Tales from a Graphic Novel
Back in 1926, Agatha Christie staged her own disappearance, sending shockwaves through British society and creating one of her greatest mysteries. This dramatic episode is the starting point for Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie. This graphic novel is a vivid and inventive journey through the life and works of Agatha Christie with characters from the pages of her crime fiction leaping into real tales of her adventures from a childhood in Torquay to travels across Europe, America and the Middle East.
This September, Anne Martinetti, co-author of Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie and renowned editor at French crime publisher Éditions du Masque, will visit Torquay during the International Agatha Christie Festival to present a talk on this graphic novel. The Shorely spoke to Anne about this work, the process and the real women behind the novels:
Why did you set out to create this graphic novel?
I’ve been aware of Agatha's works for more than twenty-five years and she is my favourite crime writer. Guillaume Lebeau is a famous crime novelist and screenwriter. He just knows how to organise a story. We decided to work together and chose Alexandre to draw, because we liked his style.
How did you and Guillaume Lebeau work together?
I gave my ideas to Guillaume, highlighting the great moments of Agatha's life that we should see in this graphic novel, and then wrote a kind of story that he started to write in-detail. He had the great idea to imagine than Agatha talks with her characters! It took almost one year to create from the beginning to the publication.
What was the most difficult part of making this novel?
To organise the ideas and choose the most important facts; Agatha Christie's life has been so amazing!
Who is the real Agatha Christie?
I always thought that Agatha was not "just" the most important crime novelist in the world, but also that she was a very interesting woman, a free mind who never hesitated to go on. She travelled alone, get divorced, bought homes… Her entire life seems to be very hard (two world wars, one divorce) and yet very peaceful. I see her as a great personality, and at the same time a very modest person.
How did creating the graphic novel change your view of Agatha?
I've not changed my mind about her; I just know her much more. I like her much more too, if that’s possible! I've read some novels much more than once and I find subtleties every time.
What do you think Agatha would think of this graphic biography?
I hope she would have enjoyed this graphic novel. We wanted to give a tribute to her in admiration. The graphic novel permits us to talk to a younger audience, who think that Agatha Christie is an ancient writer. But she's not! Her novels are humorous, modern and amazing for young people to read.
What can we expect from your talk at the International Agatha Christie Festival?
I came two years ago to cook in the kitchen of Greenway - it's very interesting for me to meet enthusiasts who have read all the novels like me. I hope people find the graphic novel so interesting that they'll take the opportunity to revisit Christie's novels for many years to come.