Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finding Irène Laureux

Collin Kelley
Without German director Wim Wenders' classic film, Until the End of the World, the character of Irène Laureux in my novels Conquering Venus and Remain in Light would not exist. When I came home from my first trip to London and Paris back in the summer of 1995, I saw UTEOTW and the legendary Jeanne Moreau's performance inspired the creation of Irène, a Parisian widow searching for the man who killed her husband in the chaotic May ’68 riots.
In the movie, Moreau plays a blind woman whose scientist husband has invented a video camera that captures images and feeds them into the visual cortex of the brain allowing her to see once again. William Hurt and Solveig Dommartin race around the world to collect images while a rogue nuclear satellite is falling out of the atmosphere and threatening to contaminate the planet. It's a complex, audacious thriller and Moreau is the heart of the story.

When I checked into the Bel Air Hotel on Rue Rampon in June of 1995, my room was across the street from an apartment building. On the third floor, there was a long balcony full of flowers and the French doors were always open revealing a desk and shelves lined with books, but I never saw who lived there. So, I created Irène to fill in that blank and UTEOTW and Jeanne Moreau were the catalyst.

UTEOTW also lead me to Moreau’s other incredible films, including Francois Truffaut’s Elevator to the Gallows and The Bride Wore Black and Louis Malle’s The Lovers. Many writers take their inspiration for characters from other books, but I’ve found that my best characters begin on the screen. Merci, Madame Moreau, for helping me find Irène.
Collin Kelley is the author of the novels Conquering Venus and Remain In Light, which was a 2012 finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. His poetry collections include Better To Travel, Slow To Burn and After the Poison and the forthcoming Render. Kelley is also the author of the eBook short story collection, Kiss Shot. A recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award, Deep South Festival of Writers Award and Goodreads Poetry Award, Kelley’s poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world. He lives in Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit, find him on Facebook at CollinKelleyWriter or follow him on Twitter @collinkelley.

Conquering Venus and Remain In Light are available in ebook and trade paperback formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Smashwords and through your favourite local bookstore.

Collin will giveaway an eBook edition of each of his novels, Conquering Venus and Remain In Light, via Smashwords to a lucky winner. The eBooks will be available for download in multi-formats including versions for the Kindle, Nook and other devices. Make sure to leave a comment and Collin will randomly draw a winner, which will be announced at his Modern Confessional blog ( on Dec. 11.



  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Patricia!

  2. Collin, you have such a wonderful way with words. I'm looking forward to reading your books and know I'll be delighted.

  3. Interesting story about how Irene came about, Collin. We never know where inspiration will come from, so we have to remain open to it at all times.

  4. Intriguing plot and one I've got to read!

  5. I was right there with you in Paris, Collin. Looking across the balcony at that desk and empty apartment. Thanks for sharing when, where and how you created Irene!

  6. This is a wonderful example of how your writer's mind created a memorable character.

  7. So interesting and wonderful to know! What a great story to go with the creation of a character.

    Thank you for sharing!

  8. Neat knowing the genesis of Irene! Enjoyable post, Collin. Love hearing about Paris.


  9. Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. I've actually been back in Irene land today as I work on the third book in the trilogy.

  10. I loved hearing how a moving and hotel location inspired the book. It's the small things writers pay attention to!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  11. Still want to read your writings as they sound like exciting read. Let us know when #3 is ready for perusal.