Norman Ohler is a New York Times bestselling author, novelist, and screenwriter. He is best known for his book Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany which has been translated and published in over 30 languages.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Zweibrücken. My childhood was normal. I cannot remember anything.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

To learn surfing.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

None.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

My child was kidnapped for almost a year. That was rough. I learnt forgiveness from it.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Reading lots of books.

What is your morning routine?

I wake up at 5, drink hot water with lemon, take a cold shower, then I start writing until nightfall.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Making love.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I smoke marijuana sometimes. Then I am sober again. It helps me to alternate between states of consciousness.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. The style is incredible and defines for me the essence of literature.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“L’enfer, ce les autres.” — Jean-Paul Sartre