I am so excited to launch my new blog with a special interview from one of my all-time favourite authors, Sylvain Reynard. I discovered his work on a random trip to Chapters, and have been a devoted fan ever since. He is the New York Times Bestselling author of both The Gabriel Trilogy and The Florentine Series. His new novel, The Man in the Black Suit, is set to be released in December 2017 (which is a long wait if you ask me, but I'll be patient for such great work).
Q&A with Sylvain Reynard
First off, I just want to thank you for taking the time to be interviewed. You're always so interactive with your readers and that's incredible to see and always appreciated!
Thank you Katherine. It’s a pleasure to be with you and your readers.
I'll start off by asking how you decided to delve into the world of fiction writing. I read in another interview of yours, Gabriel's Inferno (or what later became Gabriel's Inferno) was your first foray into novel writing as an adult. Can you describe that a little more? What drew you to begin writing again at that time?
I’ve always written things but only as a hobby. But the story of The Professor and Julia came into my mind fully formed – as a way of retelling the story of Dante and Beatrice. I felt compelled to write it.
For all those who aren't aware of the story behind Gabriel's Inferno it started as Twilight fan fiction and was first published by a small press before being picked up by Berkley. Can you tell us a little about how the process went for you from fan fiction to New York Times (and USA Today) Bestseller with a top publishing house?
The fan fiction community is both tightly knit and diverse. There are communities for Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, etc. It’s a tremendous repository of stories and there are a lot of talented writers. I found the community to be supportive and vocal and it was this support and word of mouth that enabled me to reach a wide enough audience so that I came to the attention of an editor at Berkley. It was the readers who made everything possible and I continue to be grateful to them for giving an unknown author a chance.
What do you find most challenging in terms of writing? Are there any tidbits of advice you've learnt you'd give to aspiring authors?
I have at least two pieces of advice. First, I suggest writing every day in order to keep up momentum. Second, I suggest finding someone you trust to read your writing and to give you constructive criticism. We all need an editor.
I've read you like writing in your home office and prefer total silence. Do you have any other writing rituals?
I try to write every day. I have difficulty writing without coffee. Sometimes I snack while I write.
Your settings are always so alive. How do you go about choosing the settings for your novels--or do the settings choose your stories instead? I've also always been curious about how you chose The University of Toronto as the setting for Gabriel's Inferno.
Toronto is a great city and I think it deserves to be the backdrop for novels and films. I choose settings I find interesting, usually influenced by the history and architecture and the people. I do a lot of research and will actually stand in certain locations and take notes and photographs before I write.
Can you tell us a little about the moment you learnt you were a New York Times Bestseller?
I was sitting in a restaurant and Nina, my publicist, emailed me. I probably shouldn’t have been checking my email at that moment. But I’m glad I did. I ordered a round of drinks to celebrate.
On the other hand, what has been your most difficult moment of being an author so far?
There have been times when readers have misunderstood my writing – to the degree that they perceived a message that is the opposite of what I’m trying to communicate. This really dismayed me. But when you put something creative into the world, I think you have to release it. Some will like it, some won’t. Some will misunderstand it. But you can’t spend your life correcting others or defending your work. You have to do your best and then let it be. To a certain degree, you give up some of your autonomy and freedom when you create because you cannot control how your work will be perceived.
Aside from some of the influences you've mentioned on Goodreads (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis) what are some of your favourite books (fiction or non-fiction)? Authors?
I really liked “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley. It’s a cross between Harry Pottery and The X Files. I think “Crime and Punishment” is a masterpiece. I don’t enjoy Thomas Hardy and yet I can’t stop talking about him.
Do you have any favourite character in your own books? From some of the other interviews I've read you seem to have quite an affinity for Professor Emerson (not that I blame you!)...
The Professor is a favourite as is the snarky narrator. Katherine Picton was a joy to write.
You've always maintained your privacy. Can you share a fun fact about yourself that few of your fans know?
I like to observe people on the subway, in airports, etc. I find it relaxing and also, inspirational.
Have you ever been in a situation where you've overheard others talking about your books? If so, can you tell us about a memorable time when that happened?
I’m afraid not. The only eavesdropping I’ve done has been online…
Finally I have to end by mentioning how excited I am for your new book coming out! It sounds like an adventure equal to any of your other books! Can you tell us anything else about the project? Perhaps whether we'll see any of our other favourite characters pop in for a surprise visit?
Thank you. The new book is “The Man in the Black Suit” and it should be releasing in December. It’s a romantic/suspense novel, set against the backdrop of Paris and features a Brazilian heroine. You can read more about it here: http://www.hypable.com/the-man-in-the-black-suit-sylvain-reynard-cover-reveal-exclusive/ It’s possible an old friend may appear in the pages …
Thanks again for inviting me to join you. Good Luck with your writing,
I'll end by mentioning Sylvain's effort in bringing much-needed awareness to amazing charities such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Worldvision and Alex's Lemonade Stand, among others. For more information and how to help, please visit his page at http://sylvainreynard.com/charities/.
Now for the Giveaway!
A copy of Sylvain's first book in The Florentine Series is up for grabs! Enter through Rafflecopter below!
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her...
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history - the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets...
One winner will win a paperback copy of The Raven, open internationally.