You might not be able to guess that — or at least I hope you can’t — but on my mother’s side I’m descended from a long line of hangmen. My ancestors include 14 hangmen, most of them having been “actively employed” between the 16th and 19th centuries in the Pfaffenwinkel region of southern Bavaria, near the Alps.

I myself was born in Munich on December 20, 1970. My father was, of course, no hangman, but a doctor and psychotherapist instead. My mother was an elementary school teacher. From her and my grandfather I inherited the gift of telling exciting and entertaining stories.

Even as a little boy I loved to entertain people — which usually meant my two younger brothers – with my stories. Later on, I wrote my first fantasy short fiction, role-play adventures and comic strips, and recorded my own tapes, which I played to my classmates. Basically, I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. And when I wasn’t talking, I sang — a hobby I continue today in various bands.

In order to learn something “useful,” I enrolled in the Deutsche Journalistenschule in Munich to study journalism and later worked in that field for radio and television. But my dream to become a writer persisted.

Finally, in 2007 the first volume in the Hangman’s Daughter series – based on the life of my ancestor Jakob Kuisl – was published. The series now enables me to earn my living as an author. So far, I’ve written nearly a dozen novels, some of them for children and young adults. Over 2.5 million copies have been sold worldwide, including in Russia and China, and they’ve been translated into over 20 languages. And it all started with my ancestor, the Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl. I like to think he would have been proud of me. But most likely — as a typical Bavarian — he would have nothing for me but a grumpy curse …


Have fun with my stories!


Oliver Pötzsch