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Inspired by Val d’Isère: Interview with Novelist Benedict Beaumont

Teacher-turned-writer Benedict Beaumont is about to publish his sixth book, d’Ispere, set in one of Mark Warner’s favourite ski resorts. We quizzed him about his book and his experiences of working in Val d’Isère

What is d’Ispere about?
d’Ispere is a thriller set in the seasonaire community of Val d’Isère. It is told from the point of view of James, a new ski guide in the resort, and is about how his life spirals out of control when he falls in with a bad crowd.

Is it based on your experiences?
I worked for three seasons in Val d’Isère, as a chalet host and manager. But while the descriptions of the town and ski slopes are accurate, the characters and events are all make believe!

What is working in a ski resort like?
To live in the mountains in the winter, surrounded by such awesome natural beauty, is a privilege. You work hard, you play hard, and for many people it is the most fun five months of their lives.

If you worked three seasons, you must have liked Val d’Isère.  What’s so special about the resort?
Difficult to answer – there is so much! The skiing is phenomenal, the town is beautiful and the bars and nightlife are amazing.

What is your favourite ski run in the Espace Killy?
It’s hard to choose just one, but I would probably say the Double M down into Val Claret. The views from the top of the Grande Motte are the best in the resort, the piste is motorway wide and there is a good variety of gradients, so it is good for all levels of ability.

What about your recommendations for lunch?
As a seasonaire on a limited budget, many of the mountain restaurants were too pricey for me, but there were still some good options. Quicksilver in Val town and Aspen Burger in Val Claret are good American-style diners. Tignes Cuisine has brilliant Asian food, but my personal favourite is Tignes Spar, which has picnic tables outside where you can eat their delicious rotisserie chicken and frites!

What distinguishes d’Ispere from other holiday reads?
There is something special about reading a book set where you are, so if you are going on a ski holiday to the Alps this year, this is THE book to read! It is ‘The Beach’ crossed with ‘Point Break’ on snow! It has strong characters, a very visual location, snappy dialogue but most importantly it is a great story. Everybody who goes on a ski holiday is looking for an adventure; d’Ispere will take you on a ride you will not forget!

What do you do when you are not writing and working ski seasons?
I divide my time between teaching in a secondary school, running a small B&B, helping run the popular vegan food blog soydivision and travelling abroad. Life is never boring!

Where can people buy d’Ispere?
d’Ispere is available as a kindle download and in all other online bookstores. A paperback copy is available on Amazon and from selected bookstores. Mark Warner customers can also download an electronic copy with a 30% discount from my online store at Smashwords by using the discount code CU56Z. Details of my other books are on my blog site, BenedictBeaumont.com

Finally, which character in the book do you identify with most strongly?
There is a character in the first and last chapters who I based loosely on myself. I made him a bit more moody, mysterious and handsome than I actually am, but what’s the point of fiction if you can’t let loose a little?!

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