Monday, 17 January 2011

Dancing With Myself: KATIA LIEF interviews KATIA LIEF

Why are you looking at me?

You asked to interview me, so here I am. Haven’t you ever done this before?

Of course I have. So let’s begin. How tall are you?
5’ 1”

That’s a lie!

Okay. I’m actually 5’ ¾”

So you’re really short.

No. I’m petite.

Are you French?


You said petite, which is a French word. I’m not as stupid as I look, you know.

No, I’m not French. But I was born in France. We came back to the States when I was a baby and—

Right. I’d love to hear your life story but I have limited time, so let me ask you this: What is your best recipe? The best thing you know how to make that you created yourself.

You wouldn’t ask a man that question.


So why are you asking me for a recipe when you wouldn’t ask, say, John Le Carre or Jonathan Franzen for a recipe. And I don’t think you’d ask them about their height, either. Would you.

You didn’t ask that as a question, which indicates hostility.

I realize that.

Let’s move on. So what we’ve learned about you so far is that you’re a French dwarf who doesn’t cook—

Hold it now. I didn’t say any of that.

Relax, honey. I mean please, have a drink.

You are the most arrogant interviewer I have ever encountered!


You deserved it.

Now I understand: You’re a violent person and that’s why you write crime novels.

Wrong again.

So…if you weren’t a French dwarf who had to waste hours every day eating your meals in restaurants, maybe you could take the time to write a real novel instead of pumping out, what, seven thrillers in a row?

Plus two so-called literary novels at the beginning of my career.

Meaning no one read them and you had to keep your day job. You’re glaring at me, which means I’m right.

Next question.

You’ve just started a new crime series, with two books published in the U.S. just one month apart: You Are Next and Next Time You See Me. But until then, you hadn’t published a novel for three years. What did you do for those three years? And how did you write Next Time You See Me so quickly?

I don’t even know how to begin to explain this to you, but I’ll try. I take nine or ten months on a book. It was the publisher’s decision to publish them so close together. I didn’t stop writing after my last Kate Pepper book came out, I just—

Sorry, who?

Kate Pepper. It was my pseudonym up until now.

So you had a pen name. Why?

Seemed like a good idea at the time. I’ll still be Kate Pepper in Germany, because—

Let’s move on. I understand your series is also coming out in the U.K.
Yes, but under slightly different titles. NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME will be called HIDE & SEEK for the U.K. version.

So you publish under different names, and different titles. What exactly are you trying to hide?

Actually I’d rather not be implicated. So, what do your children think of your books?

They’ve never read them. They’re more interested in whether I’ve brought home cookies from the store.
And your husband?

He likes them.

Well, he’d better say that if he wants any chance of a half-decent meal. He’s living with an angry French dwarf who loathes the kitchen.

Where are you going? We haven’t quite finished!

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