Interview with Nina George, author of The Little Paris Bookshop

27 Jul 2015

Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Little Paris Bookshop.

It is a novel about books, about death, living, senses, dreams, Provence, Paris, friendship, drugs, Tango dancing and about feeling lost, when someone is leaving you behind.

Well, the synopsis is: Parisian bookseller Jean Perdu knows exactly which book a customer should read to ease the suffering of the soul. In his floating bookstore, the “Literary Apothecary,” Perdu sells novels as medicine to cure life’s ills. The only suffering he cannot heal is his own, the broken heart that has plagued him for twenty-one years, ever since the lovely Manon from Provence departed while he slept. All she left behind was a letter—which Perdu could never bring himself to read. Until one summer—the summer that changes everything and prompts Monsieur Perdu to leave his home on narrow Rue Montagnard. He embarks on a journey of memories that takes him deep into the heart of Provence and back to the land of the living.

The book took me two and a half years to think up, but only thirty-one days to write. And then twenty more to go through the edited version.

In Fact, this book is my life-turner in any ways:

Three things happened at once just as I was about to begin researching my story in Provence. My father died. He was my best friend and a mirror of myself. I lost a disc in my neck; the pain in my nape, my back and my arm was so piercing that it nearly drove me nuts. And Jean Perdu the piano tuner vanished for a year – and reappeared as a bookseller.

When, after a year of pain and mourning, I finally dared look inside myself to see what was left of the writer I’d been and of myself, I found someone who wanted to write about something important to her, something important to me. And I feel that books are the most important thing in the world.

As my „Doctor Perdu“ says:

„There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies — I mean books — that were written for one person only… A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy.“

What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?

My own, every day new.

What’s on your writing desk?

A small globe that shows the „antique world“, an indian elephant made out of metal, a green candleholder, shaped like a flowerblossom, my french coffee mug (a „boule“), my MacBookAir. My writing desk is twi trestle legs and a two meter plank.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

Loving my husband. Or Writing.

If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Writers never have any vacations, but if, it would be maybe Sanary-sur-mer; a place of desire and dreams, and also a place where Monsieur Perdu is healing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Good writing comes from writing every day.

What’s your favorite line from The Little Paris Bookshop?

You’re right, Manon.

It is all still there. The times we spent together are immortal, imperishable, and life never stops.

The death of our loved ones is merely a threshold between an ending and a new beginning.

(page 296)

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

If you start NOW, everything is possible. So … do it today, because „maybe tomorrow or when i have time to do this and that to please my life“ never comes.

Photo: Maurice Kohl. © Nina George

Nina George is the author of the new book The Little Paris Bookshop.

Connect with Nina
Author Website

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