Aurélie Valognes, in the premises of 20 Minutes, March 30, 2021. -

Olivier Juszczak / 20 Minutes

“The popess of popular literature” (Weekly book), “young star of the

feel good


 ” (France 3) or “favorite novelist of the French” (Elle).

Since the worldwide box office of her first novel

Mémé dans les netties

in 2015, Aurélie Valognes has had a series of successes with her stories for the general public mixing optimism and family stories to share.

This Wednesday, the young woman is publishing her seventh book

Le Tourbillon de la vie

(Fayard), a novel both luminous and nostalgic about the intense bond between Louis, a little 8-year-old boy and his grandfather Arthur, who, at 78 years old, hides a heavy secret from those close to him.

A moving story, born at the end of confinement, whose author summed up her inspiration this summer at 20 Minutes: "I will not start living tomorrow, I must live today".

On the eve of its publication, the novelist came to answer live and exclusively to the readers of

20 Minutes

on the occasion of an Instalive.


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How did you come up with this great idea?

(Roland, Aurélie Valognes fan and grandfather)

Aurélie Valognes:

I write my novels from year to year, I don't have any in the sleeping drawers that I would take out.

So this one was started during the first lockdown when it was a bit difficult to work when we have children at home who come scratching at the door and we have to do homework.

During this period, I really felt a lack of not being able to see my loved ones and hug them, especially my grandparents, whom I am lucky to still have with me, alive.

I told myself that it was crazy because these are the years which count even more for them than for us and unfortunately they are deprived of our visits, they are deeply bored I think.

I wondered what they are thinking, what do they spend their days with?

Do they think of us, of our memories together?

And I wanted to invent a story where we find the moments of complicity that perhaps grandparents can imagine in their heads by reliving moments spent with their grandchildren.

And I also wanted the grandchildren to be able to say to each other: we don't know how this Covid story will end and if my grandparents will necessarily go through this disease which is scary but in any case deep memories. that I shared with them I drew on it to write this story.

Did you draw inspiration from your loved ones to write this new story?

(Laure) Did your links with your grandparents inspire you (Valérie)?

It's true that I never try to really talk about myself in the first person or say what I can think of.

But that's still what I can observe.

So inevitably I steal tons of things from my two boys!

I note all the time, their little phrases, their pearls because it is full of life and we cannot really invent them, create them.

And this grandfather is for once a character that I completely invented, his secret too.

But he's an actor who put his professional life ahead of his role as a father and during confinement I really had this complicated feeling of sometimes having to close the door to my office because I needed to breathe on my own to create while I had my children behind… and I keep saying all the time that my children are growing up too fast!

This dilemma of knowing what to sacrifice in your personal or professional life is a question that tormented me and was very personal.

After a bestseller every year since 2016, are you apprehensive about the release of this new book?


When I write, I don't think too much about it.

I always write the story that makes me want, that I want to read.

That's how it started with

Granny in the nettles.

It was a time in my life when I wasn't doing very well, where I really needed a story that was full of life, optimism and cheering me up.

It's true that I always write the story that I need and that questions some of my personal issues.

Then I try to reassure myself on my own: so far the readers have followed me.

I say to myself: "Trust yourself, follow through with your idea and if you stay true to yourself and to your values ​​it should be fine".

But it's true that I try not to think about readers and what they expect at all because otherwise maybe I would only write comedies and I also need to go dig deeper into what I can feel, in my troubles, in my little moments of doubt.

Le Tourbillon de la vie, by Aurélie Valognes, published by Fayard (288 pages, 18.90 euros)


“Minute, butterfly!”, Aurélie Valognes: the shock of generations in a joie de vivre version


Reading: More than 80% of French people have read at least one book in 2020

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