Marc Lévy, the French literary sensation

With the combined worldwide sales of his nine novels -translated in 41 languages- exceeding the 19 millions copy mark, Marc Lévy (48) is the most read French author in the world. At 18, he joined the French Red Cross in Paris while studying Economy, before setting up two businesses, first in the States then in Paris. In 1999, he left his office architecture company to dedicate himself to writing and moved to London (where he lived until last year), after selling the rights of his first novella, If Only it Were True, to Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks, which adapted it to the screen in a film starring Reese Witherspoon. His new novel, The First Night, will be published in France on 2 December.

The character trait that defines me the most I wouldn’t have the slightest idea…

The trait I most deplore in myself An excessive fondness of food.

My main quality That is something you should ask to my friends and my wife.

If I could change something in the way I look I would change the way I look.

The quality I appreciate most in others A sense of humour and generosity.

The fault that I am most likely to forgive Fear.

My favourite hobbies Watching movies and flying.

My idea of happiness Being surrounded by the people I love.

What would be the worst that could happen to me (apart from losing loved ones) Not being able to see my loved ones.

My dream job when I was a child Fireman, chef, cosmonaut, doctor.

If I was an animal, I would be A bear. I once scratched my itchy back by rubbing it against a door in front of my friends, who then started calling me Baloo and this name has stuck ever since. I rather like it though…

My favourite books I find this question really hard to answer because I can’t really limit myself to just a few. That said, I always quote Clair de Femme, by Romain Gary… I also have a great passion for all the books written by Yves Simon, Christian Bobin and Ernest Hemingway. More recently, I was very moved by The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

My favourite actor I love the great classical French actors, like Raimu, Louis Jouvet, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Lino Ventura, Michel Serraut. In the newer generation, I think Vincent Lindon is enormously talented. And Catherine Deneuve is a wonderful actress…

My favourite films There are some classics I absolutely adore, like Bread and Chocolate by Franco Brusati, as well as all the movies directed by Claude Sautet and Pierre Lellouche. I also love Frank Capra and most of Steven Spielberg’s films, and have a passion for Mexican cinema: for me, Y Tu Mama Tambien is a masterpiece…

What I love most in the world My family.

My favourite heroes in fiction The list is never ending, from Largo Winch to the characters in The Ice People by René Barjavel.

People I most admire in real life My parents and all the people who devote their life to helping others: researchers, nurses, teachers, firemen, policemen. There are actually many admirable people around, if only we take the time to listen.

My most treasured possession An object that belonged to my grandmother but I can’t say anything more…

My favourite place It changes all the time. It could be my home one day or the terrace of a café on a sunny day the day after… I am too much of a nomad to have one favourite place.

What I hate most Intolerance

What makes me really angry Self importance.

My biggest success so far To have been able to seduce my wife and to have contributed to the education of the fine young man that my son has become.

My definition of love Absolutely none.

My definition of beauty Someone or something that can provoke an emotion.

How I would like to die As old as possible, in my sleep.

How I would like to be remembered As a good father by my kid, as a good lover by my wife and as a good buddy by my friends.

My current state of mind Current.

My motto I don’t have any, or that would be the start of being calcified.