Saturday, 24 November 2012

Interview & Giveaway: The Consul General's Wife by Aliefka Bijlsma

Original Title: The Consul General's Wife
Author: Aliefka Bijlsma
Publisher: Augustus
Release Date: September 2nd 2012
Genre: Contemporary

Melchior Steenbergen is leading an idyllic life. An elite member of Holland’s diplomatic corps, he is the Consul General in Rio, with a sweeping view of the Ipanema bay from his official residence, and a beautiful wife 20 years his junior. His trustworthy maid, Mercy, who is from Ghana and has followed him everywhere, attends to his every need. At 59, his time as a diplomat is winding down, but he expects to put one more feather in his cap: an ambassadorship. Paris, perhaps. Doesn't he deserve it?

But Melchior’s glorious world is a façade, a house of cards, and sharp winds are starting to blow.

The Consul General's Wife is the story of a man, elegant and dignified, unable to recognize his own flaws. Set against the mystical and unforgiving city of Rio, the novel is a comedy about a dying generation. And a tragedy about a man who has only a few days left to wake up.


Which authors have influenced you most and how?  
This is a hard one to answer. Every book I read, every author influences me in some way. Either I learn something or gain insight. Or feel inspired. Sometimes, a book or author can be so good that I feel unnerved. Joan Didion for example. Or Iris Murdoch.

What do you do in your free time? 
Play with my son, or go on outings/adventures with him. I like to see as many classical concerts, plays, films, exhibitions as museums my budget and time allows. Discuss music and life and love with my boyfriend who is a conductor. Dinners with friends. I love dinners with friends.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 

What’s your favorite season/weather? 
Summer. Heat. I was born in the tropics and lived most of my childhood right close to the euqator. It’s not a like, it’s a need.

Who or what inspired you to become an author? 
First, my voice problems ruined my career as a lawyer and triggered my writing. But then it was my mother, who had come to see my first play. It was hard for her as the play was all about mother-daughter relationships. She was quite moved by the themes. It was like I was speaking to her, but through the actors, and she understood. We didn’t need to discuss it because I could see she felt exactly what I was communicating. I was a little scared of her reaction to it. But she took me to lunch the next day and said “you have an obligation to pursue this talent.” This was a pivotal moment in my life as my mother had always advised against pursuing a creative profession of any kind. In retrospect I understand why: she is an artist herself and knows how hard it can be, for both yourself and your immediate surroundings.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 
After the book-launch, which was a moment in time I felt so proud, so like “Me”. It felt like a coming-out. I had incredibly talented friends who played music from the island I was born, in the Caribbean. And after the launch we all went and had drinks, there were many special people there, the people I love most and who understood how much of a struggle it had been for me to get there, in my life.

What is your guilty pleasure? 
Catching a movie midday alone, and eating my own box of sweet popcorn.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? 
Xtreme make-over type programmes.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
The Bible. (I’d probably have turned Jesus into a woman).

Favorite places to travel? 
I go to Curacao a lot because I was born there and many friends that are dear to me live there. But it’s a love/hate relationship with the island. I’d like to travel in Africa some more.

Favorite music?
It varies, depending on what I’m working on or interested in. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye. But half a year ago it was Carmen.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? 
Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie


The author is giving away e-copies of THE CONSUL GENERAL'S WIFE to THREE winners of the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends December 30th 2012!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*** This post is part of the tour for Orangeberry Book Tours. ***


  1. What a fabulous idea for a story. I haven't read any books that touch on the diplomatic corps. Very interesting!!


  2. Sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing and for a great giveaway!

  3. I am intrigued with the international flavor of this book - would love to read it! ~Lynette


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