Everything about Juliette Benzoni

her biography, her bibliography and so much more …

Interview 3

Filed under: 22. Interviews — 29 April, 2009 @ 15:25

The Club meet Juliette BENZONI  *-*  Interview in 2000/03/07


Favorite novelist of the Club (where she  is personal member over twenty years), Juliette Benzoni is the most translated French author in the world. A worthy heiress of Alexander Dumas whom she surpasses by rigour and accuracy of her sources, queen Juliette hoisted in the pinacle of literature in the not long ago disparaged ”historical novel“. On the occasion of the publication of “Reines Tragiques”, the Club met this immense writer.
“I choose my heroines in one epoch, but I make them react as modern women so that my readers can find their bearings in them.”

The Club : Your new novel is in fragments of eighteen queen’s biographies who made history. Did you decide to break up with the sagas, with whom you made your success?
Juliette Benzoni : Of course not. It is not really a novel but a kind of recess. With “Reines Tragiques”, I wanted to tell eighteen feminine destinies which by their tragic beauty marked the fate of the world. From China to Egypt via Byzance, Aliénor of Aquitaine or Caroline Mathilde of Danemark, I tried to show how power and women have made bad a union for a long time.

The Club : Your heroines often have a tragic dimension, linked to the epoch or the set you choose. As in the “Florentine-series” which is so far your biggest success in the Club, where you plunge us into the Italian Renaissance. It is one of the epochs you have a predilection?
Juliette Benzoni : Florence of Quattrocento fascinated me for a long time. Even before beginning publishing, I dreamt to dedicate it a novel. I had therefore already gathered a lot of material. The idea occurred to me when I decided to inspire myself for a true story that happened in Cotentin a century later, under the reign of Henry IV.

The Club : You need breath to get involved in a series of four volumes. Did you begin by writing a plan?
Juliette Benzoni : When I start a new series, I know where I go, but I don’t know then which road I will take to arrive there. For the “Florentine-series”, there were the Médicis, popes at the same time unworthy and very artistic, the kings of France. And the native country of Fiora: Burgundy, a region which I like very much and where I used to live for ten years.

The Club : Fiora knows numerous sexual experiments, without abandoning romantic love therefore?
Juliette Benzoni :That’s true,
  she lived a love life with a capital L. And then, things being what they are, she sometimes lets herself go …You see, I am going to confess everything to you! I choose my heroines in one epoch, but I make them react as modern women so that my readers can find their bearings in them.

The Club : So, the very young marchioness of Pontalec who is the heroine of the first volume of your new trilogy (”Le Jeu de l’Amour et de la Mort”), “Un homme pour le Roi”. As usual in your novels, history meets fiction  there. How do you work? By writing a list of true events, then by filling spaces with your imagination?
Juliette Benzoni : Oh no, not at all! I start and I go on without using any plan. I find ways day by day. But to write this novel, it is true that I had a thread to follow in the name of the baron of Batz, a perfectly authentic conspirator who tried to save Louis XVI, then Marie-Antoinette, then Louis XVII, then his daughter Madame Royale.

The Club : We have the feeling that you identified  yourself with this soldier of shadow, who devoted heart and soul to his king?
Juliette Benzoni : If you try to make me say that I am royalist, it is completely true! But I am a royalist of regret, a bit like De Gaulle. While feeling nostalgia for the monarchy, I know very well that it is not possible anymore.

The Club : However, you describe without kindness the fratricidal struggle which opposed the partisans of Louis XVI to those of the future Louis XVIII.P
Juliette Benzoni : Yes! It was the war of the secret agents. Before becoming a good king, the count of Provence had been a very bad brother. Twice, he had tried to kill Louis XVI. In fact, a man like the baron of Batz felt closer to young passionate people who went to defend their home countryin Valmy than to traitors who
swarm in his own camp.

The Club : But where does your taste for conspiracies come from ?
Juliette Benzoni : I plead guilty! I always had a passion for historical mysteries and famous jewels, as the “Golden Fleece” which takes an important place in my novel. Why? I do not know… Perhaps because I am Scorpio!

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