Interview with Ellen Hampton

Why Paris?
Paris is a city with layers of fascination. You spend time at one level, think you've got that, and then realize that it was just the prelude to another level of knowledge and understanding. Or misunderstanding, as the case may be. At any rate Paris is never boring. It can be frustrating, infuriating, amazing and sublime, but not boring.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author tends to be the last book I loved, and I read a lot and love a lot of books! I don't have a pantheon. I love Gary Shteyngart for his humor and Gillian Flynn for her insight and Barbara Kingsolver for her characters. Then there are classic authors I love to re-read to match a mood, such as Zola, Austen, Flaubert. I like to match authors to a time and place, too. A daily train commute is great for Fred Vargas, but a long TGV ride is better with Hilary Mantel.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Teaching, preparing class lectures, solving problems for students, reading, watching films or TV series. I feel like I've been glued to my computer screen for the past couple of years, and that becomes an addiction. I'd like to get more nature time on my schedule!
Where do you get ideas for the plot?
For this book, life kept catching up to my plot, sometimes in horribly tragic ways, so it became a darker story instead of the satire that I had started out with. But a lot of the ridiculous things that happen are straight from real life and/or the news. Some of the characters suffer the small misfortunes of my own daily life. It's cathartic to put the suffering on the page, at least it's good for something!
What is your writing process?
Like many writers, I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I will generally clear the decks of any other possible work that needs to be done, which is also a way of clearing my mind, and then set a definite time period to work. If I had a vague "all day" or "this week" I would accomplish nothing at all! My garden would look better!
Published 2013-09-30.
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Books by This Author

Playground for Misunderstanding
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 63,180. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Playground for Misunderstanding takes a smart and funny walk along faultlines of communication that are male-female, young-old, French-American, with a plot wrapped around a police investigation in Paris, 2009. Is it murder, or is it not? An American exchange student and his French girlfriend trip into the investigation and its subset considerations of life in Paris today.