Legacy: An Anthology – Interview with Didier Quémener – I love France #146

I LOVE FRANCE
And maybe you do too!
If you have recently read a good book in connection with France,
or watched a movie, read an article on France, etc,
please mention it in the comment section
and add a link to your blog post if you have one.
I will regularly post a recap of all the links mentioned.
If it’s a book review, why not enter it in the 2015 French Bingo?

***

legacy-cover-border

Velvet Morning Press just released

Legacy: An Anthology

a short story collection featuring award-winning and best-selling authors
such as Kristopher Jansma and Regina Calcaterra just to name two!
To celebrate the launch, they organized a month-long tour.
I’m honored to be one of the book blogs on this tour.

 *

Long after we’ve left this world, our legacy remains. Or doesn’t. Or remains only in the minds of those who knew us, those whose lives we’ve touched. Those we’ve written to, or about.
If you had a choice, what mark would you leave? How should people remember you? Should they remember you?
Fourteen authors sat down during the month of January 2015, shut out distractions of the outside world and wrote about the subject. The resulting fiction and nonfiction stories fill the pages of “Legacy: An Anthology.” The book includes stories from Kristopher Jansma, winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award for Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra and Canadian best-selling author Marissa Stapley among others.

Buy the book on Amazon

***

Yesterday, I posted an Excerpt from French author Didier Quémener whose writing I enjoyed a lot in the anthology That’s Paris, also published by Velvet Morning Press.

Didier QuémenerDidier Quémener

Executive chef, private chef,
food and wine consultant…
Lived in the U.S., based in Paris: does not wear a beret but eats freshly baked bread every day. Cooked his first meal at age seven, graduated from the Sorbonne, worked as a photographer and finally came back to the kitchen where it all started.
Didier is French and American, therefore obnoxious, a wine snob and speaks loudly!
When Didier is not cooking, he’s writing. When he’s not writing, he’s playing golf. When he is not playing golf, he’s dreaming of being an orchestra conductor, or a guitar player, or…
Back to reality: A husband, a father and a foodie!
Didier contributed to anthologies “Mystery in Mind” and “That’s Paris,” and “Legacy” and is working on a full-length food and wine memoir. You can find him at ChefQParis and FoodMe

His Amazon book page.
Follow him on Twitter

Today, I’m thrilled to post this interview with this author:

reading bug

 

Tell us a bit about your writing background…
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

 

 

Didier QuémenerMy first piece was published in 2003 in Mystery in Mind – a collection of stories of the paranormal. When I think about it, it’s kind of funny that I was first published in English since I studied Literature and Linguistics in Paris at the Sorbonne, but since I was living in the U.S. at that time, the opportunity presented itself and that’s how it started.

It was also an easy escape for me. Writing in English allowed me to hide behind a foreign language. Almost like an actor on stage playing a role, I was being “someone else” in front of the computer and therefore freed from any shyness or anxiety when it came to creating a story.

 

Studying in France often requires lots of writing. Starting in high school, our philosophy classes were intense and we had to write 10-page essays about our thoughts and ideas. When you’re under 18, it looks like a mountain that’s way too high to climb! Then I went to college, and those 10-page essays became 15 to 20-page essays… Multiply that by 8 courses, at least 3 times per semester, and quickly you get used to writing a lot!

 

But becoming a writer is another ballgame. It’s a privilege for me to be included in this anthology, “Legacy,” among such well-known authors! For me, having started with short stories makes sense. It helped me to focus on the structure of the writing process itself, the constraint of the word count, the theme imposed, etc. So I could use my own creativity but still have guidelines to follow. Being a writer allows me to continue my literary life beyond college. I’m going to sound very cliché, but I truly believe that we don’t become writers. Anyone who writes has this instinct and desire within him/herself. We just need to let it flow.

 

 

For the “Legacy” anthology, you wrote an epistolary love story. What inspired you to write this sort of story?

 

When “Legacy” was presented to me, I immediately thought of letters. It’s been a project I wanted to write for a while so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to add the love story element to it!

The inspiration also came from the British band Muse in “Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)” from the album ‘The Resistance.” To quickly summarize, the concept behind the band’s music and lyrics is to realize that we live in one big cycle in which civilization could come to an end if humanity doesn’t change. And if we don’t recognize our mistakes, they will repeat themselves.
Muse’s lyrics:

 

Let’s start over again

Why can’t we start it over again?

Just let us start it over again

And we’ll be good

This time we’ll get it, get it right

It’s our last chance to forgive ourselves

 

Following this inspiration, Adeline and Augustin, the protagonists of “Letters of the Night” represent this last chance when leaving behind a legacy to humanity in their letters.

 

 

What is the significance of legacy for a writer?

 

My view on legacy leans more toward what we are leaving behind rather than what we are supposed to transmit. In the past, the word “legacy” had a connotation of mission, which to me includes the sense of responsibility. As a writer, what are we supposed to leave in our words? What message are we supposed to write? Those are the primary questions I asked myself when I started “Letters of the Night.”

 

Then came the idea of the Latin root. Legacy comes from “legare,” meaning to connect, to link, to tie. So I could not help but thinking of a storyline where only two characters would define, one after the other, their idea of attachment to each other.

In general, we tend to forget how lucky we are to read something that was written more than 2,000 years ago! Even in our more than wasteful society, I’d like to think that somehow a part of today’s writing will still be remembered in a couple of centuries.

You also are a personal chef… Do your two careers ever connect in any way?

 

It’s an everyday connection! And there is only one word for that: creativity. Of course traditional recipes are meant to remain that way, but we, as Chefs, tend to come up with new ideas in order to reach another level of perfection. So we think, invent, create new associations just like when I develop a character.

 

Before coming up with a new dish, I have a preconceived idea of what I want to taste once it’s complete. It’s like an alchemy process where I know the combination I should use to transform an ordinary recipe into a special one. The same goes for my writing: I know exactly where I want to go, and in the end, I compose the narrative message with the same approach. A simple story could be told in such a magical way that it would become a masterpiece… Poe, Camus, P. Auster are just a few examples of that.

What in general inspires you as a writer?

 

Music and instruments. They are my first source of inspiration. It could be anything: classical, rock, blues, folk… But in general, outside of classical music, I tend to listen to the lyrics as much as I listen to the music. By listening to the words, I imagine my own personal views of what a song might mean to me. That is the reason why I never watch music videos, the reason why also I stay away from movies that are based upon a book I read. I’d rather read a couple of music sheets and put my mind to work in terms of visualizing what it would represent in my head rather than having to swallow something already made and given to me. For instance, I listen to operas but never watch any performances.

 

My second source of inspiration is art work. By admiring paintings, I can place quiet images on the noisy sounds that words could make in my head! When I feel the urge to write because inspiration is at 200 percent, I need to take a step back so that this noisy organized chaos in my mind can take place properly. And that’s what time spent looking at paintings is for: It gives me the opportunity to focus accurately on the different themes that I want to write about.

 

Tell us where else we can find your work… Do you have any other writing projects on the horizon?

You can read my words in the short story anthology “That’s Paris,” both in English and French.

I’m currently working on a food & wine memoir that should be published before the end of this year. And to celebrate the holiday season, I am contributing to another Velvet Morning Press anthology with a Christmas theme!

 

 

Thanks Didier for this wonderful interview, looking forward to read more of your writings!

***

ABOUT VELVET MORNING PRESS

Velvet Morning Press is a boutique publishing house with the goal of discovering new authors and launching their careers. VMP publishes fiction in a variety of categories, short story anthologies and special projects involving new and established authors. Please visit Velvet Morning Press for more information and sign up to find out about new releases at http://eepurl.com/7ht1z.

 BE SURE TO GO READ
AN EXCERPT BY
DIDIER QUÉMENER

 

Legacy: An Anthology – Excerpt by Didier Quémener – I love France #145

I LOVE FRANCE
And maybe you do too!
If you have recently read a good book in connection with France,
or watched a movie, read an article on France, etc,
please mention it in the comment section
and add a link to your blog post if you have one.
I will regularly post a recap of all the links mentioned.
If it’s a book review, why not enter it in the 2015 French Bingo?

***

legacy-cover-border

Velvet Morning Press just released

Legacy: An Anthology

a short story collection featuring award-winning and best-selling authors
such as Kristopher Jansma and Regina Calcaterra just to name two!
To celebrate the launch, they organized a month-long tour.
I’m honored to be one of the book blogs on this tour.

 *

Long after we’ve left this world, our legacy remains. Or doesn’t. Or remains only in the minds of those who knew us, those whose lives we’ve touched. Those we’ve written to, or about.
If you had a choice, what mark would you leave? How should people remember you? Should they remember you?
Fourteen authors sat down during the month of January 2015, shut out distractions of the outside world and wrote about the subject. The resulting fiction and nonfiction stories fill the pages of “Legacy: An Anthology.” The book includes stories from Kristopher Jansma, winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award for Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra and Canadian best-selling author Marissa Stapley among others.

Buy the book on Amazon

***

For this tour, I was offered to post an Excerpt from French author Didier Quémener whose writing I enjoyed a lot in the anthology That’s Paris, also published by Velvet Morning Press.

Didier QuémenerDidier Quémener

Executive chef, private chef,
food and wine consultant…
Lived in the U.S., based in Paris: does not wear a beret but eats freshly baked bread every day. Cooked his first meal at age seven, graduated from the Sorbonne, worked as a photographer and finally came back to the kitchen where it all started.
Didier is French and American, therefore obnoxious, a wine snob and speaks loudly!
When Didier is not cooking, he’s writing. When he’s not writing, he’s playing golf. When he is not playing golf, he’s dreaming of being an orchestra conductor, or a guitar player, or…
Back to reality: A husband, a father and a foodie!
Didier contributed to anthologies “Mystery in Mind” and “That’s Paris,” and “Legacy” and is working on a full-length food and wine memoir. You can find him at ChefQParis and FoodMe

His Amazon book page.
Follow him on Twitter

 

Letters of the Night (Adeline and Augustin)

by Didier Quémener

The following is presented as a work of fiction. Only the authors of this nighttime correspondence may determine its veracity. Adeline and Augustin share a love story. A story of youth. The creation of an immutable bond between these two characters before the rules of society and adulthood could make their mark. Their reunion, at the castle of Madame de M. during the winter of 1875, is the perfect moment to reignite their passion. The letters of Adeline and Augustin are offered to you exactly as they were found, without a single modification.

Letter I

To Adeline

Dear Adeline,

Please forgive me for my audacity, sending this letter to you at such a late hour, but I have found it impossible to sleep. Your presence at the castle this evening far outshone the ostentatiousness of the ball and the company of the other guests.

I found myself riveted to the spot the moment my gaze met yours. Without a doubt, when admiring the young woman you have become, I rediscovered the child I knew from my visits to your family home. However, time seemed to mock me when in your eyes I saw the reflection of those summer games we would play in the park behind your parents’ residence, and at the same moment, the charm and elegance that accompany you today. The years that have passed, without your path crossing mine, have graced you with such beauty. If Madame de M. had not introduced us, certainly several more years would have flown by before our lives could touch once again. What a pleasure to have seen you, to have enjoyed your company! If fatigue has not overcome you, a response would culminate this joyful reunion…

Letter II

To Augustin

Dear Augustin,

All is forgiven, for I, too, was not sleeping. As I look back at my memories of you, feisty young man that you were, I suppose I could not expect any less. On the contrary, silence from you certainly would have surprised me. The pleasure to meet again was mine as well, Augustin. You have matured quite a bit after the years abroad, haven’t you? You seem to be a man of the world, intelligent, and with a confidence that draws everyone to your side, hoping to share in conversation. Bravo! And I could not help but notice the particular effect you had upon the ladies…

Letter III

To Adeline

Adeline,

I thank you for your words. You are right—my voyages brought me a great deal, intellectually as well as emotionally. And of course the time that passes inexorably leaves its mark, as does the ink on these letters I address to you. Did you know that I have preciously guarded the letters you sent to me during the winters you spent in Italy with your parents? When a sense of melancholy knocks at the doors of my heart, I reread them, one after the other… Do you still have mine?

Letter IIII

To Augustin

I believe your letters are still at our winter residence, but due to the occupation of Rome, my parents recently took flight for Florence. It is possible they have already arrived. The former capital has become so politically unstable that my father decided his only choice was to abandon the family home. It is sad, Augustin. I have the feeling that a part of myself will die the day I learn of its new ownership. But that is life, I suppose. Things change, and we change with them…

Letter V

To Adeline

Life is only worth living, Adeline, if we fear losing it. If the irreplaceable disappears, what is the use of going on? What good is an existence stripped of its principal meaning? The idea of losing the slightest detail fastening my life to yours makes my blood run cold. I dare not think of it! I will buy the house from your parents and contact my friend the Ambassador of France so that he will take the necessary measures to assure its security. Time is ours, so that we may make our mark, so that our memories may take root forever.

And for once, let’s share it in its original language:

Les lettres de la nuit

(Adeline et Augustin)

Avant-propos

Les faits racontés se présentent comme pure fiction. Seuls les personnages de cette correspondance pourraient témoigner de la véracité du récit. Adeline et Augustin racontent l’amour. D’une histoire de jeunesse, alors tous deux enfants se jouant des règles qu’une vie d’adulte leur imposerait, naîtra un véritable attachement réciproque. Leur récente rencontre, au Château de Madame de M. pendant l’hiver 1875, sera le moment opportun de raviver une passion dépassant l’imagination du commun des lecteurs. Les lettres reproduites dans cette histoire vous sont livrées telles qu’elles furent retrouvées, sans avoir été éditées et sans aucune modification de leur contenu.

Lettre I

A Adeline

Chère Adeline,

Pardonnez mon arrogance alors que je vous fais parvenir cette missive à une heure si tardive de la nuit mais il m’était impossible de trouver le sommeil, tant votre présence ce soir pendant la réception donnée au Château a occulté le reste de la fête et de ses invités.

Mon esprit s’est dérobé à la minute où mon regard s’est posé sur votre visage. Certes je retrouve, en admirant la jeune-femme que vous êtes devenue, l’enfant que je connaissais lors de mes visites ponctuelles au domaine familial. Cependant le temps semble me narguer alors que je vois encore dans vos yeux nos jeux d’été d’hier, dans le parc derrière la demeure parentale, et que je devine aujourd’hui toute l’élégance et la grâce qui vous ont accompagnée au cours de cette cérémonie. Ces quelques années, sans jamais vous revoir une fois, ont laissé sur vous une empreinte si délicate, si légère… Si Madame de M. n’avait pas fait les présentations, je serais certainement resté encore de nombreuses années sans jamais vous apercevoir de nouveau. Quel plaisir d’avoir pu vous voir encore ! Si l’assoupissement et la fatigue ne vous ont pas encore gagnée, une réponse de votre part conclurait ces belles retrouvailles.

Lettre II

A Augustin

Cher Augustin,

Vous êtes tout pardonné puisque je ne dormais pas. A vrai dire, en cherchant dans mes souvenirs et me remémorant le jeune adolescent fougueux que vous étiez, je n’en attendais pas moins de vous. Un silence de votre part m’aurait certainement surprise. Le plaisir est réciproque Augustin. Ces années passées à l’étranger vous ont muri, semble-t-il ? Vous apparaissez en homme du monde instruit et votre comportement, plein d’assurance dans vos conversations avec vos compères, vous donne belle allure en société, surtout devant la gente féminine comme j’ai pu le remarquer… Félicitations !

Lettre III

A Adeline

Adeline,

Je vous remercie pour vos mots. Vous avez raison : ces voyages m’ont beaucoup apporté, tant intellectuellement qu’humainement. Et puis le temps qui s’écoule inexorablement marque son empreinte sur vous, comme cette encre sur les lettres que je vous adresse. Saviez-vous que j’ai précieusement gardé les quelques lettres que vous m’écriviez lors de vos hivers en Italie avec vos parents ? Quand la mélancolie vient frapper aux portes de mon cœur, je les relis, l’une après l’autre… Avez-vous encore les miennes ?

Lettre IIII

A Augustin

Je crois que vos lettres sont toujours à la résidence hivernale que nous occupions mais après la prise de Rome, mes parents se sont installés à Florence depuis peu. Il se peut qu’elles y soient déjà arrivées : l’ancienne Capitale est devenue si politiquement instable que mon père a décidé de se séparer de notre maison de famille. C’est bien triste, je vous l’avoue Augustin. J’ai le sentiment qu’une partie de moi va s’éteindre le jour où j’apprendrai la vente. Mais il en est ainsi, comme pour ce qui est de la vie. Les choses changent et nous changeons avec elles.

Lettre V

A Adeline

La vie ne vaut d’être vécue, Adeline, que si l’on craint de la perdre : si l’irremplaçable disparaît, à quoi bon continuer une existence dépourvue de son principal intérêt ? La simple idée de perdre la moindre chose qui me rattache à vous me glacerait le sang. Je n’ose y songer ! J’achèterai la maison romaine de vos parents et contacterai mon ami l’Ambassadeur de France afin qu’il prenne toutes les mesures nécessaires pour en assurer sa sécurité. Le temps nous appartient pour que nous y laissions notre trace, pour que nos souvenirs s’enracinent à jamais.

 

ABOUT VELVET MORNING PRESS

Velvet Morning Press is a boutique publishing house with the goal of discovering new authors and launching their careers. VMP publishes fiction in a variety of categories, short story anthologies and special projects involving new and established authors. Please visit Velvet Morning Press for more information and sign up to find out about new releases at http://eepurl.com/7ht1z.

 BE SURE TO COME BACK TOMORROW
FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH DIDIER QUÉMENER!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FRENCH AUTHOR?

Book review: That’s Paris – I love France #131

I LOVE FRANCE!

And maybe you do too!
If you have recently read a good book in connection with France,
or watched a movie, read an article on France, etc,
please mention it in the comment section
and add a link to your blog post if you have one.
I will regularly post a recap of all the links mentioned.
If it’s a book review, why not enter it in the 2015 French Bingo?

*******

That’s Paris

That's Paris

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free
in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated
for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
That’s Paris: Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in Paris

PublisherVelvet Morning Press
Pub. Date: 2/2/2015
ASIN: B00S684MJS

 

Pages:  218
Genre:  fiction / nonfiction /
/short stories / literary fiction / humor
Source: Received
from the publisher

Goodreads

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

French Bingo 2015 logo  2015 ebook  Nonfiction 2015  New-Release-Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

rating systemrating systemrating systemrating system

Paris has this mysterious attraction for foreigners. But they may sometimes see only a very partial Paris, the touristy Paris, which is really only a small fraction of the whole thing. The anthology That’s Paris tries to paint a picture of the “real” Paris.
Click to continue reading