It was a semi-hot Friday in the Netherlands when I was on my way to an interview with author Laure Eve in Amsterdam. On my way there, I convinced myself I had time to buy myself new pants, so that’s what I did. Not the best idea – I arrived all sweaty.
Hi Laure Eve, how are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m good as well, I’m just a bit sweaty.
Oh that’s okay. It’s actually a hot room where we are right now.
Ah yes, I agree. I was the one with the secret chocolate plan.
Oh are you? That’s good!
I bought her Tony Chocoloneley’s later that day. During this time I was still setting up my stuff and asked her if she was okay with a fun game I wanted to play with her in front of the camera. She was (as you can see down below). Laure was very relaxed, I noticed this right away, even though she had been doing interviews throughout the whole day. It was 4p.m. and I was the last one to interview her.
How is Amsterdam?
Yeah, it’s great! I haven’t seen much of it yet.
You arrived here last night?
Yeah, quite late last night. And the interviews started pretty early this morning. Around 9:15 I think. It’s okay though.
She laughed it off, but I noticed she was a bit tired. She still looked amazing, very bad-ass. She made me think about Tris of the Divergent series.
Have you ever been here before?
Well, yes. Three years ago I came to Amsterdam for about four days, just for over the weekend. So I have seen the city before. It’s a really nice city.
And you’re staying here for quite a while, right?
I’m staying here until Sunday, but then I’m coming back next weekend for a few days.
Next weekend, you’re going to an event with Jenny Han and Lisa Williamson, right? I’ll bet he person on stage doing the interview.
Oh, really? That’s cool.
I was so relieved. It really would have been weird if I hadn’t been able to talk to any of the authors before doing a live onstage interview with all three of them.
So, time for some questions! The Graces is your first book in the Netherlands. Have you ever written such a “big” book before?
You mean big in terms of translations? Then no, this is the first one. Well, I’ve only written three books. So there were two books before The Graces. They were fantasy books, they’re kind of two books together. And they weren’t translated. So this is a whole different thing for me.
Yes, and this is the first foreign country tour I’ve been doing as well.
We both cheered, this is cool. Such a tiny country, but man, we love books. It must be super weird to see your book getting translated and being on tour and all. But how did it all start?
What did you do before you became an author?
I worked in publishing. Actually, I still have a day job. And before that I was a bookseller. I’ve kind of always been around books. It’s just words all the time. Words, words, words…
When did you decide when you were working with all of these books that you were like: I’m going to write a book myself!
I’ve always been writing. Even when I was a kid. It was always an ambition of mine. When I left the University, I had a very creative degree. I had to get a job. I moved in with a friend. And I was like: the one thing that I can think of is that I would be overjoyed to be paid for is to work with books. So I basically walked into the local Waterstones. (LOVE IT!). I walked into there with my CV and said: I need a job! And a couple of months later they did, so that’s great! I got a job as a bookseller and then it was kind of natural to grow into publishing. During this time, I was always writing on and off. Just form my own pleasure, I guess. Ofcourse, eventually, I wanted to be published.
So – time for the most basic question ever. How did you came up with the story for The Graces?
It’s a combination of growing up in an area of the UK – Cornwall – it’s famous for being bohemian kind off hippy-ish. I grew up there and it’s very natural, a very wild landscape, and it seeps into you when you’re surrounded by it every day. It was very normal to have crystals and all. It was a new kind of spirituality that has resurfaced from the nineties. And I was also really into certain movies and books like The Craft, a movie, and dark teenmovies, like HEathers. And also, there’s a play, it’s historical and about witchcraft. It’s a very facinating play and deals with female friendship and powerplays. And the toxic way people can be friends, like young girls have. It’s a mix of all of these things. Withcraft is a very normal thing, you don’t have to be born with it or anything. Witchcraft, to me, is an accessible fantasy.
People on Goodreads describe it as a more realistic kind of magic. They were, at first, confused by Harry Potter.
Oh no, it’s not Harry Potter. You can compare the craft to Harry Potter. It’s both set in a realistic setting, it’s about people like you and me. But it’s not Harry Potter. It’s a darker kind of fiction. It has this weird dark feel to it like the movie The Virgin Suicides.
I was quite fascinated by River – what was her real name? I forgot…
Well, you don’t know her real name. It’s not in the book. She never tells you.
Now I’m even more fascinated.
Yeah, I know right.
She’s like Bella from Twilight: obsessed with this family, the Cullens. I don’t want to compare it to Twilight, but Rivers is obsessed with the Graces. How did that happen?
A lot of people have made this comparison, which is fair. It definitely wasn’t in my head when I was writing it. But that trope of high school girl that is obsessed with a glamourous mysterious boy from this big family is a familiar trope. I used it deliberately. I wanted to set that trope on fire. I like books and movies that give you this expectation, but than all of the sudden make you think about certain things. That, and also, it’s a commentary on celebrity culture. We put them on pedestals, but we never see behind the curtains. That spoils the perfect image we have of them, and that there just human. And that’s an interesting tension to explore. Especially with teenagers, and the need to be popular and all.
Like: what does it mean to be cool?
After that, we discussed a couple of spoilers, which I will not be posting here. All I can say is that the book blew me away at the ending. Even though at the time of the interview, I hadn’t finished the book. I had to read 10 pages I think?
The interview was fun – I loved talking to Laure. We finished up this part of the interview and went on to make a video, which you can watch below. It was such an honor to interview Laure Eve, I had a lot of fun! So thanks again, Laure, and her Dutch publisher Best of YA, for this opportunity!