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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Adding In 'Both Qualities and Flaws'

 “Write something and leave it aside so you've practically forgotten it as much as possible, a month or so, then come back and read it as if you're reading it for the first time.” – Christine Leunens


Born in Connecticut on this date in 1964, Leunens grew up reading and writing and (in her own words) "obsessively bookish."  Being a writer was almost always in the back of her mind.  But after moving to France as a teenager to study for a year in Montpellier, she was offered a modeling contract in Paris and changed her career path overnight.  


In 1990, she returned to writing, starting with plays, then screenplays, winning an award for Best Original Screenplay from the Centre National du Cinéma.  Her first novel, Primordial Soup, skyrocketed to the top of most bestseller lists, described by The Sunday Times as a "remarkable debut novel.”  And her next book made even bigger waves.  

 Caging Skies, about a member of the Hitler youth in Vienna who "discovers his parents are hiding a young Jewish woman behind a false wall in their home," became both an international bestseller and the basis for the Academy Award-winning (for Best Adapted Screenplay) film, Jojo Rabbit.


Leunens has earned multiple writing prizes while returning to college for both masters and doctorate degrees in writing.   Now living in New Zealand, she is nearing completion of a Franco-New Zealand historical novel, set in Auckland and Paris.


“For my characters to have depth, they have to be human and complex, have both qualities and flaws, do the right things at times, and at others, things they'll regret having done and not necessarily know how to undo.”



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