Interviewed for Write City in Chicago by Randy Richardson
Delphine Pontvieux seems to have walked out of the pages of classic fiction. A striking figure – tall, athletic and blond – topped off with a French accent. She could be an Ian Fleming temptress. Or perhaps a Raymond Chandler femme fatale.
Even her life plays out like that of a modern-day Ernest Hemingway. In fact, she’s almost followed – in reverse – the famous novelist’s footsteps. While Hemingway was born here in Oak Park, Illinois, and took his well-chronicled travels to places like Cuba, Africa, Spain, France and Italy before returning back to the states, Pontvieux was born in France, in Versailles, and has since lived, studied and worked in Australia, the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands. She now calls Chicago home, after settling here in 1998.
She even seems carved out of the Hemingway larger-than-life mold. While Hemingway was known for running with the bulls, big game hunting and deep-sea fishing exploits, Pontvieux is a rock climber, scuba diver and actress (look for her in Miley Cyrus’s 2011 film, LOL, in which she plays Joan of Arc’s mother).
Now Pontvieux is, like Hemingway, also an author. In 2009, she published through her own press, Miss Nyet Publishing, her first novel, a political thriller titled ETA – Estimated Time of Arrest, winner of the Indie Excellence Book Award 2011 in the Thriller category.
ETA, like Hemingway’s classic The Sun Also Rises, takes place in Spain. Pontvieux’s debut even has an early scene in which her main character, Lartaun, runs with the bulls in Pamplona, the festival Hemingway made famous in The Sun Also Rises.
In ETA, Pontvieux tries to bring meaning to the polarizing Basque political struggles through Lartaun, who has been wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station in his home town. Living under an assumed name in Mexico, he is given a chance to return by his childhood friend, Patxi, but with a price.
In this interview, Pontvieux describes her motivations for writing ETA, as well as her experiences in writing and self-publishing her first novel.