Thursday, 3 March 2011

Interview with Francois Lelord: Author of Hector and the Search for Happiness

I'm thrilled that author Francois Lelord has taken time out to answer a few questions for me today. Hector and the Search for Happiness is a phenomenal worldwide best-selling debut novel and his second book, Hector and the Secrets of Love has just been published in the UK by Gallic Books.

Firstly, thank you for taking time out to answer a few questions about Hector and your writing.  I wondered how you felt about the amazing success of Hector and his adventures, did you have any idea when writing that he would be so popular?

I wrote the first Hector on a impulse, this book came to me very easily, and I was really happy writing every chapter of it. I was thinking that Hector and the search for happiness will please my friend, but was too unusual to be a big success. Then I was surprised… I was thinking that I had written something very personal, but Hector seemed to have touched universal emotions among people.

Have your professional colleagues read any of the books and, if so, what was their response?
The ones I know told me they liked it, because they could recognize some part of their difficulties in Hector’s practice, and many of the ones I don’t know recommended the book to their patients.  I know about a very few who didn’t like the book, because for them, it was making fun of their profession. I am afraid that we don’t have the same sense of humour, which is okay.

Who would you say is your typical Hector reader?
If I can judge from the lectures I attended, mostly women of all ages, but my publishers told me it’s generally the case for any kind of fiction – except thrillers. But some men are my readers too, some of them very educated if I can judge from their comments. On the other hand, many young women told me that they gave the book to their boyfriends who never read usually, and they enjoyed it. So Hector is read by women, and by men who don’t read!

What was your road to becoming a published author like?
I always dreamed of writing fictions, by after early rebuffals from publishers for my two « youth » novels – they were not that good, I must confess -  I turned to professional writing, and then published some books for the general audience : about difficult personalities, self-esteem, and emotions, with some success. In fact I was supposed to write this kind of book about happiness with my usual co-author and friend, but I did not feel inspired. Some months later, Hector popped up in my mind.

Can you name 3 words that you think sum up Hector?
Kind, curious, stubborn.
I think that sums up Hector very well! Thank you again for providing such insightful answers.

My Review of Hector and the Search for Happiness is here
My Review of Hector and the Secrets of Love is here
Hector and the Search for Happiness to be made into a film starring Patrick Dempsey

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