in Austria and the other one is about an industrial region in upper Styria with focus on ore and iron production. We want to do a new travel book in 2017. We just don’t know what part of the world it will be about.
D&P: What has been the funniest or craziest situation you have found yourself in on your travels?
Katharina (EWL): We have already experienced many crazy moments – and we try to share most of them in our books, on our facebook page or during talks. In 2016 we hiked through the Sahara desert for five full days without showering for instance. During this, I fell ill, I got bronchitis. And bronchitis in the dry desert air is not the best thing you can get. As I was quite weak and couldn’t sleep at night due to constant coughing I rode on a camel half of the time. That was crazy. But we had moments when people we met for the first time told us their deepest sorrows and what really moved them – that was crazy in a way, too. We always laugh a lot during our travels, mostly because we don’t take ourselves too seriously. One day we wanted to take a bike tour in Cornwall. It was quite complicated to get us rental bikes and as soon as we got them and rode them for 5 minutes it started raining cats and dogs. We laughed and went back to the rental service just to spend the rest of the day in a pub organising stuff. In this very same fishing village called Padstow we also got very afraid of the ghost of an old lady one year. We booked a very old fishing cottage where we actually felt really safe. After some days there the landlord told us the story of an old lady ghost appearing on the end of Vera’s bed at night. All of a sudden we got frightened– now of course we laugh about this.
D&P: What inspires you?
Katharina (EWL): Travelling mostly. But also good books, magazines and people who love what they do and thus are really good in doing it.
D&P: In the digital world we live in, what does the future of travel books look like?
Katharina (EWL): Honestly I don’t know. I think most of the travel organisation will be done via apps or websites. Many people also read blogs to inform themselves about where to go. Our books are an additional, inspirational part to get the anticipation up and to discover some treasures and gems and get to know the place where you are going in a playful and funny way. So I hope that in the future there will also be a place for our Eat Write Live travel books.
D&P: I have to ask, what would your perfect day be like if you could visit any place on earth?
Katharina (EWL): This is a very good, but difficult question to be answered. The day would definitely start with a big breakfast, good talks, friendly tea and lovely people. Sunshine would be nice too. Then some activity – maybe hiking or swimming can follow. As our last trip was to Cornwall, I’m thinking about waking up and having a healthy breakfast at Botelet farm then going on a coast hike, maybe somewhere around stunning Lansallos bay. Two hours of surfing in the afternoon and after that some nice seafood at Sam’s on the Beach?
D&P: Well, that sounds just about perfect. But now, last but least, where will EatWriteLive travel in 2017?
Katharina (EWL): We honestly don’t know where we will go. In winter we’re doing some skiing and winter fun at a place called Turracher Höhe for a magazine, but where our paths will lead us nobody knows yet. We’ve talked about the possibilities, which are: Iceland, Salzkammergut, Bregenzer Wald, Mallorca, Amalfi Peninsula, Ireland, Slovenia andTrieste, Northern Spain, Croatia or Scotland. Maybe this is the right place to say that we are still looking for collaborations and sponsors? Haha!
D&P: Haha, well no better time than now, you’re right! Thank you so much for talking to us and we wish you all the best on your future endeavours. Fingers crossed to get those books in english one day!