Thursday, March 6, 2014

Author Interview: Cristophe Paul

Some time ago, I was contacted by a representative of French author Cristophe Paul. I'd never heard of him before, but who doesn't love the French, right?

So here we are today, giving you all an insight as to who Cristophe is, why he writes and a bunch of other questions. In other words, enjoy my interview with him. 

By the way, I find myself wishing that I'd asked those questions over a cup of fragrant coffee, sitting on a balcony somewhere above Paris.... No such luck. 

Anyway. Read on!

Me: What made you choose to write about hackers - especially ones that steal money?
Cristophe: I think that stealing millions from a bank without being discovered is everybody’s dream. Even more today after they threw us into this crisis and they got out unpunished and stronger.
There are many ways of stealing from a bank. You can get in one of their offices with a gun like Bonnie and Clyde, but that always ends up badly. Today there is too much security in Banks, so the cleanest way to do it is from a terminal. The problem is that everything is too controlled and complicated; the alarms are triggered very easily. You would have to involve a lot of people. It’s a job that only a hacker could do, a solitary hacker from within the bank.

Me: What kind of research did you have to condone in order to write The Penny Thief?
Cristophe: I have been a programmer (IT guy) for many years, before personal computers even existed and before the globalization of information technology. Let’s not forget that the internet as we know it barely has 20 years. 30 years ago spies who send information on microfilms and cellphones were science fiction.

I was lucky to participate in the first projects of data protection, which have kept improving with the evolution of technology. Imagine what a good programmer that has been working in a bank since the beginning could do.
The rest of the information is very well documented nowadays: especially with all the corruption and abuse cases that we are seeing: bank transactions, interest rates, transaction fees, tax havens… It frustrates me to see how Banks have manipulated and still do to the sound of money.

Me: Is your main character based on a real life person that you know (of)?
Cristophe: Really in The Penny Thief there isn’t a main character. It is true that Henri is the leading character because he is the IT guy that has planned the robbery on his own, but all the other characters also have an important part in the story.
If Henri Pichon existed I will never be able to tell, only a lonely hacker that would have started the action 30 or 35 years ago, stealing Little by Little, could have been successful and would have gone unnoticed. Nowadays projects within Banks are developed by teams and inspected by other teams. So if Henri was successful and no one has found out, I will not give him away…

Me: When you write, what process do you usually go through?
Cristophe: When I write I am actually describing something that I have already composed and visualized.
When I have an idea for a book, first I make a storyboard and I draft a script with scenes and sequences.
Then I close my eyes, I set my cameras and I imagine the movie as if I was watching it. Once that is done, I sit in front of my computer and I tell the story. I tend to go sequence by sequence as are my chapters. As if it was a movie but with the advantage that in a novel it’s easier to manipulate the thoughts of each character without needing any special effects. Each reader is going to use its own imagination.

Me: Which character gave you the most trouble?
Cristophe: Without a doubt, the most complex character in The Penny Thief is Pierre Gabriel.
He comes from an old French aristocratic family. A decadent family that can’t live from its rents anymore. Someday he will inherit from his grandmother a castle, lands, horses… But for now he has to work. He is a programmer, but not a good one. When he discovers what Henri has been doing, he sees the opportunity to get out of his routine and go back to his origins without having to wait to inherit anything. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will only say that as the novel goes Pierre Gabriel goes crazy. Especially after the visit to Orleans.

Me:Tell us one thing that you like the most about The Penny Thief.
Cristophe: What I like most in The Penny Thief is that for once someone has managed to rob a bank using the same technique they legally use to rob us. No one really suffers the consequences from the robbery, except from the greedy ones who want to keep the money for themselves.
How a normal person can transform into a real monster when smelling Money?

Thank you so much, Cristophe for being diligent in answering all my questions!

Now, my dear readers, let me give you some information about The Penny Thief.

 Book details:

Title:                           The Penny Thief
Original:                    Le Voleur de centimes
Author:                      Christophe Paul
Translation:              Jennifer Adcock
Genre:                       Thriller & Romance
Pages:                       76 chapters - 386p.
Paperback Format:  6” x 9”
ISBN:                         978-1492103592

... What if someone was robbing a bank cent by cent without anyone realizing it ...
With the charm of the streets of Paris and the suspense of the best Hollywood thriller, a novel dedicated to anyone who has ever suffered the arrogance, greed and injustice of the financial system.
An exciting overview from Montmartre to La Défense, the ultra-modern business district with their office skyscrapers.
Henri Pichon is a quiet and sharp programmer whose daily routine is altered by a fortuitous accident which will change his fate and the one of those all around him.
A different police novel: a story of love, hate, greed, murder ... and a refreshing touch of black humor.
How far are you willing to go for money? ...

“...a novel that I can only describe as a "Film", both in content and in style...”—Verónica CC

The Official Trailer:

Book links:

Amazon:        The Penny Thief

More about the author:
Christophe Paul was born in Paris during the winter of 1957. His family then moved to Madrid, where he had his eighth birthday. He made his debut as a writer at the Lycée Français, narrating events of the school and its immediate surroundings. He wrote for himself and for his friends. Later on he started incorporating international events and their stories, demonstrating greater control and consistency in his craft.

In 1982 he completed a master's degree in IT computing in Paris, where he created his own software company, participating in the design and programming—an exciting occupation he shares with his writing.

Christopher Paul is married with the Spanish painter and artist Zinnia Clavo. They divide their time between Madrid, Paris, and Marbella, where go on long creative retreats.

Currently, he is devoted entirely to writing.

Author links: