If you were part of the crew, waiting to meet your future partner, what would your approach to the speed dating be?
Well, I think I would adopt the same position as Léonor: enjoy the trip to space and try to stay authentic, escaping the show business madness.
I would probably use a “logical” rule as she did, inviting each contestant the exact same number of times to attend the speed-dating sessions with me.
But is it really possible, to be both part of the game and out of the game?
This is one of the questions raised in Phobos…
The Phobos series feels very epic. Would you be happy to see your work turned into a film or tv series?
Actually, I wrote Phobos a bit like script or a storyboard. Instead of “chapters”, I chose to organize the text around “sequences”, each of them corresponding to a different camera angle. Since Phobos is primarily a novel about images and screens, I thought it would be logical and impactful to have this kind of partitioning.
I really visualized this story in my head while writing it, and I would love to see it again on a real screen – re-imagined by a director!
If the series was turned into a TV show or film, do you have any cast in mind?
But I’m always interested to see the proposed casting posted by readers on social networks and blogs. I gathered a few of them here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/victor.dixen.books/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1046079018771786
There is one actress though who I could totally see playing the role of Serena, though: the great Tilda Swinton!
Were you ever tempted to make fundamental changes to the series before translation?
It always feels great when I learn that one of my books will be published in another language, because it means that the story will be shared with new readers.
For the English translation, a very talented translator has been appointed by my British publisher Bonnier: Daniel Hahn. He actually pointed out a few things we should change for the English edition, for the sake of cultural background or consistency. Apart from that, I didn’t feel the need to make significant changes.
If you could give your readers an insight into the third book with three words: what would they be?
NEVER . ADMIT . DEFEAT
What was your initial inspiration for the series?
There are two ideas at the origin of Phobos.
The first idea is linked to space conquest, a theme that has always interested me since I was a child. Today, we have the technology allowing us to go to Mars, but not to come back. The possibility of a one-way ticket stimulated my imagination.
The second idea is linked to the way our world seems to be fascinated by images. We are surrounded by screens, for better and for worse. On the one hand, screens give us the possibility to establish dialogues and relationships throughout the world, and they are also an unlimited territory for creativity. But on the other hand, it is difficult to escape from the flux of images: screens prompt us to react emotionally and instantly to every stimulus, without thinking first.
That is the reason why images are so important in Phobos :image of the self, image of the others, false appearances.
Which other French authors, other than yourself, would you recommend for young adults taking their GCSEs in order to develop their language skills?
Christelle Dabos has built a great fantasy world in her series “La Passe-Miroir”, that has just been translated to English this year under the title “The Mirror Visitor Quartet”. It’s great that this story is available in the 2 languages, for readers who want to develop their French while still keeping an eye on the English text. You will find here the same sense of wonder in the magical “His Dark Material” series, by Philip Pulman.