The detective instinct according to French writer Christophe Wojcik, author of the novel Le portable
A newcomer to the French literary scene, Christophe Wojcik has delighted us with his first novel, which he describes as a "savourily immoral detective comedy".
But did you know that writing has been part of the author's life for years, and that Le portable (The mobile phone) is just the tip of the iceberg in his writing career?
Follow us and let's enter Christophe Wojcik's universe to discover the whole, or so, world of the writer...
So nice to have the pleasure to share some time with you.
When we met at the Lussan se livre book fair end of August, you told us that writing has always been part of your life. What pushed you to send to a publisher Le portable?
I'm passionate about words, and I do admit that I've been writing a lot for a very long time, in a wide variety of genres, simply out of a love of writing.
What triggered it? The encouragement of those around me who, on reading my manuscripts, couldn't understand why I'd never decided to try my hand at it... The future proved them right. For me, writing has always been an immense pleasure: that of sharing (a happy sharing, I hope) my texts with readers!
More than anything else, I've also been extremely lucky to be entrusted with the work of a fine publishing house.
How do you manage your writing it (between research, drafts, rereading...)?
The idea for Le portable (The mobile phone) came from a slightly sordid experience, which may have happened to you too I guess: receiving a notification on social networks telling you not to forget to celebrate someone's birthday today. But, there's just one detail: this person died months ago... So it's possible to still be 'alive' on the web, even though you've left this world...
Intrigued by this observation, I pushed the reasoning to its extreme limits by creating the character of Léo-Paul. Finding himself with the corpse of a stranger on his hands, he decides to access all the information contained in his phone in order to keep him artificially alive and get in touch with everyone around him, by taking his place in a way. Literally, he 'plays dead'... The story wasn't written yet. But the plot could begin to unfold.
Your work as a writer lives its own life alongside your already busy professional career. Is there an perfect recipe for conciling the two part of your life? Do these opposed careers (are they really?) work well together, and could they possibly inspire each other?
In my professional life as chief of staff, I'm essentially a "man in the shadows". So "stepping into the limelight", however modestly, has not been an obvious step for me. That said, I do my best to keep the two activities separate, as they contribute mutually to my personal balance.
I don't draw my literary inspiration from my work... and vice versa, even though in both cases, in a singularly distinct way, I enjoy juggling with words.
Good to know: Comic book artist Jacques de Loustal
is taking part in Le Portable adventure in his own way,
one of his creations being adapted for the cover.
Illustrator for the publishing industry (his style perfectly blending with the work of French Maigret author Georges Simenon)
and the press... @Jacques de Loustal is also a painter (www.loustal.com)
So, one novel published, 2 or 3 others in your publisher's drawers, you told us... How do you go about researching your subjects? How do you create and define your characters?
There's always an original idea at the start, inspired by an observation or a fact. That said, I wouldn't be able to explain the mechanisms behind the creative process. Words put together that make sentences... that make paragraphs... that make chapters... that finally make books...
I find it absolutely fascinating and I don't want to try and understand it! One thing is quite certain: there's a bit of inspiration and a lot of perspiration behind a novel.
Will you choose to keep recurring to some characters throughout your novels?
Neither recurrence nor resemblance, my characters vary with the rhythm of my stories. I do however concede a true attraction to a captivating theme: death, the way it prowls around us and how our lives revolve around it. To the point of obsession. But always with the sense of humour. what a better way to ward it off!
My second novel will confirm this. But you'll have to be patient before it's published!
All in all, how long does it take you to write a novel, from the first draft to the final touches and publication? How did Héloïse d'Ormesson help you with your publishing project?
Once the plot is firmly set in my head, it doesn't take long (a few months at most) to get it down on paper (or rather, on the screen of my laptop).
The proofreading work I do with my editor is then invaluable in refining, amending, polishing and enriching the text. It's a fascinating exercise, and I'm sincerely grateful for the way in which published Héloïse d'Ormesson has supported me and helped me to progress!
Until today, you've taken part in a large number of book fairs, including the one organised by the Maison de la presse of Uzès in Lussan at the end of August, and still continue to do so... For you, is promoting a novel totally connected to a writing career? Who knows, does it help you find THE subject you're looking for for a new adventure?
Promoting a novel is a singular exercise. To tell you the truth, I didn't know how I'd feel about it. The truth, put to the test of facts (sorry: readers)? I love these times of meeting and talking, sometimes moving, sometimes funny, always sincere and enriching.
I don't know if they help me to find other subjects. But I do know that they reinforce my decision to share my writing... which means continuing to publish!
And then there's all the 'reading feedback' I get. They go straight to my heart. And after all, isn't the best writing from the heart?
Many thanks to @Christophe Wojcik for his warm welcome at the Lussan se livre fair and for collaborating on this article.
Le portable is published by @Editions Héloïse d'Ormesson.