Everything about Juliette Benzoni

her biography, her bibliography and so much more …

Interview 1

Filed under: 22. Interviews — 29 April, 2009 @ 15:27

by Laure Joanin for actualitedulivre.com  *-* the 2007/12/20

At the age of 87, Juliette Benzoni, the author of the “Gerfaut” remains one of the big names of the French historical novel.

Actualitedulivre.com : Your name is inseparable of the historical novel? How many books did you write?

J. B. : In forty years of career, I wrote more than seventy books. I am read in twenty countries, including in China. But I do not interest the journalists anymore for a long time. It is true that I feel a bit atypical, out of time and waves. I have noticed it last June on the set of “Vol de nuit”, the tv programme where PPDA (the host) had invited me: in the middle of all these famous writers , I felt being a ghost which would have been taken out from her cupboard.

ALC : After the series of “Catherine”, big rival of “Angelique”, you were called, it seemed to be so, the French Barbara Cartland?
J. B. : Yes, (she laughs), but honestly, it bothered me quite a lot, because I tried hard to write stories of a historical high quality. I have never been the kind of writer who write four stories at the same time like Barbara Cartland does, but however, the comparaison stayed…People, of course, forgot that at my beginning, I worked with Alain Decaux and that I received the Price Alexander Dumas.

Alexandre Dumas, a modele ?

J. B. : More than that, he is a God for me. It is, besides, because of his influence that most of my books take place in the 17th century. Because the 17th century, it is d’Artagnan. It is the first book which my father made me read when I was nine years old. It was the shock of my life, I have read all his work and I knew, this particular day, that I also, will write historical novels. Even if like him, I twisted a lot the neck of History, I hope to have given him nice children. In fact, I am one of the daughters of Alexander Dumas.

ALC : You are a big specialist of jewellery. Besides, you mention them in almost each of your books, including in last one «Le Coliier sacré de Montezuma».
J. B. : Yes, I am a real fan of precious stones. First of all because they almost all have a story to be told. Through centuries, they always represented glory and power. People killed eachother for them and behind their splendour, there are blood falling from them.

ALC : The historical novel is an always fashionable type. Are you interested in the young authors of present time?
J. B. : Yes, of course, but I don’t know them. For a long time, I don’t move in books circles anymore neither in parties. However I like very much, Jean-François Parrot. This new vogue of the historical detective novel enthralls me. I could not do that. In general, I find  the current literature more violent, more rude…  Perhaps it is because I am from another generation At the bottom, I do not like what the world became. There is no more honour, or splendour. Undoubtedly that is why I like History with a capital H, because I feel like in a cocoon there. History protects me from the time goes by.

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