Authors, Interviews

Slyvain Reynard Interview

The Ever-Gracious Sylvain Reynard Chats with Book Asylum…

“I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption.”

– www.sylvainreynard.com

BA: To begin at the beginning, how did you arrive at the idea of using the story of Dante and Beatrice to form a contemporary tale of redemption and love with your Gabriel Series?

SR:

BA: Dante’s Divine Paradise is such a pivotal work in both literature and theology and has long been studied by both disciplines.  The character of Gabriel of the Gabriel Series is a Dante specialist within the Italian studies/literature disciplines, and his redemption is colored by his work.  How would Gabriel’s overall journey and specifically redemption have changed if Gabriel had instead been a professor of theology and approached his journey from a religious perspective?  Does Julia’s Catholicism represent the religious side of Dante?

SR:

BA: In making Gabriel such a flawed individual, one runs the risk of alienating readers and taking away any empathy for the character.  What is it about Gabriel that makes him forgivable, both by Julia and by readers as well?
SR:

BA: Many of your fans came to the Gabriel Series with little background knowledge of Dante.  How did you strike a balance between informing novice readers and using literature and history in a way that also speaks to an academic audience?  Did any Dante specialists, art historians, or theologians reach out to you regarding your books?  What, if any, has been the academic response?

SR:

BA: What is the greatest advantage in writing series?  You have said that the Gabriel Series was written all at once and split into three books for publishing purposes.  Have you had to plan out the entire Florentine Series as well before beginning the first book?  Would you ever consider writing standalones?

SR:

BA: What led you to continue the story of Gabriel and Julia into your Florentine Series, and is there a possibility of returning to their story to follow up with the birth of their daughter, Clare?
SR:

BA: There was a big shift between your Gabriel Series and the Florentine books which delve into the underworld of vampires.  Besides greater flexibility with plot lines, what inspired you to explore paranormal themes?  How did the world of Dante and the city of Florence add depth to these stories?
SR:

BA: You were fortunate enough to live in Florence while researching and writing portions of your books.  What is your favorite place in Florence, and how did being in the city inspire your writing?
SR:

BA: Your books are filled with passages in Italian, both literary quotes and dialogue.  Do you speak Italian yourself, and are there any other languages you speak or would like to learn?
SR:

BA: As your Gabriel Series focused on a love story between Dante and Beatrice, your Florentine Series is somewhat a re-telling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche.  For the readers who aren’t familiar with this story, what is the myth of Cupid and Psyche and what about their story made you want to bring it to life?
SR:

BA: In a response you penned to a reader question on Goodreads, you stated “love transcends genre.”  Do you see your books as fitting into the romance genre, or are they above all love stories that just happen to be classified as romance?
SR:

BA: You have graciously opened up to reader questions electronically, but still maintain a level of anonymity difficult to achieve these days.  How does social media and technology in general help you to stay connected to your readers but still be extremely private?
SR:

BA: You’ve written a short story with your friend, fellow author E.L. James.  Did that collaboration inspire you to work with other authors on dual projects, or perhaps to write with E.L. James again?
SR:

BA: Knowing Ms. James, does the madness surrounding “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its representation in film make you more or less reticent to allowing your books to be adapted for the screen?  Do you think the themes of Dante and Florence in the Gabriel Series and vampires and art history in the Florentine Series would translate to a screenplay?
SR:

BA: Readers may not know that you use your platform as a popular novelist to bring attention and support to several charities that are dear to you.  How did you initially conceive the idea to tie charities into your work as an author and what has been the response from both the charities you support and your fans?

SR:

BA: Can you give us a teaser from your latest Florentine Series novel, “The Shadow,” which comes out in February of 2016?
SR:

BA: What has been the most surprising aspect of your newfound success as an author?

SR:

Thank you Sylvain Reynard for opening up your world to us!

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