4 Nov 2013

Say buongiorno to Claude Nougat

I'm delighted to have multi-lingual and super smart author of several genres, Claude Nougat with me today...

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published? 
I started a long time ago, when I was 15. At the time we lived in Colombia and the country was already in the hands of violent bands of highwaymen, the bandidos. A perfect setting for my first book! Before I got first published many years passed, a whole life: I worked (as an economist), I got married (twice), I had children (three) and they grew up. In the meantime I’d kept writing, and got a non-fiction essay about the challenges of development aid published first, in 1989. Fiction was next, with a children’s book (in Italian! My second husband is Italian) and finally a historical/paranormal romance in 2007, still in Italian. I started publishing in English only in 2011.

I see that you write in several different genres. What is it about your most recent one (sci-fi) that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which? 
Yes, I’ve gone from children’s books to romance to thrillers to Boomer lit (a new genre aimed at Baby Boomers) to science fiction now and that is really my first love. Brave New World and 1984 were my favorite when I was young, then I discovered A Clockwork Orange and The Day of the Triffids and I was ecstatic! Now I’m re-reading Frederik Pohl who just died, what a great master...And yes, I read other genres, just about everything except fantasy – for me, fantasy is simply too way out and I always feel the author is out to impress me with his/her imagination and that’s something I don’t enjoy. That’s true of some sci-fi novels too, I like my sci-fi to be rooted in reality. Like all readers, when I read a book I want to forget about the author and immerse myself in the story...

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it? 
Forever Young! It’s set 200 years from now and explores how it feels to live in a profoundly divided world where the ultra rich are the only ones benefiting from scientific advances, including in particular the one that allows you to look and feel young all your life until you drop dead. I’m working on it, the first draft of the book is done and I’m nearly finished with the editing of the last bit. It’s in parts and I started to publish Part One and Two in serialized form. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C43CD8I It’s only 99 cents and meant to give you a taste of the book that’s coming and that should be out in a month or two. Because I plan to abandon the serialized approach and publish the whole book as soon as it’s done, I find serialization doesn’t work.

Why not? It famously worked for Hugh Hewey’s WOOL that became a best seller last year! 
I know, I guess he’s a special case. Everyone in the industry has advised me to stop it and I noticed in the readers’ reviews I received that they didn't “get it”, they thought the book was too short! Of course it was, since Part One is only one-fifth of the whole book!!

What inspired you to write it? 
We all age and at some point need to face it. My own mother is going to be 100 years old this month. Aging is hard, it’s depressing and I was wondering what it would be like if the aging problem could be solved. My answer in Forever Young!

Is it part of a series? 
Yes, Forever Young is Book One of the Masters of the Future series. I’ve got two more books planned.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere? 
“Magari”, as the Italians say! No, I haven’t though I've met many of my readers and that’s a special experience. I love it when someone tells me how much he or she loved my book!

Who designs your covers? 
I do them myself – I was a painter before I became a published writer.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast? 
The main character is called Alice, she is young, a warm-hearted nurse by profession. A lovely girl, blonde and blue-eyed, sweet and ingenuous. And terribly sexy without realizing quite how devastating she can be for the men around her, and even passers-by. Who would that be for you? Maybe Scarlett Johansson. Yes, that’s exactly how I see my Alice!

What's your favourite book that made it to the big screen? 
Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago. So romantic, I fell in love with both Julie Christie and Omar Sharif in that film...That was a long time ago, the film was made in 1965!

Do you ever read Chick Lit? If so, name one of your favourite Chick Lit books? 
I think the term has suffered in the press as some journalists have accused it of being “girlish”, no doubt a result of the term “chick” which is American slang for young woman. Perhaps a better term, broader at any rate, is Women’s Fiction. This whole controversy is not fair because Chick Lit (or Women’s Fiction) really deals with the major issues we all face as women, though Chick Lit tends to do so in a light-hearted way which makes for very enjoyable reading. In this genre, Bridget Jones is my favorite. I loved the movie too.

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known. 
You? Me? LOL. I can name many actually. For example, Anne R. Allen whose recent book No Place like Home is a perfect example of Boomer Lit in the sub-genre of women’s fiction, Ruth Harris (especially for her Decades series that she wrote in the 1980s), Abigail Padgett who has an amazing magical-paranormal streak in her writing, Marsha Roberts whose memoirs are incredibly inspirational, Libby Fisher Hellman whose latest, Havana Lost, is both a thriller and a fantastic family saga. But I must stop or I’ll fill up the whole space here. I think women are furiously good writers and generally under-rated! Except for J.K. Rowling, the exception that confirms the rule!

Where do you write? Do you ever wish you could write elsewhere? If so, where? 
I write in Italy, what could be better?

In the movie of your life, who would play you? 
Image courtesy: Georges Biard
That’s a tough one. You mean in my mature years? It would be Nicole Kidman (grin): beautiful, intelligent, one of the best actresses around...But when I was young, I guess I was more a Scarlett Johansson type (double grin).

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Hate to shop.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? As low as I can go.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper of course.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Capable of both.

Claude Nougat is a writer, economist, painter, poet, blogger. Author of sci fi series FOREVER YOUNG; Boomer novel A HOOK IN THE SKY; Sicilian saga THE PHOENIX HERITAGE (3 books).  She is happily married and lives in Italy

Blog: “The Wanderings of a Curious Mind through Books, Art and Current Events”
Author Page on Amazon
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1 comment:

  1. I enjoy your website very much, it looks cool, and I just shared this interview with my friends because you did a superb job - great questions, and very funny too!


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