JR: Today I am here with Delphine Pontvieux, author of Estimated Time of Arrest and someone who has experience in the music and entertainment industry.
JR: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
DP: My name is Delphine Pontvieux. I was born in Versaillesand grew up in France. I have lived, studied and/or worked in Australia, the USA, Spainand the Netherlandsand traveled to many more countries before I moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1998 where I still live today. As far as my professional career goes, I’ve worked for 10 years in the music industry. Three years ago, I moved on to writing full time and created my book publishing company, called Miss Nyet Publishing, in the summer of 2009. I released ETA in December of ’09 and since then have been the recipient of two awards: the French inChicago community award 2010 in the arts and culture category and the Indie Book Excellence Book Award 2011 in the Thriller category. I am also a scuba diving instructor and I regularly write articles for various diving magazines. I am aChicago reporter for France-Amerique magazine. As far as hobbies and interests go, I love any extreme/outdoors sports such as rock climbing, snow skiing, boating, waterskiing, wake-boarding, long distance swimming, triathlons, skydiving and more. I’m also a cave and technical diver, and an ocean conservation advocate. I love music and the arts. I’m curious about everything I have not had a chance to experience so far. You can also see me on the big screen in the upcoming motion picture Laughing Out Loud, starring Demi Moore, Ashley Greene and Miley Cyrus.
So far, I have only one published novel, ETA-Estimated Time of Arrest. I am working on novel # 2 currently and I have also submitted several short stories for upcoming anthologies about various topics. I invite you all to like my Facebook page in order to find out when they are getting published. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delphine-Pontvieux/138074462922789
My first novel, ETA– Estimated Time of Arrest, takes place in the French Pyrenees and the Basque country. It is a fast-paced action thriller combining politics, romance, suspense, and police drama. The novel’s title is a “double” play on words. Not only it is a variation of the common abbreviation “Estimated Time of Arrival” (I used ‘Arrest’ instead of ‘Arrival’), but also because ETA is the name of the Basque terrorist group that’s been active for over 50 years in the Basque country andSpain. ETA means “Euskadi Ta Askatasuna,” which means “Basque country and freedom” in Euskara, the language of the Basque people.
After participating in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January of 1992, 21-year-old Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa is wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station inIrunand finds himself on the Spanish Secret Service’s “most wanted” list, branded an active member of the Basque terrorist groupETA. He has no choice but to flee his country. Two years later, Lartaun’s childhood friend, Patxi, offers him the chance to return toEuropeunder a new identity in exchange for a “small favor.” Lartaun seizes the opportunity, yet soon realizes that the favor he owes his friend is not so “small” after all, as Patxi is secretly planning a brutal event that will shake Spanish politics.
JR: What was your inspiration for writing Estimated Time of Arrest?
DP: While I have no roots or family originating from the Basque country, I have always been fascinated by the language, the culture and the social and political history of the Basque people, not to mention that it is a beautiful place with its mountainous landscapes, green pastures and rugged coastline. When I was a teenager in the mid-eighties, the Basque struggle for independence was in full swing. The terrorist group ETA was very active and they often made the news on national television. Looking back today, I guess these times marked me more than I thought they did, because they inspired me to write this book.
JR: Who is your favorite character in the book and how do you identify yourself through your characters?
DP: None of the characters were based on one particular person (public figure or not) I have ever known or read about in my life. They are rather the result of an interesting patchwork of bits and pieces of people’s minds, lives, struggles and beliefs I weaved together inside my head to create each one of these characters. I find there is part of me in all of them, even though their personalities are very different from one another. I feel particularly close to Lartaun, the protagonist, because I can relate to his complex personality which causes him to often be misunderstood by his peers.
JR: Was there any political point you were trying to make by writing the story, or is this just something that came into your head?
DP: While a work of fiction, the action of my novel is intimately set within the current political situation in Euskal Herria. I strived to keep the story in check and weave it within the actual historical context to give it more substance and credibility. What happens to the characters could indeed have happened in the real world, even though their particular adventures are entirely a product of my imagination. My intentions were to not express my own opinion about the situation, but rather to let the characters expose all sides to the conflict, and to give us a better understanding of their beliefs and actions by being who they are. Each character thus plays an important part by letting the reader know why the Basque conflict is such a complex situation, with no ready answer to end it anytime soon. I tried to put myself in their respective shoes, and to talk their talk and walk their walk the way they would according to their respective beliefs and the events that shaped their lives to become police officers, secret agents, fascists, non-violent activists, disabused militants or even terrorists.
JR: You have quite a resume in the entertainment industry. Why move to books and not stick to music?
DP: Because, in my eyes, life is too short to do only one thing. I loved working in the music industry, but in time I got the chance to branch out and try something else so I did. That’s who I am, I want to experience as many things as possible in life: I’d rather be good at lots of things rather than be an expert at one thing.
JR: What is your overall view of the entertainment industry as a whole?
DP: It would take writing a book to answer this question . . . In a nutshell, I think the entertainment industry is here to stay. People will always read, will always dance and listen to music and watch movies, play games. What is currently happening is that formats and buying habits are changing, and rapidly at that, so it is throwing the industry off. These are chaotic times because it is always hard to accept changes. Those who aren’t flexible enough to adapt will die. That’s evolution and it is happening, whether we want it or not.
JR: What are some of the challenges you see in the publishing industry that aren’t in the music industry?
DP: The challenges are fairly similar between the two industries in the sense that the digital revolution is forcing them to reinvent themselves so they don’t disappear like the dinosaurs did because they could not adapt fast enough to their new environment. In my mind, both industries face the same obstacles: digital content set at a lesser value than a CD or a book, which hurts not only the companies but also the artists. Retail stores going bankrupt, companies more hesitant to sign new artists because returns on investment are lower than they used to be . . . The one advantage musicians have over writers is their live performances. Nothing can replace the emotion and energy of a live show, that’s how most musicians make their money these days, in addition to royalties from record sales. Sadly, we never hear of famous writers, be it Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer, selling out stadiums when they go on a book tour.
JR: What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve in the book business, beyond selling millions of copies?
DP: I would love to see my story made into a movie someday. (but who doesn’t?)
JR: I talk with writers all the time who don’t feel like daily word count goals are important to their writing. Do you set a daily word count goal or just write when you are motivated?
DP: I don’t set a word count, even though I definitely should. I find that when I force myself to write when I don’t feel like it, I am wasting a lot of precious time that could have been spent more wisely elsewhere. But then again, I am a total pantster when it comes to writing. I don’t set any rules because writing is something I do to enjoy myself.
JR: What do you find to be the most difficult task when preparing a manuscript for publication?
DP: To resist the urge to change a comma on page 235 for the umpteenth time, i.e. to tell oneself that the manuscript is as good as it going to get the way it is right now and that it is DONE, for better or for worse.
JR: What are some of your favorite books/genres?
DP: I love thrillers, horror and the French classics. In non-fiction, I love to read about great people who push their limits to live their dreams and reach their goal, whether it is to climb Everest, explore underwater caves or survive on a raft in the middle of thePacific Ocean.
JR: Your turn to ask me a question. Any question at all.
DP: If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
JR: To die a happy man who lived a fulfilled life with his family. And to die a publisher.
Casey Anthony…Is a story I did not follow at all. I heard what it was about on the news, but that’s about it.
Two baseball fans have fallen or almost fallen over the rail during a game in the last week. Major League Baseball should…Lower the height of the rails??? 😉
I think authors…Are people who tell about their own lives, those of who they know as well as the lives they wish they could live under the pretense of fiction.
My favorite food is…Cheese (any kind, I love them all), a piece of baguette and a glass of wine. I could live on that all my life. I also like all vegetables. In soups, salads, etc…
I think the government would run smoother if…Lobbies would not have so much power.
If a had a penny for every time someone told me…I would be a millionaire.
Not to swear