“Time Travel:” mon expérience

L’interview took place last August at the Carolina Coffee Shop in Chapel Hill, NC, right before UNDERWATER was released.I had just dropped off my daughter at college and was planning a Launch Party for my new Suspense novel. The interviewer was fellow Tar Heel Lucy Hood, who had studied in Spain just a few years after I returned from my year abroad in Montpellier, France on the UNC program there.

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Fast forward to January 2014, and you have Lucy’s article, Time Travel, in the current edition of the Carolina Alumni Review!

You’ll find a lot about my first novel MAKE THAT DEUX, which Lucy and I discussed that morning, a little about UNDERWATER, and a few things about me (including a recent photo).

While MAKE THAT DEUX takes you back to the 70s (think: American Hustle, Argo and the Bee Gees), UNDERWATER is set in current times. It takes place in Atlanta and New York, with a scene or two in France.

I’m not a big “time travel” person when it comes to the movies, when that means the characters can go back and forth in time and try to alter or fix things that happened, then deal with the ramifications. But one movie that does it well, in my opinion, is the not-so-famous film that came out in 2000, called The Family Man starring Nicolas Cage.

In the movie, there was a boyfriend and a girlfriend, and one of them was going to spend time in Europe for a great opportunity, and then they…

Well, it’s a romantic, sweet story, just like (but different from) MAKE THAT DEUX. But if you want to take a different journey, filled with conflict, betrayal, despair and deceit, go deeper and dive into UNDERWATER.

You may have a hard time coming up for air.

Les Oscars ’13 and ’80, et une connexion

Some people who attended the 85th Academy Awards last Sunday night also attended the 52nd Academy Awards in 1980: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Steven Spielberg, and William Shatner (cette fois, sur la vidéo).

Thirty-three years ago, Johnny Carson was the host of the show, presented on Monday night, April 14, 1980. About six weeks earlier, Jenny, Lisa and Kim* go to the Cinéma Gaumont Montpellier to see the movie, just released in France, that would win 5 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay:

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Cinéma Gaumont in 1979:

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The film Argo is set in 1979-80, the same year that Jenny and her friends spend studying abroad in the south of France, and the year that moviegoers flock to theatres to see Kramer vs. KramerArgo won this year’s Meilleur Film award and 2 other Oscars: Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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I loved both movies, but for different reasons. Because my novel MAKE THAT DEUX takes place during 1979-80, the connections between the two films seem coincidental, and ironic. Kramer vs. Kramer was released in the U.S. in December 1979, not long after the American hostages (including the ones whose story is told in Argo) are seized. Both movies tell gripping stories that kept me on edge until the closing scenes. And though much is different in the world since 1980, some things haven’t changed that much, at least politically.

Back to Les Oscars. It’s changed in many ways, but not all. For example, the gowns: In 1980, Sally Field won Best Actress for her role in Norma Rae, beating Jane Fonda, Bette Midler, Jill Clayburgh and Marsha Mason. A much younger Ms. Field wore a fairly simple dress that night:

SALLY FIELD

Last Sunday night, she was nominated for her role in Lincoln, a part she was perfect for and played very well, à mon avis. But my favorite nominee, Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook, took home the Oscar.

Sally Field at this year’s Academy Awards:

slide_282842_2146056_freeLes robes have changed a lot over the years, and so have the hosts, but some things have stayed the same: The show is très long, and the speeches can be (too) long, too. But usually the show is entertaining and has its funny, unscripted (and weird) moments.

Just like life. C’est la vie!

* Three characters in my novel MAKE THAT DEUX....Kramer contre Kramer was released in February 1980 in France.

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Books, Movies and Les Misérables

The movie Les Misérables (Les Mis, or “Lay-MIZ”) won ‘Best Comedy or Musical’ at last night’s Golden Globe Awards, a fact which made me très contente.

The ‘Best Drama’ award went to my other favorite movie of 2012: Argo.

I didn’t watch the Golden Globes — I was just too tired after watching the Atlanta Falcons come back to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the last 34 seconds of the NFL playoff game yesterday afternoon, but that’s another post. I love to know who wins the Globes (and the Oscars), but malheureusement, I don’t always hardly ever stay up to watch the award shows; pour moi, seeing the highlights (and the outfits) the next morning suffit.

I’d only seen 2 or 3 of the other films being considered (I just saw Les Mis last week), though I plan to watch most of the rest. Pourquoi? Parce que I LOVE movies, almost as much as I love books.

Les Mis has a special place in my heart and mind for many reasons. One reason, of course, is that the story is adapted from the French novel by Victor Hugo. Another reason is that it’s a musical, an opera really, and the songs are fantastique; I grew up in a household where musicals weren’t admired, so maybe that’s why my rebellious self loves them that much more.

But the third reason I love Les Mis is that one of my sons acted in the play in high school a few years ago, playing the role of the innkeeper Thénardier, and he was amazing, funny, and terrific.

The Playbill

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This son (who had played basketball, baseball, soccer, football and had run cross country) began acting and singing in high school plays at the age of fifteen. Two years later he joined a wonderful cast to sold-out crowds; the production, now a legend at his school, was marvelous, and standing ovations were standard. It was a high school play, like unlike any other.

I saw the film Argo not long ago, and found it intriguing and fascinating. Based on real events,* it takes place in 1979-1980, the time setting of my new novel MAKE THAT DEUX. I was captivated not just by the story or the actors, but their clothes and hairstyles, since Jenny and her friends in MAKE THAT DEUX were in college during that era.

So it was a bit like seeing the Golden Globe “casual” outfits of my novel.

Which brings me to books. I love them, more than movies, and the best movies are those that are adapted from books: novels, non-fiction, even children’s books.

My favorite children’s books are those written by Dr. Seuss, and I believe one of them was made into a very entertaining movie a few years ago (“A Person’s a Person, no matter how small.”)

While browsing in a shop today, I came across these 2 Dr. Seuss editions that I just had to purchase (guess why?)

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Hmm…if only I’d had these when my kids were little. Then, they would might have learned to speak français as well as English…

* A captivating and compelling book about the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979 is Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah. I highly recommend it.

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