Interview with Christopher Angel – The Mona Lisa Speaks

The Mona Lisa Speaks

by

Christopher ANGEL

366 pages

Release date:  May 6, 2013
by Over The Edge Books

The Mona Lisa Speaks

ISBN-10: 1484166957
ISBN-13: 978-1484166956

Purchase
Publisher | Amazon | Barnes&Noble| iTunes |

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Brilliant and confident Robertson Ross, an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert hired to update the Louvre’s security system, falls in love with Mathilde, a classic beauty and cultured Parisian art dealer.  But, when he discovers that she’s deeply in debt to Jacques Renard, a powerful and dangerous lord of the French criminal underground, he has to embark on the risky and thrilling theft of the Mona Lisa to save her – and their unborn child.
Rob’s biggest problems actually begin after he successfully steals the Mona Lisa and replaces her with a perfect copy.  Facing betrayals and double-crosses at all turns, he needs every bit of his intelligence, cunning, courage, and computer skills to stay alive and reunite with his true love.  This is a story of thrills, danger, and a Canadian from the frozen North falling in love with Paris. [provided by the author]

READ MY REVIEW

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher AngelEmmy nominee Christopher Angel was inspired to write The Mona Lisa Speaks, his first novel, during a visit to the Louvre, where he dared ask, “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?”  The answer, in part, surprised him: few know that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, and went missing for two years.  Wondering what happened in those intervening two years launched his own fictional update of the story.

A professional film-maker, Christopher’s most recent movie as a writer/director is This Is Not A Test – a satire about domestic terrorism that aired on Showtime. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on James Cameron’s documentary, Expedition Bismarck, and won a student Academy Award for his short film, Mr. October.  Christopher received his B.A. from Yale University, where he was a Humanities major, and an MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California.

Get in touch with the author:
www.TheMonaLisaSpeaks.com – with tons of great info!
Twitter @filmangel and @MonaLisaSpeaks

***

 INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER ANGEL

Today, as part of the Virtual Book Tour of Christopher ANGEL with his thriller/suspense art heist story, I’m delighted to interview Christopher on France in his mystery!

reading bug 1. Christopher, your book opens in Le Louvre.
When did you visit it for the first time?
What do you like most in it, apart from the Mona Lisa?

Christopher AngelI first visited Le Louvre when I was five years old, and my family was living just outside London in England.  I remember the trip well – taking the ferry from Dover, and then the major sights of Paris.  Even at that age, I knew there was something special about the Mona Lisa.  I have returned to Le Louvre every 5-10 years since.  Today, I love the museum for its amazing breadth of collections – there are always hidden surprises in some out of the way room.  And if you get away from the Mona Lisa, it can be surprisingly quiet.  Also, I love the architecture – the melding of the old and new.  The modern pyramid entrance is justly famous, and such a dramatic way to arrive in the museum.

2. In your novel, you mix both art and mystery, and art and modern technology: what made you use these “mixed media”? Why do you think it is working?

That’s a great question!  Art and technology was one of the themes that most attracted me to this story. It’s is something I’ve studied and been interested in since college, where I first read Walter Benjamin’s brilliant essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  In our modern age of perfect digital copies, we still value this relationship with the “original,” “actual” work of art – that’s why there are still huge crowds at Le Louvre in front of the Mona Lisa.  But I hope my novel, through the theft/mystery aspect, asks us why we feel that way.  How does a work of art speak to us, and how does seeing the original version differ from seeing a copy? In many ways, it’s a cultural value – it’s about what society values, and how we define and participate in fame.  Should that be a part of art?  There might be no way around it!

3. The Mona Lisa was indeed stolen in 1911. How much of this event inspired your own story?

On my most recent trip to Paris, I just couldn’t believe how huge the crowds were in front of the Mona Lisa.  I was curious, given some of the other great paintings in Le Louvre, why the Mona Lisa had become so famous.  I went back to my rented apartment on the Ile Saint Louis, and googled “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?”  That’s where and when I first really heard the story of her actual theft in 1911.  The more I read, the more interested in this story I became.  That was the original spark for me to sit down and write the novel.  But, as I explain above, I was also very interested in how modern culture values art, in this time of digital copies, so I decided to update the story to modern times.

4. Rob, a Canadian, falls in love with Paris. Why did you decide to give him the Canadian nationality? In his eyes, how does France compare to Canada? What do you personally think of both countries?

After my family left London, when I was 6, we moved to Toronto, Canada.  My mother is actually French Canadian, so I grew up hearing French spoken at my grandmother’s house, and have always had an interest and affinity for French culture.  I decided to make Rob a Canadian because I felt I could most accurately write his voice for my first novel, plus I was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Robertson Davies.  I think Rob falls in love with Paris quite quickly.  First, he grew up basically in the wilderness of the Yukon (which is similar to Alaska) so it’s quite a contrast.  But, he’s quite worldly, and loves discovering new art, food, music, and all that Paris has to offer.  I, myself, also love Paris more than any other city in the world, and hope to live there some day!  What is interesting is the relationship between French Canadians and Parisians.  In some way, French Canadians, who were cut off from France in the 1760s after the Seven Year’s War, are like anachronistic French people.  We are always a big curiosity to Parisians, especially for our very different accents and even some of our peculiar turns of phrase!

5. Any out of the beaten path places you would recommend to a tourist going for the first time to Paris, or any work of art in Le Louvre you think is not enough known?

I have a map of the locations in my novel on my website at www.TheMonaLisaSpeaks.com.  But I definitely recommend the Catacombs, as an amazing, unique tourist experience.  Inside Le Louvre, my favorite place is the “Salle Rembrandt.”  Rembrandt’s use of light and dark to direct our eye is amazing!  My favorite work of art in all of Paris is actually at the Musee d’Orsay – it is Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell.”  It’s a monumental and amazing sculpture that depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno.  It even includes a mini version of The Thinker. An amazing sculpture!

***

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
DOES THIS RESONATE WITH YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
OF ART AND MUSEUMS?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

***

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CLICK ON THE BANNER HERE BELOW
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS
AND ENTER A GIVEAWAY!

The Mona Lisa Speaks
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Book review: The Mona Lisa Speaks – I love France #71

I LOVE FRANCE!

I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.

*******

The Mona Lisa Speaks

by

Christopher ANGEL

366 pages

Release date:  May 6, 2013
by Over The Edge Books

The Mona Lisa Speaks

ISBN-10: 1484166957
ISBN-13: 978-1484166956

Purchase
Publisher | Amazon | Barnes&Noble| iTunes |

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France2013 Ebook Challenge

New Authors 2013

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

Sometimes, the stars align together!
I like a good mystery, I like art, being myself a painter, and I like computers and the whole digital world! And guess what, they are all here in The Mona Lisa Speaks, in a perfect mix!

Right away, the narrator and hero takes you with him in Paris along La Seine on one of those famous Vélibs, and the action packed art heist mystery won’t let you go. You end up in the very special world of art connoisseurs and dealers, also in some obscure areas of Le Louvre where no tourist can wander, in the company of an incredible geek.

Robertson has been hired by Le Louvre to update their security system. On his bike to work one day, Robertson sees a pretty girl, Mathilde, and decides to follow her. He falls in love with her, but is quickly launched into a messy situation, as he witnesses her accident with 2 motorcycles. When she recovers, he gets to know her better, and what her milieu is. She is in quite a predicament, and to make the story short, he will have to steal the famous painting of the Mona Lisa to save her.

I really liked the characters:
Robertson is both a romantic and a computer genius – yes, it does exist! I was really amazed at what the author invented with computers, security systems, how he made the theft credible. Even though I was confident in Robertson, I was on the edge on my seat when he had to prepare his theft and do it. Had he thought about everything? had he covered all his tracks? Was he really going to be able to do it? Did he, or did something happen at the last minute? You will have to read the book to see for yourself, of course.
By the way, you can learn more about Robertson in this author’s guest-post.

What was really cool about Mathilde is that it took me most of the book, about as long as Robertson, to know if I could trust her or not. On what side was she really? Did she really love Robertson, or was she using him for some very complex art deal? Was she a victim or a fiend? I found it added extra fascinating layers of suspense to the story to wonder all along if she was a reliable character or not.

Ad then you have the whole bunch of art dealers and crooks…, and The Mona Lisa, who does speaks indeed. How? Go and read it.

The style was a great mix, with cool descriptions of Paris, of art, of the museum;  and also lots of suspense with tons of action, of twists and turns.

I don’t remember if I ever read an art heist mystery before, but this book introduced me for sure to fascinating possibilities. Plus it was really cool to have it set in the modern context of digital technology, and not at the beginning of the 20th century when The Mona Lisa was actually stolen.

I think this would be a fantastic movie! And the good news is the author is working on a second mystery, entitled The Sapphire Screams, where we will meet again Robertson and Mathilde! I can’t wait!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Brilliant and confident Robertson Ross, an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert hired to update the Louvre’s security system, falls in love with Mathilde, a classic beauty and cultured Parisian art dealer.  But, when he discovers that she’s deeply in debt to Jacques Renard, a powerful and dangerous lord of the French criminal underground, he has to embark on the risky and thrilling theft of the Mona Lisa to save her – and their unborn child.
Rob’s biggest problems actually begin after he successfully steals the Mona Lisa and replaces her with a perfect copy.  Facing betrayals and double-crosses at all turns, he needs every bit of his intelligence, cunning, courage, and computer skills to stay alive and reunite with his true love.  This is a story of thrills, danger, and a Canadian from the frozen North falling in love with Paris. [provided by the author]

READ AN EXCERPT

WATCH A FANTASTIC TRAILER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher AngelEmmy nominee Christopher Angel was inspired to write The Mona Lisa Speaks, his first novel, during a visit to the Louvre, where he dared ask, “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?”  The answer, in part, surprised him: few know that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, and went missing for two years.  Wondering what happened in those intervening two years launched his own fictional update of the story.

A professional film-maker, Christopher’s most recent movie as a writer/director is This Is Not A Test – a satire about domestic terrorism that aired on Showtime. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on James Cameron’s documentary, Expedition Bismarck, and won a student Academy Award for his short film, Mr. October.  Christopher received his B.A. from Yale University, where he was a Humanities major, and an MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California.

Get in touch with the author:
www.TheMonaLisaSpeaks.com – with tons of great info!
Twitter @filmangel and @MonaLisaSpeaks

COME BACK ON THURSDAY 31
FOR MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER ANGEL!

***

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ART HEIST BOOK ?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

***

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN THIS BOOK?
CLICK ON THE BANNER HERE BELOW
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS
AND ENTER A GIVEAWAY!

The Mona Lisa SpeaksIn full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this ebook for free from  the author 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.

Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)

Thanks!

Teaser Tuesdays (Oct. 8)

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays 

is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Today, my Teasers are from

The Mona Lisa Speaks

If he had painted over her veil, it was because he thought that suited her better, and showed off her beauty all the more. Why reveal an imperfection the master had hidden?

 

She saw herself – in somebody else’s hands. it was like looking down on oneself from death. There was her smile, the smile that had beguiled millions, but she suddenly found herself as the viewer, not the viewed. Nook screen #124

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away!
You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too,
so that other TT participants can add the book
to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!