Interviews, Jocund Around the World

Encounter with… A Writer: Marie Bellando Mitjans

Today we’re going to France to meet with Marie, a French writer! She will answer some of my questions about the Book Industry!

Hi Marie, can you start by introducing your art?

Hello! I’m Marie Bellando Mitjans and I write stories.
I live in France and I write in French.

My last publication is a collection of short stories called “La plupart se taisaient” (Most people were silent). My texts focus on the world and society, particularly on questions of immigration, memory, identity, while hiding behind a dose of magic or mysticism.


How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as typically French, as I’m the fruit of many migrations, contradictions and struggles of my country, and Mediterranean, because…

It’s genetic, you know…

Tell us about your life…

After getting a diploma of graphic design & art direction, out of curiosity, I entered the Sorbonne to study Slavic civilizations and museology. I became fascinated by the Balkans, not so foreign, where I recognize myself so much.
Actually, I think I am in search of a universal humanism and a dialogue that would sound true for everyone, whatever their culture. This is why I am in (inter)cultural communication, fascinated by the great differences and challenges.






How and when did you decide to write?

Since I was a child, since I could speak, not even necessarily write, I have been telling stories. I liked to make the words resonate in my head and in the air. After I grew up, I became passionate about history, languages, arts.

I never decided to write. As far as I remember I just loved to tell stories! Back then at school I loved to write essays and creative writings, and I just kept going. But, while graduating from applied arts university, when my mentor told me “you’ll get your degree no matter what, because you’re a poet, and no one can take that away from you.” and I suddenly realized that, yes, I was a poet, or at least a writer.

I meet a lot of people who claim that they “don’t read”, do you personally think that people still read?

Yep! They do.
Mostly young-adults; they read fantasy or new-romance, and it’s quite difficult to get an audience when you don’t fit into those categories.

Did you research the book industry in your country before going for it?

I even worked in it!

So I knew pretty early that I would have to be self-published or find a new brave publisher to get a chance. I’m not what publishers look for in France: I’m not a famous person, I don’t wright for young adults, I don’t have a very sexy, atypical nor bankable biography… 

What is particular about the book industry in your country, in your opinion?

Well, the real trouble nowadays is the shyness of the majors publishers: they want to be sure to get their money back, so everything tends to be more and more standardized. On the other hand, many little publishers try to step into the game. But they meet several problems: lack of media visibility, lack of people to canvas the bookstores, etc. In France, aside from Paris and big cities, you can get financial helps to write a book. But there is sooooo much paperwork (because, you know, paperwork is a French national sport!) and exceptions, and rules, that many people get tired to even try.

What genre do you think is leading in the industry in your country?

Twilight-like and Fantasy novels on the internet and social network space. In bookstores and traditional media: political/polemic books, or novels which win literature prizes (and there are many many many prizes in France) and are mostly productions of huge publishers, which have good lobby.

What kind of audience do you target?

People who want to think about the world and society, who want to broaden their horizons and their curiosity, and also people who like psychological description and process.

Would you consider exporting your books to another country? Why?

Yes, definitely, that would be fun for me! Mostly my previous novel, Hamlet ou l’exil (self-published) because one of the character is Hamlet, who is worldly known.

A huge Thank You to Marie for being the first to answer my questions!

Find out more about Marie and her work on her blog or on Instagram here and there!

You can discover an extract from Hamlet ou l’exil below, the full novel is available in French on Amazon:

“C’est fini, je veux dire, pour toujours. Je n’y retournerai plus, car tout cela n’existe plus.

Pourtant, je me souviens. J’ai encore des souvenirs. Je me souviens d’une tour de radio qui dictait à tout un peuple quoi penser, dès l’aurore. Je suis lasse de ce monde de guerre. La guerre de Troie ne devait-elle pas être annulée ? À la place nous voilà dans un cercle sans fin de beauté et de destruction.

Je me souviens d’une rue, d’un épicier. Il n’avait jamais rien à vendre. Il n’avait plus rien à perdre non plus. Il y avait l’école aussi, qui nous promettait le meilleur pour demain. Mais demain c’est trop loin quand on mange de l’air, des racines et des pierres, le ventre déjà tout empli de terreur.

C’est pour ça qu’on est parti, Papa a dit que ce serait mieux là-bas, ici. Ensuite, il y a une gare vide. Un train jusqu’à un village près de la frontière. Et puis une voiture, et puis… Je ne sais plus. Un voyage qui a duré longtemps, ou peut-être pas. On n’a pas la même notion du temps quand on est enfant. Nous n’avons pas parlé. Ce n’est pas qu’on n’avait rien à se dire. C’est qu’on ne savait pas comment se parler. Il y avait des rêves d’une jeune fille qu’il ne voulait pas entendre. Il avait bien trop de peine pour vouloir encore espérer. Il voulait que tout finisse. Je me suis dit souvent qu’il ne restait en vie qu’à cause de moi.

Il me condamnait au silence.

Parler, pour lui, réveillait des fantômes. Il me donnait toujours l’impression d’avoir tous les morts de la terre sur la conscience.

Je voulais dire l’espérance. Une espérance qui semblait neuve, si neuve.

Je me souviens du mal que Papa avait à entrer dans une église. Il avait toujours l’impression d’avoir quelque chose à cacher, ou de trahir quelque chose. Je ne sais pas. Peut-être ne se sentait-il pas digne d’être à l’abri, parce qu’ici, entrer dans une église ne faisait de lui ni une victime ni un assassin.

Je voulais lui dire ces murs bigarrés, pleins d’affiches diverses, d’avis, de contradictions, de mots, de jurons, de poésies, de nouvelles cruelles et faussées, de mensonges, de vérités, tout ce mélange qui ressemblait à la Liberté.

Je voulais lui dire ces rues baignées de soleil, libres et sans entrave, ces rues sans nom, sans distinction. Ces rues où l’on pouvait habiter indifféremment, d’où que l’on vienne, quoi que l’on croie.

Je voulais lui dire cette vie qui grouille dans ces rues, ces gens qui y passent et sont heureux.”

Don’t hesitate to leave your reactions in the comments below!

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