Feedback from readers

Here are a few snippets of feedback from readers that have written to me or my editor. I haven't been able to ask permission from these people to use their feedback on my site so I have not used their full names. I hope they don't mind. Thanks for writing to me.


Read more: Feedback from readers


 “Tender and Insightful”

The Observer


"This riveting novel is an unforgettable tale of two men sustained by love in times of conflict."

The Lady


"Really is as special as its press suggests...beautifully amazingly assured debut."

Sunday Express




A key part of my thinking came from my understanding of oral storytelling which I have been practicing for 20 years. In some story traditions there is the knowledge that the only way to release the heart and get under the surface of human emotion is to confuse the rational mind. For example a zen koan such as the classic ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ is used by the meditator as a tool to reach deeper understanding or enlightenment. The side of the brain that reasons, categorizes, and orders things cannot deal with this koan because there is no rational answer. As the rational brain collapses a more intuitive, dream like state opens in which a deeper understanding of the workings of the universe is possible. Similarly for the Sufis whirling until you are dizzy, or for shamans exploring dreams and drug-induced trance states, or for African tribes chanting until you have lost your sense of self, are all examples of how ‘holy’ states of mind can be achieved through short circuiting the rational brain.


Publishing News 2007

 “ Much of this novel appears to consist of two unconnected narratives: a modern-day tourist in Latin America loses his girlfriend in a fatal bus accident and in his despair reruns their love affair blaming himself for her death; a First World War soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army barely survives the extremes of battle and freezing winter weather, then walks across Siberia as an escaped POW surviving on the memory of his childhood sweetheart. Scheinmann ultimately connects these two stories in a tour de force that, like many of the best novels, is based on real events and is extremely moving upmarket commercial fiction. Apparently he wrote 10 drafts in six years, between his acting and storytelling tours. The result is mesmerising.”

Publishing News 2007


What is true in Random Acts

People often ask me how much of Random Acts of Heroic Love is true and the answer often surprises people because whilst it is documented in the book that the story of Moritz is based on a true story about my grandfather, we have absolutely no documentary evidence of which camp he was in, which battle he was captured in or which route he took to get home. He left no letters and died when my father was 5 years old. I did extensive research in to the period and then selected a POW camp and a battle which I thought would make good drama. So the battles of Gnila Lipa are true, the POW camp Stretensk is real. There was an outbreak of typhoid there and there was a fire but I have no idea if my grandfather was actually there or somewhere else. The route he took home was also invented and his travelling partner Kiraly equally so. In fact the only truth we know for sure is that he was taken to somewhere in Siberia and it took him three years to get home. The rest is fiction.

Read more: What is true in Random Acts