Marc Levy needs no introduction from my side. You all know him as one of the most successful French writers, with up to 17 books released and translated in over 50 languages. His style is diverse, unique, with amazing characters that are simply branded in your mind after reading his wonderful stories.
There are no words to describe how happy I was when he agreed to answer my questions and I hope you will receive this interview with great enthusiasm.
Ramona: Hello Marc! To start with, please share something about yourself with the readers that love your work 🙂
Marc: I would like to thank them for their continued loyalty and belief in my work over so many years. It means so much to me.
Ramona: Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read that inspired you to start writing ?
Marc: There are so many, both French and Anglo-Saxon. To name just a few: Salinger, Gary, Hemingway, King, Prévert, Hugo, Giono. But the very first might be Jules Verne.
Ramona: What, according to you, is the hardest and easiest thing about writing ?
Marc: Nothing is easy because it’s all about working, working, and working again. Each book is a new challenge, never take it for granted. But I am very lucky, because I love my work, and I guess that is the easiest part; I am passionate about my job, which is fun and exciting. I am always happy to start a new book and create new characters knowing that I am going to be spending time with them.
Ramona: How did you celebrate the release of your first book ?
Marc: You know, I got my break as a writer in a slightly unusual way, and luck played a large part in it. When I started to write the manuscript that would eventually become If Only It Were True, I had no intention of writing a novel. My sister, who is a screenwriter, encouraged me to send the manuscript to a publishing house – Robert Laffont. They got back to me 8 days later saying they wanted to publish the book. A few weeks after that, Steven Spielberg rang me to say that he wanted to adapt my story for the screen. Can you imagine how I felt? I never thought I’d be that successful; I couldn’t even imagine any success at all. So I guess I was far too stunned to be celebrating.
Ramona: What other genres do you enjoy reading?
Marc: I like a variety of literary genres. I read an eclectic range of books; I’ve never wanted to confine my love of reading to a single genre. For me, reading and writing are synonymous with freedom. From novel to novel, I’ve tried to vary and even, at times, to combine genres. Comedy, fantasy, adventure novel, writing is a realm of freedom without limits. I’m too afraid of boring my readers by always doing the same thing, and besides, I too would get bored by constantly re-writing the same style of book. So each time I find myself exploring new horizons, setting off in different directions, and there’s still a lot of uncharted territory to discover…
Ramona: Do you believe that a book’s cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Marc: There is no miracle formula, but it is, in a way, part of the creative process.
Ramona: It’s often thought that a writer must have a muse, what are your thoughts on that?
Marc: Again, for me writing is synonymous with freedom. There are different ways of finding inspiration. My ideas come from everyday life. I like to watch and listen to what’s going on around me. So I don’t have a muse, per say… except life itself, may be.
Ramona: Have you ever drawn on real events in your own life when writing your novels?
Marc: Probably more than I think… but it is not deliberate.
Ramona: Where do you get the inspiration to write books so diverse in plot and characters?
Marc: Again, from everyday life. Sometimes I get an idea from an article or a documentary. That was the case for Replay and Stronger than Fear, where my main character Andrew Stilman was inspired by a real, illustrious New York Times reporter.
But the idea behind a story is not the same as the story itself. I carry the characters around with me for a long time, whilst their personalities develop and the plot takes shape. When I’ve finished my research, when I can answer the question ‘What is this story really trying to say?’, that’s when I’m ready and I begin to write.
Ramona: How important is research to you when writing a book?
Marc: Extremely important. I always start with the research. Each new novel is an opportunity for me to discover a new world and new characters. And some of my characters are very far removed from my everyday life… In The First Day and The First Night I choose an astrophysicist and an archaeologist as my protagonists. Crazy, I know! The construction of their lives and personalities did not come naturally. I did a lot of research, just to understand what it was that they were doing, but it was really exciting and I learnt a lot.
Ramona: What are your favorite hero and heroine from your books?
Marc: It is always tough for me to answer a question like that, as I genuinely like them all. But probably Ethan Daldry. I don’t know why exactly, but I would really like to have been friends with him, to be able to chat with him for hours, sitting on a bench, looking out over the Bosporus or the Thames. I often feel very close to my characters and I’m always sad to leave them behind when I finish a book.
Ramona: If you had only 1 second to answer, which one of your books brought you the biggest satisfaction?
Marc: That is the most difficult question ever. But if I really had to choose, I would say Children of Freedom. It’s a true story, that of my father and uncle and a group of young men and women who decided to join the 35e Brigade MOI ( a group of the Resistance) in 1943. I spent a long time documenting and writing it, because each of the characters is someone who really existed; I didn’t want to betray their memory, their choices, and their lives.
You can find more info about Marc Levy by accessing the sites below:
Official site: http://www.marclevy.info/