MAINTENANCE. “I talk to people about what touches and interests them”, invited Christian Signol to the Vignon-en-Quercy Book Festival
the important thing
The Vignon-en-Quercy Book Festival takes place on Sunday 20 November. Among the thirty regional authors who will be present, Christian Signol is the guest of honor. Maintenance.
Christian Signol, you write a book a year, how do you choose the subject of your novels?
I think about it a lot before I wear it for a long time four, five years before writing, when I start writing the book I already have it in my head, at least the main lines. Giono said: “My book is finished, I just have to write it. »
Do you take notes?
No, never, my notes are cerebral.
How do you choose the titles of your novels?
My publisher and I think about it for a long time because the title is very important. The best title I found is “La rivière Espérance”, the consonants mark the mind and memory. I’m lucky enough to find them pretty easily, my editor says I’m a headline genius.
“When I was 12, I read all of Victor Hugo”
You often refer to Jean Giono and Bernard Clavel, what are the links that connect you with these two authors?
I knew Bernard Clavel well, we had the same publisher, I worked with him for ten years, he was a very nice man, who had a lot of success. As for Gion, I have always admired his writing, I was born with it. He is the writer to whom I owe the most.
And Victor Hugo?
Also, but for other reasons, I already mentioned it in my book “Child’s Happiness” in the library of my municipal school there were four shelves filled with the works of Victor Hugo, I read them all before starting the sixth grade, so in the 12th. I read all of Victor Hugo .
Why do you think your books are so popular?
I talk to people about what touches and interests them. This is a story about French families, their existence is recognized as worthy of interest and it touches them extremely. All this population of rural origin, who stayed in the countryside or went to work in the cities, preserves nostalgia for the time of their childhood. It is this very important readership that makes my works successful.
Your readers identify with your characters to the point where they seek out the places you talk about, does that surprise you?
When I wrote “Marie des brebis” a story that takes place on the Causse de Rocamadour, people even came from abroad to look for Marie’s family. The mayor called me on the phone, he didn’t know what to say to the people, because of course I disguised the place so that the family wouldn’t be disturbed.
I am glad that readers are trying to find the true story in my books. This is the difference between a story and a novel. A narrative describes a true story, while a novel is by definition fictionalized.
“My mom, my grandmother and the woman who came to help with the laundry were at home, so I finally understood female psychology”
The feelings of your characters, especially the women, are described with great subtlety and finesse. Did you study psychology?
Not at all, I studied law and modern letters. When I was a child, and this is true for many children, we were raised by women. The men worked outside, they were not in the houses and, moreover, they did not talk much. At home were mom, grandma and a woman who came to help with the laundry, so I eventually understood or guessed about female psychology.
You chose this school for this interview, why this place?
It was there that I met the students for the first time as an author at the request of their teacher, Madame Jarriga. I just wrote my first book “The almond trees blooming red” in 1978. It is a book in which I evoke the Spanish refugees. When I was a child in Quatre Routes, there were a dozen refugee families, including a woman who worked for my parents, with whom I was very close.
Are you writing your next novel?
Yes, I keep writing, but I know it can stop, it’s like in the song, we have success, but it might not last. Me, I’m very lucky, it’s even miraculous, it’s been going on for forty years.