Culture, Interview

BEHIND THE BOOK

Author of our February book, Delphine de Vigan shares the writing secrets behind her page-turning bestseller,  Based On A True Story.

Delphine de Vigan’s Based On A True Story won numerous prizes in France – not to mention selling more than half a million copies. The literary sensation has since been made into a film – directed by Roman Polanski, no less. And of course, it was our February book – and one that so many of you whizzed through in a single sitting. We couldn’t be more pleased to have spoken to the French author herself…

Toxic friendships – something you’ve experienced?

I think we’ve all experienced this type of relationship to some extent. And sometimes a feeling that things could get out of hand – that someone could try to overpower you.

Femininity plays a key role in the novel…

Our narrator, Delphine, is fascinated by L. who she feels possesses a kind of sophisticated femininity that she does not. When it comes to femininity, Delphine feels like a she’s never quite there, whereas L is the perfect woman – the one she would love to be.

Truth, fiction and reality – blurred lines?

Most of my books are works of fiction. Based On A True Story is a novle with a twist – a sort of game with the reader, inviting you to consider the question of what is real – and why we’re so fascinated with reality. Writing – like memory – transforms reality. And anyway, we talk about pure fiction – but how is fiction pure? It’s something that changes for each reader individually, according to their personality and feelings – it changes based on who WE are. A writer’s role is to make us believe the stories they tell – whether or not they’re inspired by reality.

Is writing is something you feel you need to do?

Yes – I’m too sensitive. For me, writing really means becoming part of the world – something which, for a long time, represented an obstacle for me. Today, it’s what enables and inspires me to write.

Which writers inspire you?

I really like Richard Powers, Laura Kasischke and  Jonhattan Coe – amongst others!

How did your family and friends react to the book?

They understood the game being played between reality and fiction. Based On A True Story is also a reflection on what creation means, and an attempt to answer the question of who you really are when you’re writing.

What does me-time mean for you?

I like to spend time with the people I love. Otherwise – walking, going to the cinema and reading, of course.

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