From the writing desk, of Ian Moore
Welcome to the French Village Diaries interview feature, From the Writing Desk, where to coincide with the release of Death and Croissants (A Follet Valley Mystery), I am delighted to be (virtually) joining author Ian Moore at his writing desk in France.
A bit about Ian
Ian Moore is a stand-up comedian in the UK and a husband, father of three boys, farmhand and chutney-maker in France. He is a mod in both walks of life and most of his time is spent travelling grumpily between the two. He now also runs a B&B in the Loire Valley, from where he has written two memoirs, before turning his pen to fiction.
Your writing space
Ian, how important is your desk space to your writing? Is it tidy and well-organised or creatively cluttered?
Ian: It’s a vital space which starts off very tidy and then through the process of writing gets ever more cluttered with post-it notes, unwashed mugs, empty packets of crisps and wine stains!
Does your desk have a view? If so, does this inspire you or distract you?
Ian: The view is amazing. I can see for miles over the Loire Valley, but the immediate view is of bickering goats, fusspot hens and the horse. It’s calming and stressful at the same time! I work in the morning usually, but the evening view when I’m planning the next day’s writing is so special in the summer. It faces west and if the weather is calm there’s a sunset and quite often hot-air balloons.
Do you prefer to work to a deadline, and if so, do you set yourself daily or weekly targets?
Ian: I absolutely need a deadline because it means discipline, and I don’t think I could write without that. Like I say, I work in the morning, and I set myself a minimum of 1000 – sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes it takes four!
Writing during Covid-19
As a stand-up comedian as well as a writer, the pandemic must have changed so many aspects of your life. Did the sudden lack of traveling give you more focus for your writing or did life in lockdown affect your motivation to write?
Ian: It was actually the change I needed! Health means I can’t travel as much as I used to, and when I say health I mean physical and mental. Travelling is hard! It wasn’t just about motivation though, it was about opportunity. That and hiding in my office to give my wife and children a break.
Is there anything you have learned from the past twelve months that you will use in your future writing?
Ian: I think the main thing, and I love this, is that rural France can cope with anything. It already has, and will do so again.
Your latest release
Your latest novel, Death and Croissants (A Follet Valley Mystery) was released on 1st July, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?
Ian: Well, the main character is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B&B in the Loire Valley. Obviously that was a stroke of inspirational genius and not based on anyone I know! I find running a B&B a bit mundane after 25 years of stand up comedy, so I would invent backstories about the guests… then it hit me! A B&B is the perfect centre for a changing set of characters, the Loire Valley is the perfect setting for a comedy romp. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!
I thought the characters in Death and Croissants were great fun, were any of them based on people you’ve met since moving to the Loire Valley?
Ian: Not specifically, but there are composites of French character and English expat character in many of them. I adore French rural attitude to life, and I really wanted to capture that affectionately.
How would you normally celebrate the release of a new book, and will it be different this year?
Ian: Well, I’ve been in the UK for two weeks. I had a launch at The Comedy Store surrounded (safely) by friends, I’ve done over 20 signings in bookshops all over the country and I am – in truth – living my dream. Walking into Foyles on Charing Cross Road or Waterstones in Piccadilly and seeing your book on a stand, with glowing staff reviews is beyond my expectations. At some point, someone will pinch me and I’ll wake up!
Life outside of writing
What do you look forward to, when you’ve saved the document and switched off the computer, as your treat at the end of the writing day?
Ian: It depends how it’s gone. Sometimes you can be looking forward to the next session of writing, sometimes a pichet of rosé on the terrasse! Either way, clearing the head is important!
If I was headed to the Loire Valley for a short break, what do you recommend I include in my itinerary?
Ian: The Chateau de Valençay. A superb architectural delight, wonderful gardens, a great restaurant, an animal park and… (deep breath)… links to the a bankrupt Scotsman swindler and the Panama canal, Napoleon, The Congress of Vienna and a hiding place for Louvre Museum treasures in WW2. Also, the birthplace of profiteroles!
Thank you for taking the time out of your writing day to let me join you at your writing desk.
You can read my review of Death and Croissants here.
Ian also runs La Pause: Val de Loire chambre d’hôtes, a B&B in the Loire Valley. You can visit the website here.
You can read my reviews of Ian’s hilarious memoirs about life in France here:
You might also enjoy reading my France et Moi interview with Ian here.