The Confidant

The Confidant

Helene Gremillon – author of The Confidant published by Gallic Books


  1. 1.    What can you tell our readers about your new book The Confidant?
  • I can tell you what I originally set out to do when I started writing this novel: to write a love story, filled with suspense, and set within a strong historical context.


  1. 2.    The novel had been compared to The Reader and Suite Francaise, so how did this make you feel to have this comparison?
  • I’m thrilled! The Reader is a book that I very much enjoyed. Just as much as I enjoyed the film adaptation by Stephen Daldry.


  1. 3.    You live in Paris with your partner, is this why you chose this for the setting of the book?
  • I love Paris. Deeply. But that isn’t the reason I decided to place the story in Paris. Or at least not consciously. I suppose you never know…


  1. 4.    The book is set in 1975, did you have to put much research into Paris at this time as well as World War 2?
  • I did a lot of research into the Second World War years. I couldn’t tell you how many books I read, just that there were a lot, despite knowing that The Confidant is not primarily a historical fiction. I simply wanted to create a background that was as insightful as possible. For the more contemporary setting, I didn’t do any research at all. I simply made sure that no anachronisms slipped through into the story.


  1. 5.    How much did your degree in literature and history aid your own writing?
  • My joint honours gave me the skills to write what I enjoy writing. Whilst I was studying, I did wonder why I had chosen history as well as literature. I felt strongly that I should, but I wasn’t really sure to what end, other than gaining some cultural baggage. When I started writing, I understood at last why I had felt the need to do so. Thankfully I listened to myself!


  1. 6.    You were a press journalist, so how does this compare to novel writing?
  • When I first started writing news articles, they weren’t “journalistic” enough. It was very frustrating, as I had to write “as neutrally as possible”. I didn’t really enjoy those writing exercises; I found it all too fact-based.


  1. 7.    What period of history captures your interest the most?
  • I think they all do. At the moment, I’m fascinated by the lives of the Mayas, the Aztecs and the Incas. I’m not sure why, but I find it riveting. I tend to absorb myself in a historical period and see whether they inspire me to write anything. So far, this one hasn’t, but I’m learning a lot which is great. If I could have continued studying my entire life, I would have…


  1. 8.    What is next in store for your fans of this book?
  • An Argentinian love story… I can’t really say much more, I struggle to talk about books until they’re finished. My mind isn’t very clear.


  1. 9.    Will you continue to write historical fiction or do you think you will branch out into other genres at some point?
  • Anything that keeps to this “poetic art”: fiction set within a troubled historical period.


10. Who do you most like to read?

  • It depends. A play by Racine or Shakespeare is always welcome in my life. After that, my favourites vary. My last great love was when I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” last month, an absolutely wonderful novel.


The Confidant by Helene Gremillon is published by Gallic Books on the

12th September, price £7.99 paperback original

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