Monday, August 9, 2010
Interview with Rosy Thornton and book giveaway
Rosy Thornton lives in a village near Cambridgeshire(UK) with her partner, two young daughters and two spaniels. When she's not teaching Law at Cambridge University as a Fellow of Emmanuel College, she writes novels, which according to her "you might call romantic comedy with a hint of satire - or possibly social satire with a hint of romance." She is the author of "Hearts and Minds," "More than Love Letters," and "Crossed Wires."
Melissa Patafio and I received the opportunity to ask Rosy some questions about her book and other things that would allow us to get to know her better. She also gave me a signed copy of her latest novel, "The Tapestry of Love" to send to one lucky reader in the US or Canada.
MP: Your most recent book “The Tapestry of Love” is set in Cévennes, France. Have you or do you plan to return there for a holiday?
RT: My only acquaintance with the Cévennes is from a two-week family holiday there twenty years ago, but the place crept under my skin and nagged at me to be the setting for a novel. When I fantasise about escape and a new life away from the pressures of my crowded existence, that’s always where my mind wanders. I’d love to go back some day.
MP: What challenges did you experience while writing “The Tapestry of Love”?
RT: The worst part was being tied in knots, at the start, over language. My main character, Catherine, is fluent in French, and speaks French to most of the locals. I was therefore hearing the dialogue in French in my head, and then ‘translating’ it into English for the page – a strange experience until I got used to it. The main difficulty was when words or phrases were used which have no real translation in English. I tended to render them in French, with an explanation, but my editor found this rather cumbersome, and in the end a lot of the French words had to be dropped.
MA: What inspired you to write “The Tapestry of Love?”
RT: Partly my recollection of the landscape – and partly the experiences of my own family, who have all gone to live in France. My brother married a Frenchwoman and lives in the Rhône-Alpes; he runs a small business and his run-ins with French bureaucracy were useful fodder for the book. My parents retired to the western Loire seventeen years ago, to an old stone farmhouse in much need of renovation, so I have also stolen some of their experiences, especially in the plumbing and electrical departments! But I think on another level, many of us harbour some fantasy of escape to a new and simpler life, closer to nature, closer to the landscape, and this was me indulging mine in fictional form.
MA: Do you have any pre- or post- publishing rituals or traditions?
RT: Not that I can think of. I usually have an overwhelming urge to hide under my desk for a few weeks when a new book comes out and people are actually going to read it. It’s a scary moment!
MA: Do you feel you are similar to or different from Catherine, the main character of “Tapestry?”
RT: We are utterly different! Although I dream of a life in the mountains, I would never make a go of it, or not on my own as Catherine does. I am far too fond of having my family and friends around me. Her bravery in striking out on her own as she does earns my wondering admiration.
MP: Do you plan to keep doubling as a writer and law lecturer or are you going to “retire” one or the other in the foreseeable future?
RT: I would never give up my day job. I love teaching, I love the daily contact with students and colleagues, and arguing about ideas. Writing fiction full-time would be a sad and lonely life, for which I am not cut out – see my answer to the previous question! And writing… well, I don’t think I could ever give that up.
MP: Have you ever visited the United States? If so, where did you go? If not where would you like to go?
RT: Sadly, not. But my partner took our elder daughter (then aged twelve) to New York for a week a couple of years ago, and I have been insanely jealous ever since. I would also love to explore some of the glorious mountain wilderness areas with which your country is blessed.
MP:Are you fluent in French or any other languages?
RT: I speak French, but that’s about it – unless you count schoolroom German or being able to book a restaurant table in Italian.
MA: What is your favorite childhood memory?
RT: What an impossible question! How to pick just one thing? Maybe, in the spirit of ‘The Tapestry of Love’, it would be paddling in mountain streams on family holidays.
MA: What is your favorite quote or saying?
RT: Again, so many! But if ever I am feeling downtrodden, with my confidence at a low ebb, I like to think of that line from ‘Rebecca’, where the nameless heroine draw herself up and says to Mrs Danvers, ‘I am Mrs de Winter now.’
Special thanks to Rosy for her lovely answers and the book for the giveaway. Thanks, as always, to Melissa P. for her thoughtful questions.
**Giveaway is closed**
How to win "The Tapestry of Love":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)
For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite quote/saying?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
Open to US/Canada residents only. Giveaway ends Thursday, August 12th, at midnight EST.