“I discovered the right job, I can stay all lives! » | EUROtoday

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IHe sits at a desk below the veranda of Le Sélect (Paris 14e), we’re put in in one other. He is tall – very tall –, has blue eyes – very blue – beauty and a broad smile. In denims, sneakers, a skinny down jacket below a beige jacket, Romain Puértolas doesn't appear to be the regulars at this legendary Montparnasse brasserie. The one who now lives in Spain organized to satisfy us right here for comfort, his resort shouldn’t be far-off, and so is his writer.

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The creator of How I discovered Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès (Albin Michel), a novel which mixes true investigation and delirious fiction, returns to Paris for a considerably particular promotion: 13 years in the past, on April 21, 2011, the our bodies of Agnès Dupont de Ligonnès and her 4 youngsters.

READ ALSO Meeting with Fabrice Rose: “I lived in prison like a free guy, thanks to literature and my mind” The dialog begins fairly naturally with… the RER A. A line he used when he was a police captain on the Office for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Migrants (previously Occriest) and which marks the start of his literary journey . Indeed, it was on this practice that he wrote virtually completely the novel that exposed him: The extraordinary journey of the fakir who obtained caught in an Ikea wardrobe (The Dilettante). He then wrote down all of the concepts that got here into his head on his Samsung Galaxy and despatched them to himself by e-mail.

“I write like I breathe!” » he used to say. At the desk, in the bathroom, whereas taking part in soccer along with his youngsters, he writes down all the things and on a regular basis, whole sentences: “It flows like a faucet, like a shower! » he laughs, even if it means making people envious. In three weeks, his first novel was completed.

With language skills and a smile, you have everything you want in life

And he has had this overflowing imagination since childhood. “It helped me in writing, it was the only thing I was good at. » The young reader of Agatha Christie and Jules Verne, who dreams of being a police inspector, grows up between a father who is a colonel, but also an artist in his spare time, and a mother who is a chief adjutant who hates authority. “I wish we had life tickets,” stated his father properly, who would instill in him this insatiable curiosity and this incapacity to take a seat nonetheless. Dilettantism, instability? No, Romain Puértolas couldn't stand being bored. For him, change is “a necessity”.

The man who speaks six languages, who has a level in meteorology, who skilled to change into a bodyguard (he didn't follow) and an air visitors controller (“the only thing I failed”), successively been a rap DJ, slot machine cleaner, divulger of magic methods on YouTube, Spanish instructor, and cop. “With mastery of languages ​​and a smile, you have everything you want in life,” he repeats to the younger folks he meets in colleges throughout his talks.

Cop then profitable author

He modified jobs “every two years” and moved “thirty-nine times in thirty years”. He might have been a undercover agent as he likes altering identities, however he liked life an excessive amount of to cover behind a legend. Remained a author. “I found the perfect job, I can live all lives!” ” And it worked.

Romain Puértolas, who took care to print three copies of his unpublished novels himself for his family members, would by no means have imagined such success. “I always sent my manuscripts, I got 22 rejection letters! » Like Grégoire Delacourt (ex-advertiser who became a successful author with The list of my desires) or a Michel Bussi (former geography professor), the life of this cop who worked in particular behind the scenes at Frontex changed overnight. In 2013, his improbable story of a fakir quickly became a bestseller, now translated in 50 countries, sold 1.5 million copies worldwide, and adapted into a film.

The children see their dad reading all day by the pool…

“It was a tsunami in my life! » On a financial level, of course. He now lives in a large villa facing the sea, in Malaga, and can buy whatever he wants. But this son of soldiers has his feet on the ground, sneakers for 50 euros, he swears, and watches for 150 euros, “at the most”. His private life has not modified an excessive amount of, he’s nonetheless married to a Spanish pediatrician with whom he has two youngsters. On the opposite hand, he typically has issue instilling the worth of labor in his offspring. “The children see their dad reading all day by the pool…” They additionally see him writing in entrance of his laptop, typically twenty hours straight. “I write on Sundays, I write throughout the holidays. I don't like holidays, really. »

His ideal Sunday: In the morning, the Puértolas family has a little ritual: “With the children and my wife, we wash the house. » Then, the father writes – but he does that every day. He also indulges in another of his passions: music. “I have a studio at home where I compose: rap, pop, film music… I make large orchestrations, all alone, with my computers. »

With this unexpected success – but ultimately logical for someone who has always succeeded in everything he has undertaken – he enjoys the recognition of the public. His readers love his twists, literary magic tricks, which surprise, and its offbeat humor. But behind the long titles and crazy stories, there are often serious subjects: illegal immigrants (in The extraordinary journey of the fakir…), attacks (in Long live the emperor again!*), disappearances of adolescents (in Lovely**)… and the quintuple murder in Nantes (in How I found Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès).

For his tenth novel, the writing was more difficult. To make people laugh with a quintuple murder, you had to dare. “I’m like that, it’s my sarcastic side! But I never make humor about the victims. » France's most famous fugitive has obsessed him since 2011. While he was still a police officer, he began investigating in his free time. “A lot of cops looked into the matter,” he told us. Then he mixed fiction with his research to make it a literary UFO. Well, it’s actually a childhood friend of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, nicknamed “XDDL”, who is calling him. He apologizes before picking up.

The affair still haunts him, he talks about it with wide eyes and flailing arms. Because, if the title sells a reunion with the man who “supposedly” killed his entire family, in reality, this is not the case. There, it is the hunting instinct of the former cop that awakens. Since the book's publication in February, he has received numerous testimonies – not always credible -, he has also closed certain avenues, and created a cell with a former colleague. Anyone who has never believed in the theory of suicide is convinced that the alleged murderer is somewhere in Europe, “in a hot country”. In Spain or Italy?

Puértolas, the writer, is also considering launching a volume II. He has obviously already taken plenty of notes. And at the speed he writes, his book may be released before the film adaptation is shot. Screenwriter and producer Luc Bossi bought the rights.

READ ALSO Meeting with Yves Jobic: “When I was a cop, we had a hunter mentality, not a civil servant” With “Xavier”, there are points in common, he says, in all seriousness. Polyglot, seducer, smooth talker, capable of great adaptability… Suddenly much more serious, Puértolas puts himself, before us, in the shoes of Ligonnès. It is troubling. “I walk through the fields, I think about what I'm going to do, I'm in a state of depression, I'm afraid… The past comes back. » He imagines the fugitive, his suit cover containing a rifle slung over his shoulder, wandering in the south of France, after receiving a phone call from the PJ.

He does not believe the latest report in Doubs [en effet, il ne s’agissait pas de Dupont-de-Ligonnès comme nous l’avons appris après cette entrevue, NDLR] and does not want to dwell on the recent declarations of Ligonnès' sister and brother-in-law for whom the drama would be a “staged”. For him, it is impossible for this ladies' man to live secluded in a monastery or religious community for thirteen years. If he publishes a sequel, he would need a big scoop. “I need to find the gun!” » he says. We don't know if he's serious. In any case, he has already contacted detectorists, people who practice metal detection.

A world without religions, without football or politics

Does he regret no longer being part of the “Police house”? Absolutely not. He feels much more “powerful” when writing books. Of course, everything was not so easy, he experienced a little crossing of the desert after the publication of Fakir – “I was a little depressed, some books didn’t work” – but nothing serious compared to the violence and social misery his former colleagues face on a daily basis. “Me, in my books, I can change reality,” he assures. I make my world. » A world he dreams of without religion, without football, and without politics. “The three things that divide people the most,” according to him.

Romain Puértolas is an idealist. And since, in real life, he doesn't have a magic wand, he selfishly prefers to live in his “bubble”, reduce off from present occasions. He has by no means voted, doesn’t know the names of the ministers, he’s sorry for the spirit of the occasions, the everlasting judgment, the sterile feedback on social networks, the wokism, the cancel tradition… He who holds a primary version of Ten Little Negroes doesn’t perceive “this society which wants to water down everything”. He who was in an excellent temper, we managed to harass him. “Being human tires me…”

*The Dilettante

**Albin Michel

Every Sunday, Point has assembly with well-known and lesser-known personalities from the world of tradition, tv, cinema, gastronomy, sport, enterprise… They participate within the recreation of intimate interviews, telling us about their journey, typically strewn with pitfalls, give us some confidences and provides us their imaginative and prescient of society.