The Truth About Writing Partnerships

Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne are the bestselling French authors of the Antoine Marcas mysteries (over 2 million copies sold worldwide). These high-action thrillers combine meticulous historical research with unusual plots and a compellingly complex hero. We asked the writing duo what it's really like.

It’s a curious experience, one that requires organization… and diplomacy. We take about nine months to write a novel: one month for the outline, two months of research, and the six remaining months writing.
When we come up with the outline, we see each other nearly every day. We set up the plot, balancing narration and characters, weaving in suspense, planning the cliffhangers. It’s meticulous work and often raises more questions than answers. At the same time, it’s a fascinating phase, as we watch a structure rise out of nothingness. It is both fragile and seductive, and in it, the novel will take root and blossom. It is also technical work, and we use a lot tools, from Excel sheets to mind maps, to help us better visualize the novel’s structure and see, for example, where it could be unbalanced. For example, a major character who doesn’t appear often enough in the narration quickly becomes problematic, and we can fix the problem right away. It's like being a goldsmith.

>>> Read about ritual murders, ancient enemies and a powerful secret <<<

On the other hand, when we go into the research phase, the work is very solitary, because we have already defined who does what. It’s very exciting work, a mix of web research, hours spent in libraries, and travel, often abroad, to soak up an atmosphere or prepare descriptions. 
Then comes the longer, harder work of writing. Shadow Ritual, as the first in the series, is a bit different than the others, which, like The Lafayette Sword, are built around two plot lines—one is contemporary with our protagonist, Inspector Antoine Marcas, while the other is historical, and can take place in the Middle Ages or during the French Revolution. We each are responsible for one of the plot lines, but the two have to be written at the same time in order to include foreshadowing and other effects that work like a system of echos, allowing our readers to go from one period of time to another smoothly.

>>> Uncover some unsettling truths about gold <<<

So, at the same time, we each write two chapters, which we then exchange by email. This way, we can follow in real time the progression of the narrative, suggest changes and smooth out effects. This work also includes a key work of rewriting. Each of us has our own style. Eric, with his background as a reporter, likes short, nervous sentences, while I’m more of an academic, and prefer long, dense sentences. We don’t want our readers to feel like they are changing pace or tone, so we rewrite each other’s text. This requires a delicate touch, as writers are always very sensitive about their writing.

Bastille Day Special — Authentic, Exciting Books Set in France

How are you celebrating the storming of the Bastille? I’d say the French national holiday calls for something French. So, if you can’t actually go to France for the parade on the Champs-Elysée or attend the dances and festivities traditionally held at fire stations across the country, you can pick up a book from Le French Book and be transported to France.

Here is our reading list for Bastille Day, with some deep discounts on these books set in France (mostly, at least), by French authors, translated for you. 

PARIS ART

  • The Collector by Anne-Laure Thièblemont (http://amzn.to/29xyd2A), a captivating dive into the little-known world of Paris art specialists and counterfeiters. After a father she never knew died, Marion Spicer finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams and attacks—a world where people will kill for a love of beauty. 

PARIS SUSPENSE

  • The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier (http://amzn.to/2a4Is0e), psychological suspense in the French capital. An ambitious rookie lawyer in Paris catches a case that sparks a determined search for the truth in her own life.

DARKNESS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

Paris, the French capital, the City of Light, and the perfect setting for crime, and an actual character in Frédérique Molay’s award-winning Paris Homicide series.

  • The 7th Woman (http://amzn.to/29sRoj5) launches the series and gives the city a whole new dimension, with “ratcheting tension” and suspense. Terror stalks Paris. Will the team of elite crime fighters prevail?

FRENCH SPIES NOT FRENCH FRIES

  • The Rare Earth Exchange by Bernard Besson (http://amzn.to/29xKDaU), a chilling financial espionage novel and an unsettling look at a post-Panama Papers world. A team of freelance operatives gets caught up in a web of corruption and cyberterrorism in a struggle to control rare minerals key to today’s technology. “As subtle as a chess game, and as explosive as today's headlines.”

FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE AND GOURMET ATTITUDE

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen’s Winemaker Detective series (http://amzn.to/29xAkUh) is a celebration of France combining enticing mysteries, mouthwatering accounts of food and wine along with authentic descriptions of French countryside. A vacation with quirky characters and winetasting, British-like mysteries with a French flair.

  • The Winemaker Detective: An Omnibus (http://amzn.to/29xAYkr) is a fine introduction to this series, with three titles in one. 
  • Late Harvest Havoc (http://amzn.to/29AJKBu). Disaster strikes the vineyards in Alsace. Vintners are tense and old grudges surface. The Winemaker Detective's reputation is on the line as he must find the cause before the late harvest starts.
  • Tainted Tokay (http://amzn.to/29Ktgtc). The Winemaker Detective encounters deceit and deception in Old World Europe. 

EUROPEAN ACTION AND ADVENTURE

The Consortium thriller series (http://amzn.to/29DR9Be) by David Khara offers a roller-coaster ride that dips into the history of World War II, then races through a modern-day loop-to-loop of action and humor. What impact could the folly of World War II—death camps, medical manipulation and chemical warfare—still have today?

  • The Bleiberg Project
  • The Shiro Project
  • The Morgenstern Project

 

  • Shadow Ritual (http://amzn.to/29xAvPx) by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne. The series has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Douglas Preston calls it “Phenomenal.” Shadow Ritual has ritual murders, ancient enemies and a powerful secret, making an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. 

AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FRENCH FLAVOR

  • White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume (http://amzn.to/29xAIC0). In addition to a starred Publishers Weekly review, Craig Johnson (of Longmire fame) called this “the real deal.” White Leopard is African noir with a renegade PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful. The reader travels down the roads of Mali in the protagonist’s desperate search for truth.

Eric Giacometti and David Khara at Thrillerfest 2015: the TV interviews

 Éric Giacometti and David Khara at Thrillerfest 2015

Éric Giacometti and David Khara at Thrillerfest 2015

From July 5th to 9th, Anne Trager attended the 2015 edition of Thrillerfest in New York. But she didn't go alone: Eric Giacometti, author of Shadow Ritual, and David Khara, author of The Consortium Thrillers series, were part of the trip too. They both talked to Jessica Mazo of Martini Productions. Here are the full interviews. No better than the authors themselves to give insights about their work and inspiration. Will you find the one with the loveliest French accent?


Eric Giacometti


David Khara

Le French Book Writers at Thrillerfest

Two top thriller writers from France—Eric Giacometti and David Khara—will be attending International Thriller Writers' Thrillerfest from July 9-11 in New York City. On a panel about thrillers on the international market, they will be joining top thriller writers from around the world for this event.

Eric Giacometti's Shadow Ritual, which he wrote with Jacques Ravenne, came out recently in English. It's an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism.

David Khara's titles available in English are The Bleiberg ProjectThe Shiro Project and The Morgenstern Project. These Consortium thrillers offer a roller-coaster ride that dips into the history of World War II, then races through a modern-day loop-to-loop of action and humor. What impact could the folly of World War II—death camps, medical manipulation and chemical warfare—still have today?

Thrillerfest is organized by International Thriller Writers, which has over 3,000 members in 28 countries with nearly 3 billion books in print.

Publisher Anne Trager from Le French Book will be joining Giacometti and Khara for the round table.

We'd love to see you there.

June Book Giveaways

This month, we are happy to give away a sneak preview to two of our late summer titles. Don't miss your opportunity to win advance review copies of Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen's Flambé in Armagnac, and Anne-Laure Thiéblemont's The Collector. We also couldn't resist giving away a few more copies of Shadow Ritual since it's a great summer read.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flambé in Armagnac by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Flambé in Armagnac

by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Collector by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

The Collector

by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

Giveaway ends July 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti

Shadow Ritual

by Eric Giacometti

Giveaway ends July 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

May Book Giveaways

This month, you can enter to win Mayhem in Margaux at France Book Tours, and you can also participate in the following Goodreads book giveaways—we've got four of them going. There's something for everyone: a Freemason thriller with esoteric secrets and international intrigue, a historic conspiracy roller-coaster ride of a novel, and two gourmet sleuth Winemaker Detective novels, including an advance review copy of the next one in the series.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti

Shadow Ritual

by Eric Giacometti

Giveaway ends May 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Morgenstern Project by David S. Khara

The Morgenstern Project

by David S. Khara

Giveaway ends May 22, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Mayhem in Margaux

by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Giveaway ends May 16, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flambé in Armagnac by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Flambé in Armagnac

by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Giveaway ends May 25, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win



Giacometti Tackles the Proust Questionnaire on Book Trib

BookTrib, a "lifestyle destination" for book lovers, just ran a fun post by Shadow Ritual author Eric Giacometti, in which he tackles the Proust Questionnaire. Here the introduction:

Eric Giacometti studied biochemistry and genetics in Toulouse, France, before going into journalism. Then, at the height of his career as an investigative reporter, Giacometti was contaminated by the thriller virus. His life took on another dimension: journalist by day, novelist by night. In 2013, he left his full-time reporting job with a French daily newspaper to follow his passion. His newest U.S. release is Shadow Ritual (Le French Book, 2015), which he co-wrote with Jacques Ravenne. Here, Eric reflects on Spain, French footballers, and champagne. 

Click here to read the post.

April mystery and thriller #giveaways

This month, we're running three Goodreads giveaways. Check them out, enter to win, tell the world, post a review... :-)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Morgenstern Project by David S. Khara

The Morgenstern Project

by David S. Khara

Giveaway ends April 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti

Shadow Ritual

by Eric Giacometti

Giveaway ends April 20, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Mayhem in Margaux

by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Giveaway ends April 25, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win