Timothée De Fombelle - Author Picture

Timothée De Fombelle - Author

Timothée de Fombelle is a much-admired French playwright. Initially working as a teacher/lecturer, he soon turned to writing and in 2006 produced his first novel, Toby Alone, known in his native France as Tobie Lolness. Highly acclaimed, it has been translated into 22 different languages and has won numerous prizes. Toby’s extraordinary story continues in Elisha’s Eyes, out in 2009.

1. You seem to have had a wonderfully idyllic, rural, independent and yet quite unusual childhood in France. How much of Toby and of Toby’s surroundings is inspired by your memories of childhood or did your inspiration for Toby’s miniature world come from somewhere entirely different?

2. The miniature world about which you write is so beautifully described in great detail and yet with such clarity. How did you immerse your mind into this miniature world? Did you find it difficult to start with at least to draw up analogies in miniature such as the beautiful vast lake in which Toby meets Elisha that to us would have been a droplet of water the size of a pinhead or indeed the monster that was in fact a frog who gulped up the porter.

3. Toby is a wonderfully likeable character even when he seems constantly to be in danger and whilst his emotions seesaw between bravery and fear at every turn. Was his character easy or difficult to write and why?

4. Toby has a number of near-death experiences as he evades capture, each of them a wonderful feat of the imagination. Were they difficult to put into words?

5. Was the idea of having an ecological message within the story your starting point for the novel or did it become woven into the story later?

6. Which authors do you think your readers will also enjoy?

7. This is your debut novel and is the first of a two volume saga. Had you always planned to make it more than one book or did it just grow as you wrote it?

I knew very early on that the book would have a sequel. The story needs space to develop. When I was writing I knew exactly where I was going. I built the story in two parts from the beginning – the escape and the re-conquest. When I started to write the second book I was happy to meet the characters again, to be back to a familiar world. I hope that my readers will experience the same emotions.
More about Timothée de Fombelle
As an adult
After becoming a literature teacher, Timothée taught in Paris and Vietnam before choosing the bohemian life of the theatre. Author of a dozen plays, he writes, designs, builds sets and directs the actress he admires the most, his wife Laetitia. They have a young daughter, Jeanne Elisha, who already loves climbing trees. Toby Alone is his first novel and has already been translated into 22 languages.

As an artist

10 Things You Din't Know About Timothée De Fombelle
1. He plays tennis very badly.
2. He's a keen carpenter.
3. He has spent all of his holidays in a chateau in the middle of a forest.
4. He's a great cook.
5. His wife is an amateur boxer.
6. He loves walking for hours.
7. His favourite sound is the crunch of snow beneath one's feet.
8. His favourite authors are Flaubert and Dumas.
9. He dreams of one day travelling in a hot air balloon.
10. He loves writing underneath the trees.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Timothée De Fombelle

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Author Info

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