Where does Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian, the author of Tara Duncan, live?
To discover the kingdom of Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian, go to her apartment in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. Standing at 6:45 am, the novelist begins her working day at 8:15 am in her huge library, surrounded by 12,000 books until her lunch break around 15h. Interview on the occasion of the release of "Dan and Célia, the Twins of AutreMonde", the first volume of a brand new series.
An insatiable reader since she was a child, Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian has been making children's books for over fifteen years thanks to her saga of Tara Duncan. And to add a rope to her bow, she has launched since 2016 in a first short film, entitled The Saint, the Gendarme and the Thieves.
For this little girl of Russian emigrants - her grandmother arrived in France at the age of 5 - "to own" is not essential. It is her husband Philippe who insisted that they become owners: Sophie dreamed of a library-office and that each of her daughters had her room. Her dream was fulfilled and after two years of major work - repairing the floor, laying woodwork and Burgundy stone, paintings ... - she was able to move in before the end of the construction! Private visit by his secret little secret door. Is not princess who wants ...
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Your favorite room where you like to be and spend time?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: My blue desk-library. It is a large bright and warm room, shaped rotunda. I put away some of my 12,000 books. From my office, through the double window on the right, I have the view of a tree that allows me to follow the rhythm of the seasons: it's magic to observe nature. I am very lucky to have so much calm and at the same time greenery. For convenience, I had a very small bathroom, made of Pyrenean marble: an incredible marble because you can see traces of gold. And above all, I have my secret door, hidden in the wall, on the left side.
The library office
How did you manage to rank your 12,000 books?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: When we moved in, we put all the books in the center of the room: there was 400 kg. They had to be arranged in alphabetical order for one week. My daughter Diane was 19 years old and Marine was 15 years old. I remember they sat down shouting, "No to child slavery!" It was the brothel and they could not stand it anymore. Each one rediscovered a buried and forgotten book, stopped to read it and set it aside. We ended up tidying up everything! Since then, the accumulation has continued and it would be necessary today that I restore order. But, I am unable to give or leave: I am attached to my books, I read them often. The only one I threw was a book that pissed me off: Glamorama of Bret Easton Ellis! My library is very much alive. So, I need to have them on hand.
Your furniture: rather modern, ultra design, family, pitcher?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I love the work of craftsmen who lovingly carved, polished, gilded with leaves ... I am attached to the eighteenth furniture, which I consider the most beautiful style of all time. We have seats, tables, consoles from this era, mixed with coffee tables and contemporary sofas.
The most unusual or unexpected that can be discovered at home?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: My library and the guests are amused by the secret door that I made to fit between the gallery and the room.
An object or piece of furniture that you could not separate?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I love our interior but I am not attached to any particular object or place. My heart is where my husband and my children are. I travel light!
Your favorite color in your home?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I understand the concept of white to enlarge a space but I find it banal. For each piece, I chose a different color: Parma in the small and large living room, green in the dining room and blue for my library. Small anecdote about this: during part of the work, I was stashed in my room to isolate myself from the noise of the two jigsaws when my daughter calls me shouting: "It is normal that the living room is painted in pink pig? " I quickly recovered samples to show the painter the color I wanted because he was mistaken in mixtures. As for the stay, my architect had advised me at the beginning of the red: not convinced, I did first a test with yellow. In the end and against all odds, it was the green Adams who had my preference.
Your last purchase - useful or futile! - for the House ?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: We buy randomly our favorites, when we are at antique dealers and auction houses. Recently, we cracked for two very pretty Japanese pottery red and blue eighteenth. My husband is thoroughly on the dragons, in a nod to my novels. It started with a first purchase: a stone stele of the sixteenth century where we see St-Georges slaying a dragon, who sits on the mantelpiece. Meanwhile, he offered me dragon-shaped andirons, consoles ...
The kitchen, rather open or closed?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian : Ultra functional and ultra modern, the kitchen is in white lacquer and aluminum. The table is in black lacquer with a black luster.
A dish unexpectedly on the go for your friends? Your specialty?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I do not have any favorite recipes, I like to cook foie gras, truffles, I regularly prepare truffled fowl ... I can cook for three days when I receive friends. When I wrote The Dance of the Obese, there was a recipe for every murder!
And the TV, which room?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I'm moving towards direction: I finished my first short film in July 2016 that I'm starting to present in festivals as a writer-director. So, I have a huge TV screen of 1.80 high by 2 meters wide which is in front of our bed. When I'm doing my gym on a fast treadmill - 1 hour a day! -, I'm taking my computer and watching shows on Netflix.
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Do you live with music or rather in silence?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: To write, I need absolute silence. Because when I concentrate, I see the colors, I smell otherworldly and I must not be parasitized.
Rather candle or rather perfume of atmosphere?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: Not at all ! It could also interfere with what I feel, what I see or hear. The strong smells bother me: I have very developed senses. For example, I feel very good about hunting animals: I am more efficient than a hunting dog! Regularly, even when it's quiet, at night I have to put earplugs because I have a very strong acuity!
Curtains, doors, shutters? What does it inspire you?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: As I am very sensitive, the slightest light wakes me up. To obscure the light, we have curtains, draperies and shutters; I took two years to find the curtains ad hoc. I chose beautiful thick materials but no velvet - I think it's old fashioned.
What is on your bedside table?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: Books, electronic equipment - an Ipad, a reading light, chargers, the remote control to adjust my mattress -, a bottle of water, Kleenex, Cliptol against tendonitis, a soft toy offered my daughter, the reproduction of Galant with small wings in the back.
Your bedside book ?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: A book by Simon Evergren that I reread, a crazy story with a secret agent of the supernatural who makes me scream with laughter.
A deco trick or storage?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: A deco tip with the famous secret door of my office! A storage trick: in our bedroom, I had an entire wall of shelves made to classify all the DVDs, even if it is now obsolete.
Do you dream of one more room? If so, for what purpose?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I would dream to have a real movie theater! I love our house but it lacks a room to have all my audiovisual equipment, the equivalent of my library!
Rather orderly or messy?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I am organized and methodical in my work and decoration but, for clothes, I admit that I am very messy, I let everything hang around. I am fortunate to have someone who takes care of the stewardship.
Are you green plants, flowers, balcony, terrace, garden?
Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian: I rather have the green thumb: the plants feel good at home, but I do not have planters. In the dining room, there are green plants. By the way, my husband often gives me cut flowers and orchid friends. As I am often in the countryside on weekends, I am not cut off from nature, and then the asset of this apartment is to be surrounded by trees.
Your addresses or favorite brands for the home (shopping, decoration, florist, etc.)?
- The Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché;
- I always liked the big bookstores (FNAC, VIRGIN, etc.) but I must admit that I buy now on my Kindle or Ipad. It saves time and money when you read like me, two to three a week. I have about a thousand books on my tablet.
- For shopping clothes: Versace is a brand that I love for its elegant and flamboyant side.
The news of Sophie Audouin:
- In bookstores since October 6, 2016: Dan and Célia, the Twins of AutreMonde at XO: www.xoeditions.com
- To know all Sophie's appointments: visit the website www.taraduncan.com