I’m totally passionate about car-boot sales and flea markets. I can travel many miles to track down antique china, lace, or other items that move me, that have a past. Generally, I love all open-air markets. Buying my fruit and vegetables from stalls, after drinking a coffee on a terrace, fills me with joy.
I’m totally passionate about local crime stories and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. I know off by heart the schedules of all the TV programmes related to local crime: no need for a listings magazine, it’s all inside my head for the entire week. It really scares my husband, in fact. The same goes for the TV series with David Suchet: MY Hercule Poirot is the marvellous David Suchet, and I know off by heart the days and times that series is broadcast, too.
I can’t live without music. When I wrote Fresh Water for Flowers, I listened to a good deal of Bach and Chopin. Especially when I was inside Violette’s lodge, or close to Sasha. And in particular, that book was written when I was listening non-stop to À Present, one of my favourite albums by the French singer Vincent Delerm.
I’m “plantifying” what I eat more and more. Not on a whim, but because there’s an urgent need to do so. No longer eating meat doesn’t mean depriving oneself. Today, vegan burgers are tastier than burgers made with animals. Nothing is better for one’s health than great gourmet salads, hot and chilled soups, and pasta with tomato and basil sauce and glazed onions. Yummy. Not to mention a frying pan full of sauté potatoes and organic fried eggs, with a green salad on the side. I could betray just to eat a lentil dahl. But my favourite food will always remain pizza, the way it’s made in the South of France and Italy, with a drizzle of chilli oil.
Once a year, I go on holiday with my two children, Tess, 24, and Valentin, 27. We manage to save 10 days in August to go to the seaside, to the Med. I hope to continue doing so for a long time. Even when they’ll have either a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. Those are my favourite days of all.
The cinema sitting I love most is the first one in the morning. Generally, the place is empty, so one can avoid the cinema-goers who read their text messages during the film. That’s truly appalling. On the morning when I handed the finished Fresh Water for Flowers to my editor, I went to the cinema and saw Call Me by Your Name. I remember smiling throughout the film, I liked it so much. And the following day, I went back to see it again, to feel again what I had felt the day before.
Finally, I did love nightclubs, I did a lot of dancing in them. I loved the world of the night. I loved it for a long time. A very long time. I still like dancing, on my own, at home. These days, I prefer the world of the garden, of cats, of dogs, of poppies, of hydrangeas, of roses, of birds. I can spend hours watching the birds in my garden when I’m in Normandy, it’s, without doubt, one of my favourite spectacles. But that will never stop me from worshipping the DJ David Guetta
Books, biscuits, and Beethoven: my writing environment. Sneak into my study while I’m writing and you’ll be bombarded by Beethoven (or Bach, Mozart, Debussy) before being offered a biscuit from the packet sitting atop some of the books open on my desk. Why the classical music? The way the mood of such music can change suddenly and dramatically reminds me to keep my writing tight and create a rollercoaster of emotion! What sort of biscuits? They vary from dry crackers topped with cheese to wicked chocolate, depending on what’s in the pantry and what’s happening to my characters…crackers when the cop is thinking logically about clues; chocolate when the “baddy” is planning their next move! And the selection of books? Some of them are reference books I’m using to research the next thriller I’m writing, while the rest are a selection of novels that inspire me. Which leads nicely to…