Brontës and Bonnets: Worlds of Ink and Shadow Launch at Ben McNally Books

One More Page Book Blog Toronto Ontario

If you’ve been around my blog over the past few weeks, you’ll know that I absolutely adored Lena Coakley’s Worlds of Ink and Shadow. (Read my review here!) So, when I heard that there was going to be a book launch for it here in Toronto, I immediately marked it into my calendar. The launch was so beautiful that I thought I’d share a few pictures of the event with you here!

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Interview with Romain Puertolas, Author of The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe

Interview with Romain Puertolas Author of The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe

Today was such a fantastic day! I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Romain Puertolas, who is the debut author of the internationally best-selling book The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe (try saying that five times fast). I was very excited (and nervous) to meet him because I really enjoyed reading his book and thinking about the deeper themes that the book touches on. Click here to read the synopsis of the book!

(Some answers have been paraphrased for clarity and/or brevity but the meaning of the answers have not been changed.)

KM: So your book is being published in Canada today, congratulations! How has the whole experience been, from writing the book to finding a publisher, and now its success? Has it been difficult, fun…?

RP: I’ve been writing since I was 7 years old. I needed to escape from reality and to have another life, another reality, so I wrote these stories. I wrote 7 novels; the Fakir was the 8th one. Each time I finished a manuscript, I sent it to the publisher – just to take a chance – and every time I received a refusal letter. So when I continued writing, I was not expecting to be published. Once I understood that I would never be published, I started printing my novels in 3 copies: one for me and my wife, and two for my two children, so they can have a memory, a remembrance of their father and the stories. (KM: I think this is such a great idea. I love it!) When I received an acceptance letter for the Fakir, I was a bit surprised. It was a handwritten letter from the director of the publishing house telling me that my manuscript stood out of the crowd and that he wanted to meet with me. That was the first surprise. Afterwards we had the big big surprise when we sold the rights to 30 countries before the publication in France. This is the first time this has happened to a debut novel in France. We also had an offer from the cinema to make the movie. It was unbelievable, magical.

I translated the book in Spanish for Spain and now I’m co-writing the screenplay for the movie, so that’s another experience. Everyday I think I’m dreaming because I’m traveling all day, all weekend to different countries for the launch of the book and I am well-received in all these countries. It’s very strange for me. I never thought I would be published because it’s something that happens to very few people so I could not believe I could be one of these few people.

KM: The Fakir’s journey took you on a journey!

RP: It’s an extraordinary journey – not the Fakir’s journey – mine! *laughs*

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe Romain Puertolas

KM: So what was the translation process like? Did any names have to change to fit the parenthetical pronunciation guides you give in your book? (eg. We are told that Ajatashatru should be pronounced “A-jar-of-rat-stew” in English.) Did the translations affect the character names at all, or were the translators always able to find something to make it fit?

RP:  The names had to change to make the puns. I did an annotated version of the novel and wrote notes to the translators because while they have mastered their language and French, they might not be familiar with the slang so I wrote notes. One of these notes was that they had to change the names of the characters; otherwise, you can’t do the 13 puns in your own language. So the translators were free to do so. Some kept the original names. In Italy and Romania, the main character’s name is Ajatashatru Lavash Patel, the same as in the French version, and in the English version his name is Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod. In Spanish I changed the name to Dhjamal Mekhan Dooyeghas. So it’s very different because the point is to do the puns.

KM: The parentheses were really fun to read. Why did you decide to add them?

RP: At first it was not planned, but when I found the name Ajatashatru online, I said “Wow, that’s quite complicated,” and that’s nice because it’s different. So I took the name and in the word document, I put into brackets “pronounce this way” and afterwards it was a game for me. It’s about the different names we have in the world. Sometimes names are quite complicated for another person to pronounce; it depends on your nationality and your ethnicity.

KM: Actually, this is a little embarrassing, but I wouldn’t know how to pronounce your last name. I would have gotten it wrong.

RP: You can call me Romain.

KM: Okay, I’ll stick to that. *laughs* So obviously IKEA is a huge starting point in the novel. Why start with IKEA?

RP: I don’t know. The title came to me. Normally the title comes afterwards but for this novel I had the title one day and I said, “Oh my god, what’s that? What am I gonna do with that?” It was The Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe, because I had an IKEA wardrobe in my room. It was funny to make the contrast between the fakir, who is a classical and traditional figure of Asia, to be in an IKEA wardrobe.

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe Romain Puertolas 2

KM: Even though there is that humour and light-heartedness to the novel, it also tells the story of illegal aliens and immigrants trying to provide their family with a better life. I read in your bio that you worked as a police inspector at the French border…?

RP: I was working against the illegal immigration networks, the mafias who exploit people who cross the border. The poor people who crossed the border we considered them victims of networks. So I saw a lot of nationalities, and so my fakir is a mixture of them. I don’t like what divides people. We’re all human beings so we should be helping each other and not dividing ourselves. I like when people are united. I didn’t want to criticize, but it’s something I think about the world, my perception of life and happiness and everything. That’s why I put everything in this book.

KM: (MILD SPOILER WARNING) While the book ends on a happy note, not everyone gets a happy ending. Why?

RP: (MILD SPOILER WARNING) It’s a happy end because I want to tell that in life when you struggle and fight for something you can manage it, you can get it. The journey is very hard for the fakir. He sees a lot of sad things and he’s put here and there, so at the end it’s an award for him, to have a happy ending. But in life there are a lot of people dying, you know? For silly things… A lot of people are traveling in the Mediterranean Sea and a lot are dying, but we don’t talk about that. It happens almost every day. There is happiness and everything  but there is something that is a black point that is death and death exists. Always.

KM: Let’s end this interview with some short, fun questions. E-books or physical books?

RP: Physical books.

KM: Coffee or tea?

RP: I don’t like coffee and I don’t like tea. But I prefer tea – Arabian mint tea. The only tea I like.

KM: IKEA meatballs or IKEA cinnamon buns?

RP: Meatballs.

KM: DJ-ing or writing? (I knew this would be difficult because Romain does both!)

RP: That’s very hard because I’m a DJ and a writer. It’s impossible to choose. I’m a DJ-writer.

KM: Okay, you can choose both. Facebook or Twitter?

RP: I’m on Facebook only. (Find him on Facebook here and his official website here!)

…And that wraps up my interview! I love that Romain gave such detailed and insightful answers. I hope you enjoyed reading it and I hope you enjoy The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe!

Thank you to Random House of Canada for this great opportunity! The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe is now available in Canada. Will you be checking it out?

Signed Book Giveaway | Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Signed Book Giveaway Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey Book Cover kmn04books One More Page

**Thank you to Random House Canada for providing me with a copy of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey for this giveaway!**

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Elizabeth is Missing by now – it’s a brilliant novel written by debut author Emma Healey and is centered around Maud, an 82-year-old woman who believes her best friend Elizabeth is missing. There’s only one major problem: Maud is extremely forgetful due to her dementia. Click here to read my spoiler-free review of the book, and here to join the Elizabeth is Missing Blog Search!

I was lucky enough to be invited by the book’s publisher, Random House Canada, to have lunch with Emma Healey this afternoon. I was so excited that I was able to attend because, as you probably know, I absolutely loved the book. It was such a pleasure to hear her talk about her writing process and how she was able to tap into the mind of an 82-year-old.

Elizabeth is Missing took Emma five years to write, and the inspiration for the novel came from her grandmother, who briefly thought that her friend was missing. Emma told us that as an only child, she would sit quietly and listen to her adult family members talking among themselves during visits and she attributes those conversations to her ability to write more mature voices. She also mentioned that she found it challenging to write from the perspective of someone her age because, ultimately, comparisons would be made to her own life. By writing about 82-year-old Maud, no one would wonder if the story was linked to her personal life and past.

I found all of this to be so fascinating and it made me want to re-read the book again already! I was so happy to hear that Emma already has a loose idea for her next novel – I will definitely be looking out for that. For those of you who have read Elizabeth is Missing, did you like it? Why or why not? And for those who haven’t read it or have read it but don’t own it, here’s an opportunity for you to win a signed copy!

  **CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY**(Canada-only – sorry!)

Meeting Emma Healey author of Elizabeth is Missing One More Page Blog

CONTEST RULES:
1. No purchase necessary
2. Open to residents of Canada only
3. Please do not cheat on the tasks, I will be checking them once a winner has been chosen
4. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again. I want the winner to genuinely enjoy these books!
5. Have fun and good luck!

[Giveaway] Meeting… Lissa Price, Author of Starters and Enders

Starters and Enders by Lissa Price Book CoverHi everyone! Hope you’re having a great Friday. I just recapped my April and already May has been off to a great start! I was lucky enough to be invited by Random House Canada today to have lunch with the bestselling author Lissa Price from the Starters and Enders duology!

In the world of Starters and Enders, all adults have been wiped off the Earth by the Spore Wars. Only those who were vaccinated — children, teenagers, and seniors — are left. A body bank called Prime Destinations opens up, allowing teenagers to rent their bodies to seniors for a certain amount of time in return for a large sum of money. Our main character Callie, homeless and struggling to take care of her sick brother, decides to rent out her body. But what she gets is more than what she bargained for…

Los Angeles Grilled Cheese from Cheesewerks

Besides the amazing food (from Cheesewerks, a delicious cheese-centred comfort food restaurant), the best part of the event was being able to talk to Lissa Price and pick her brain about Starters and Enders and learn more about her writing process!  She told us that the inspiration for the series came to her when she was at a Costco waiting to get vaccinated. When she was there, she found out that they were limiting the shots to seniors and children and that made her wonder what would happen if something wiped out the unprotected adult/working population. With only the vulnerable seniors and children left on Earth, what would happen? How would they fend for themselves?

As someone who is not a fiction writer, I am always interested in hearing more about authors’ writing processes. Lissa told us that she uses the “headlight method.” She knows how her books are going to end when she’s writing, but she lets the events of the book flow and develop organically on the way there, planning only “as far as headlights can see.” This was the first time I’ve ever heard of this process but I think it’s a very smart one. When describing this, Lissa used another analogy that I found very spot on. She said that her characters were like a piece of marble waiting to be sculpted; they’re already inside, but it takes time to dig them out. Beautifully accurate, right?

Fans of the series will be happy to hear that Lissa is 100% on board with turning the series into movies! Nothing has been confirmed yet, but I think the books would look amazing on the big screen. There is a lot of cool stuff that happens in the books that I think would translate really well visually. I’m crossing my fingers!

Now, for the fun part! Lissa and Random House Canada were generous enough to provide me with a set of signed books for a giveaway! Entering is simple, just follow this link to the Rafflecopter widget:

 **ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE**

CONTEST RULES:
1. No purchase necessary
2. Open to residents of Canada and the US only
3. Please do not cheat on the tasks, I will be checking them once a winner has been chosen
4. If a winner is picked and their Twitter account only has giveaway entries, I will choose again. I want the winner to genuinely enjoy these books!
5. Have fun and good luck!

Meeting Lissa Price author of Starters and Enders

Thank you again to Lissa Price and Random House Canada! I had a lot of fun. For those available tomorrow, Lissa will be signing books at 1pm tomorrow May 3rd at Chapters Barrie!

Have you read Starters and/or Enders? What did you think?