Rabbit Holes. Love Them.

Courtney Lochner Author Interview

The French House follows a young college student who moves into a French emersion house while in college, where she discovers more mysteries than answers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The French House at the University of Wisconsin Madison is an actual residence home for French exchange students and those majoring in the language. I used to frequent their Wednesday night dinners when the home was open to the public. Over candlelight we’d discuss literature and French politics, the ambiance so dreamy I knew it was the beginning of a beautiful setting—and plot. Because the University of Wisconsin also has a history of mind control research with psychedelics, and because that’s an area of obsession for me (I’ve written about psychedelic therapy for years and am directing and producing a docu-series about them) I had the perfect brew for a novel! What I love about psychedelics is their ability to transform the way you see yourself and the paradigms in which we live; they provide a clarity which inspires questions you never would have thought to ask prior to said transformation. Rabbit holes. Love them.

Simone wants to find a place to belong but discovers some things not as they appear. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Simone grew up in a small town where she was chastised for being different as an immigrant with an accent. When she learns about The French House on campus, she believes she’s finally found the place where she belongs. I wanted to show how our hopes and beliefs cloud our ability to see objectively. When Simone begins to question her perceptions, she begins a rite of passage and as such sees the world anew. Eventually, she’s able to leave behind her old set of beliefs and judgments and question everything as an observer.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme I explore in The French House is around the power of suggestion. Our suggestibility varies throughout our lives and we’re certainly more prone to suggestion as we come of age. Simone, the protagonist, has an incredibly malleable mind because of her desire to fit in and find a niche, and because of the plant tinctures she’s taken since she was a child. By placing her in a setting designed to be a simulation it creates the perfect test to ask just how powerful suggestion can be? What’s real, what’s imagined, what’s a simulation, or are they all one in the same?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next novel is another suspense titled The Scent of Lost Girls and will be available in the summer.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Designed to offer a simulated experience of studying abroad, the French House at the University of Wisconsin instead repeatedly falls victim to tragedy. But for college freshman Simone Duchamps, an American of French descent, the residence provides her first niche. Finally, a place where she belongs. But the illusion slowly dispels as her hopes for bohemian values are sullied by social hierarchy and segregation. When one of the residents is found dead, Simone fears she’s going mad, just as her mother once had. Throughout police investigation she draws connections to everything—from her family’s plagued history to the rumors The French House was once used for mind control research via psychedelic drugs. With twists and ambiguities, The French House explores the concept of life imitating art through the power of suggestion, and ultimately asks: what is a simulation and what is reality?

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 17, 2022, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.


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