Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, Smoking Colts or Bonanza were street sweepers of the time. Nor did Manuela Schneider of Bad Säckingen miss an episode of the series during her childhood. “They were my heroes who accompanied me throughout my childhood,” she says today. Today she writes western novels, screenplays and lyrics for western songs with great success.
The author wins many awards
In America, she is now a star in the industry and has received many awards. Just three weeks ago, it won the Best Western and Best Cinematography categories at the Barcelona International Film Festival, as well as the second prize for Best Original Score in a Short Film.
The Writers Association recognizes their stories
As of this week, she’s apparently made it into the semi-finals of the New York Short Film Festival in New York. She has been a member of the Association of American Western Writers, an association of Western authors, screenwriters, songwriters, and historians, since 2019 and is the only German member. Manuela Schneider’s novels are published in both German and English.
The secret of their success? “The West has changed,” she says. Just firing no longer works. “For me, heroes are allowed to be weak.” And with it, it is not only cowboys who are the heroes of the story. “The history of America today is told more truthfully, and there are also Native Americans and people of color who were heroes and shaped the history of America.”
There is no stylized reality as there is with Karl May
Manuela Schneider writes sound historical novels, seasoned with a great deal of fiction. To do this, she is not only researching the ancient myths of the Indian tribes. “I want to tell the story as it is,” she says. Because Indians are Native Americans. “Everyone immigrated to America over the decades and tried their luck prospecting for gold.
“For many, America was the land of unlimited opportunity at the time,” Schneider continues. But this period also produced many people who played a major role in building and shaping the state. Among other things, she has authored a series of books about the first professional casino operator during the golden rush era.
Stories aim to promote tolerance
She currently describes the history of European immigrants. “I want to give a voice to these people, about the hardships they have been through,” the author says. And she wants to do something with it. “If you understand other people’s story, tolerance increases,” she says. And: “The more you delve into American history, the more you come across German success stories.” In order to learn about American history, you often visit the country’s museums or visit former battlefields. “I feel the story in these places completely differently,” the author explains.
Well-established fundamentals are A and O
Born in Laufenburg, it is very important for her stories to have a sound basis. “When I was 10, I found out that Karl May had only made up his stories and had never been to America himself,” says Manuela Schneider. I was very disappointed about it. That is why she then bought a sound historical book on the Indian chief Sitting Bull. “Because I wanted to know the truth.”
Manuela Schneider wrote and published her first novel in 2017. In her first book, she describes her deep friendship with Jim Parker. “This person was my most valuable friend,” she says. To honor him and this special friendship, she has packed everything into the story, which is set on a farm in Arizona.
“Writing for me is an escape from everyday life,” she says. When she “dives” she is completely and at ease with herself. In the meantime, she has released several Western novels as well as songs and other short films, for which she has won many awards in America.