Delphine Pontvieux – ETA-Estimated Time of Arrest

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrest is the first novel I have written and published in December 2009.

ETA is a fast-paced action thriller combining politics, romance, suspense and police drama. The story takes place in the French Pyrenees and the Basque country.

After participating in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January of 1992, 21-year-old Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa is wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station in his home town. Irun is a small city located in the heart of the Basque country, trapped between France and Spain, and struggling for independence. Lartaun finds himself on the Spanish Secret Service’s “most wanted” list, branded an active member of the Basque terrorist group ETA. He has no choice but to flee his country. Two years later, Lartaun’s childhood friend bursts back into his life. In exchange for a “small favor,” he offers him a passport and the chance to return to Europe under a new identity. Lartaun seizes the opportunity. Back in Europe, hiding away in a commune in the French Pyrenees Mountains, Lartaun meets Faustine, a young French environmentalist. As their relationship renews his belief in a future worth fighting for, Lartaun realizes, albeit too late, that the favor he owes his friend is not so “small” after all, as Patxi is secretly planning a brutal event that will shake Spanish politics.

Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Delphine Pontvieux. I was born in Versailles and grew up in France. I have lived, studied and/or worked in Australia, the USA, Spain and the Netherlands and traveled to many more countries before I moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1998 where I still live today. As far as my professional career goes, I’ve worked for 10 years in the music industry. Three years ago, I moved on to writing full time and created my book publishing company, called Miss Nyet Publishing, in the summer of 2009. I’m also a scuba diving instructor and I regularly write articles for various diving magazines.

As far as hobbies and interests go, I love any extreme/outdoors sports such as rock climbing, snow skiing, boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, long distance swimming, triathlons, skydiving and more. I’m also a cave and technical diver, and an ocean conservation advocate.

I love music and the arts. I’m curious about everything I have not had a chance to experience so far. You can also see me on the big screen next summer in the upcoming motion picture Laughing Out Loud, starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus.

What inspired you to write this book?

It is quite interesting because I have no roots or family originating from the Basque country at all, other than the fact that my mother lived for a couple of years in the French side of the Basque country when she was a child. Yet for some reason, I have always been fascinated by the language, the culture and the social and political history of the Basque people, not to mention that it is a beautiful place with its mountainous landscapes, green pastures and rugged coastline. When I was a teenager in the mid-eighties, the Basque struggle for independence was in full swing. The terrorist group ETA was very active and they often made the news on national television. Looking back today, I guess these times marked me more than I thought they did, because they inspired me to write this book.

How did you choose the title?

ETA is a “double” play on words. Not only it is a variation of the common abbreviation “Estimated Time of Arrival” (I used ‘Arrest’ instead of ‘Arrival’), but also because ETA is the name of the Basque terrorist group that’s been active for over 40 years in the Basque country and Spain. ETA means “Euskadi Ta Askatasuna,” which means “Basque country and freedom” in Euskara, the language of the Basque people.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I have worked for 10+ years for very successful, 100% independently owned record labels in the past. As a result, the independent model of doing business has always been very much engrained in me, especially when working for an industry largely dominated by ‘major’ companies. I always took it upon myself to get the work done. It can be risky at times but also very rewarding. Thus, when my novel was nearing completion, I never really thought about shopping my manuscript to agents and so forth. My editor, who used to work for a big publishing company in New York, advised me to try the ‘traditional route’ first, because she thought I had a good chance of finding an agent. So she presented my book to four of her prominent agent friends in LA, which is seldom heard of. I got a reply the very next day from one of them. She liked my writing, but thought the story was too political for her audience. I did not hear back from the other three. I told myself, ‘OK, so we tried that. Now it’s time to get to work.’

While I was putting the finishing touches on my novel, I created my company, Miss Nyet Publishing, LLC. I am lucky I can put the experience and expertise I acquired while working in the music industry to the book-publishing business. I am proactive about the goals I set out to achieve. I am currently working on getting deals with established publishers outside of the USA for my novel.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ve always loved to read and write, yet I never thought I’d ever write a book in my life. It just sort of happened to me. I started writing one day, and by the time I realized what I was doing I was five chapters in. It was too late to back pedal at that point. Regardless, I could not stop even if I tried. I was too fascinated by my characters and what was going to happen to them.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really other than I prefer writing late at night.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I make up the last names as I go, yet I give much thought to the characters’ first names. In my book many characters have Basque names. I made a point to link the meaning of a name and its etymology with a personality trait of the character it belongs to. For example, one of my characters is named Otsoa (wolf in Basque). He’s a strong, brawny man with bushy eyebrows, willing and able to kill, but who is also able to be compassionate and nurturing when the time comes. One of my main characters is called Faustine. It is the female version of Faust, which means ‘Fortunate’ in Latin, and yet the name brings forthcoming tragedy to mind (like in Goethe’s tragic play, ‘Faust’).

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Yes, I learnt that whoever said that writing the book was the easy part of the whole process was absolutely right, indeed.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Write a book for the right reasons. If it is fame and money you’re after, you may set yourself up for bitter disappointment. Still, writing a book is a very fulfilling, frustrating and exhilarating experience. I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels when someone says: “It’s your fault I can’t keep my eyes open today. I started reading your book last night and just could not put it down!”

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

It can be a man or a woman, gender does not matter. The perfect reader has a strong personality, a good heart and an open mind. It is also someone who loves adventure, who believes in love (bonus points if it has put him/her through the wringer before) and who supports causes that are worth fighting for, whatever they may be.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I invite you all to visit on a regular basis so you can read my blog and keep track of what is going on with the book and Miss Nyet Publishing at large. I hope you also want to friend “Missy Nyet” on facebook and “missnyet” on twitter (there are direct links on my website that’ll bring you there with the click of a button).
“ETA-Estimated Time of Arrest” is also available on Amazon.

Finally, if you are interested to know more about my budding acting career, you can check it online here

Thank you so much for your interest. Should you decide to pick up a copy of my book, please be sure to let me know your thoughts after reading it as I am truly interested in hearing your honest feedback.