Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first novel (in French) at age 17. My first book was published (in France) when I was 24.
What makes writing your passion?
I had it in me since I was a kid. At age 14, I had an accident before the summer holidays and I had to spend two months without being able to swim, run or do any fun things of kids my age. My father gave me "East of Eden" (John Steinbeck) to read, and I fell in love with American literature (even though I am French). Since then, I tried and wrote (in French) with what I believe to be an "American style".
How long have you been writing?
Most of my life. For years, I was a ghost writer in France, and as such wrote for famous authors, movie stars and politicians. Under various names I had close to 20 novels published by major publishing houses.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
To be honest... I don't remember. I guess I felt great, but that was a long time ago. Yet, I am very excited to have my first book published in English... in the US. That is a wonderful feeling and experience.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Beside being a writer, I am a documentary filmmaker used to work in zones of conflicts. I was embedded many times in the US and Israeli armies. My experience on the field helped me create strong and fascinating characters.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Having to take care of promotion. I like to write, not to be on the internet chasing readers :)
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I never had a writer's block. Writing comes to me so easily that I just need to open word on my computer and ideas, words, come to me right away. My only difficulty is to write in English, and for that I need help.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
My advice is simple: never give up if you feel you have it in you. But not everyone is a born writer. If you don't feel happiness during the day just thinking of the book you are working on, something is missing.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Just write. Don't try to make big money. Continue writing, don't get involved in "money making" activities. That's a waste of time. I gave up writing for about 15 years, because I was obsessed with making money. That was a loss, a waste, and I wish I could go back on time and tell myself to stop.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
It is very simple: check your favorite author, or a very popular one, and look for bad reviews. When you see that some readers can demolish Steinbeck, Dos Pasos, Mailer, Miller or James Joyce, you can easily accept bad reviews as well. Nobody can please everybody at once.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I like it only when I see that the reader really understood what I was trying to express. I don't call 5 stars attached to 1 line "a good review".
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Since I have been often in dangerous places and met with many interesting people, I used those experiences many times. But I cannot say that I actually incorporated something from my real life into any of my novels.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
It takes one year to write a good book and a few hours to create a good cover. That's my answer!
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I connect a lot with French readers because I wrote in French a lot. I cannot wait to expend this experience to English speaking readers.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I don't have a strong ego and I am not looking for public recognition. People who know me know that I was on television a lot for my work as a documentary filmmaker and as someone familiar with counter-terrorism but that I never really enjoyed being recognized in the street.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Norman Mailer. Because his writing goes far beyond whatever story he tells and because he is considered as very controversial. I don't appreciate political correctness.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I'd like to live thanks to my writing and have nothing else to do in life but writer.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I already did. A book which will be published in France in January 2021. My novels are usually taken by big publishing houses as soon as I submit them. This one was not. So, I took upon myself to read it as if it was not mine and I realized that it was really bad. I re-wrote 400 pages and kept about 50.