An interview with R.J. Ellory about his first book :
Candlemoth (just released in France)
What is your feeling about the idea that the French public, who likes you so much, will finally discover you at your beginnings?
Well, as you can imagine, Candlemoth (Papillon de Nuit) was a very important novel for me as it was my first published book. I had previously written twenty-two novels and never found a publisher, so it took a huge amount of persistence to continue and not give up.
Finally, when this book was released, it was a major change in my direction in life, and it really strengthened the purpose I had to continue writing for the rest of my life. That purpose has not changed, and even though you are now reading something that I wrote thirteen years ago, it still feels like a very real and very familiar story.
I am excited to see what my wonderful French readers make of it, because they are most loyal and the most supportive of all my readers. They have a different viewpoint and a different appreciation for literature, and I find myself understanding things about my own books that I never perceived before simply because of the reviews that are made and the questions I am asked in France. I am intrigued to know their attitude towards this book, as always !
You wrote many stories before finally this one is published. Why this book over another, in your opinion?
That is a very simple question with a very simple answer. What was the basic difference between this book and all the others?
With this book I wrote about the things I was interested in, not the things that I believed others might be interested in. I tried to write the kind of book that I would like to read, basically.
You are fascinated by the Sixties, in which this novel takes place partly, a period of major changes…
A turbulent, dramatic, hugely important decade, yes. I think this decade, more than any earlier decade, was the point where America – for both positive and negative reasons – really started to make its presence felt on the world stage, politically, culturally, socially, artistically.
Everything from the assassination of Kennedy to Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock, from the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights Movement.
What can we say about this period of time? I think so many things changed all over the world; it was as if this was the hopeful Age of Enlightenment, but ultimately proved itself just as self-destructive as any other time in history.
This story tells about friendship, love and death. In this novel, there are also several themes that you will develop later: segregation, death penalty, Vietnam…
I think if you look across the range of my novels you will find these iconic and significant institutions, eras, organisations and events. The Mafia, the CIA, serial killers, the KKK, Vietnam, the death penalty, corruption in the legal and justice system etc.
These are all major players in my work, and I am now beginning a new book that deals with the history of Hollywood for publication in the UK in 2016. These are the areas of history and culture that fascinate me, and I think Papillon de Nuit foreshadows all those characters that have come to play a major part in my later work.
How is the writer R.J. Ellory in 2015 compared to 2003?
He is more succinct and direct. He is less verbose. He has learned how to say more with less words. He has a clearer and more certain concept of the emotional effect he wishes to create before he starts writing a book.
He is more organized and efficient in how he works. He is a better human being, a little more mellow and understanding of other people. He has lost his manic, nervous edges and deals with life in a far more relaxed and confident manner.
I certainly like him more than that guy from 2003!
Catégories :Interviews littéraires