Friday, 16 March 2012

Blog Tour: The Things We Did for Love - Interview with Author Natasha Farrant

Hello everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour! I have the lovely Natasha Farrant, author of The Things We Did for Love, on the blog for a Q&A, so please make her feel welcome, and enjoy! :)

The Things We Did for Love by Natasha Farrant
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Released: March 1st 2012
Find it on Goodreads

France: February, 1944.

As war rages in Europe, teenagers Luc and Arianne fall passionately in love. But German forces are closing in and Luc, desperate to atone for his family's past, is drawn into the dangerous world of the Resistance. Arianne will do almost anything to keep him safe, but someone else is secretly in love with her - someone who will stop at nothing to get rid of his rival...
(from Goodreads)

Q&A

Hi Natasha, thanks so much for joining us!

Lovely to be with you too!

Can you tell us a bit about The Things We Did for Love?

It’s a love story set in France at the end of World War 2, which also looks at the question of what it means to be a hero and questions how we would all behave when placed in an impossible situation. It’s based on real events which took place in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, which was destroyed by German soldiers on 10th June 1944, four days after the D-Day landings. It’s both very romantic and very tragic.

Why did you decide to write for a young adult audience?

I’ve worked in children and YA publishing for a long time. When my first two novels (for “grown ups”) were published, several colleagues suggested that I try writing for young adults. I’d been thinking about this book for a long time and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would work best for teen readers. My books always begin with my characters: in this case, the little boy Paul and the war weary German soldier Alois were the first to manifest themselves, but I always knew Paul had a big sister and that the book would be about her. And the drama of the story, which catapults an entire village from ordinary life into catastrophe seemed most acute when applied to teenagers. My young characters all have one thing in common, which is a very teenage belief that what they want matters more than anything. They are in love, they want to be heroes, they are convinced that they can change the world… They learn the hard way that destiny is also affected by random forces.

The Things We Did for Love is set during war-torn Europe in the 1940s. What inspired you to write about this period?

War is so fascinating to writers (and filmmakers, for that matter) because it provides such extremes of emotion and behaviour: fear, courage, sacrifice, love. I have been obsessed with both World Wars since I was a teenager: descriptions in history lessons of trench warfare, of concentration camps and gas chambers, of bombed cities, all made a profound impression on me. I just couldn’t understand how human beings, with their capacity for love and compassion, could also allow such nightmares to take place.

I have known about Oradour-sur-Glane (the village on which THE THINGS WE DID FOR LOVE is based) all my life, but I first went there about ten years ago. It’s a place which can’t fail to mark you. The village has been left exactly as it was after the massacre and it is devastating. I wept as I made my way through the ruined streets to the church, and in my mind I wanted to imagine away all the stark reminders of the terrible events which took place here to see the village as it was before. Writing about it became a way of trying to make sense of what had happened, and also of all the questions which had haunted me since those history lessons at school. I also think it’s interesting for English readers to know more about how people experienced war in different countries and the reality of occupation.

How did you cope with writing some of the more serious parts of The Things We Did for Love?

To be honest, the horrific parts were not the most difficult to write, because I got so caught up in the story. Most of all, I wanted to be respectful. My first draft was very angry and emotional, but my agent, who was the first editor on the book, encouraged me to pare back my descriptions to what was most essential. The final result is much stronger as a result. It was a real case of less being more. 
 
Did you do any research when writing The Things We Did for Love?

I visited the Centre of Remembrance at Oradour-sur-Glane on several occasions, and I read a lot around the subject. You can find out more by googling Oradour-sur-Glane. Better still, if ever you find yourself around Limoges, go and visit the village.

If you could do any job in the world (besides writing), what would it be?

I share an office with a garden designer and I think her job looks wonderful. She does these amazing drawings and then turns boring plots of land into little corners of paradise. I love that her creations keep on evolving as the things she plants carry on growing. Of course it’s a better job in summer than in winter…
Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?

I’ve just handed in the manuscript of my next book. It’s completely different! A contemporary story, told in diary format, about a family recovering from the death of a child. It’s sad but also very funny and slightly mad. Sort of a cross between LOVE, AUBREY and Hilary McKay’s Casson family books.

Thanks for answering questions today, it’s been great to have you on the blog!

My pleasure! Thanks for having me.
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Hope you enjoyed the interview! For anyone who's interested, there's also a The Things We Did for Love writing competition launching on The Spark (a great new online community for young people interested in creativity and reading), so go enter! Anyone entering has the chance of winning an ipad or the runner up prize of an e-reader!

Make sure you visit Mostly Reading YA on March 19th for the next stop on the tour!

3 comments:

  1. I really like the sound of the story in this, but I think maybe I've had enough of reading about WWII to last a lifetime in school :P Awesome interview!

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  2. Ahhh, war books. Such a complicated relationship I have with you. Okay, so, in terms of actual non-fiction texts... I love them. I find them really fascinating and it's always interesting to read. Fictional books though? I haven't had much luck. Maybe I've just been reading all the wrong ones though... this book sounds pretty good!

    Being a garden designer sounds like an awesome job! Of course, I am lethal to flowers and plants in general but it sure sounds cool :) Great interview, Liz!

    Sonia

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  3. I'm really liking the sound of this book. Thanks for sharing! :)

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