Monday, March 28, 2011

Q and A with Camilla Gibb

I adored The Beauty of Humanity Movement (see my review) and I'm thrilled to share my Q and A with author Camilla Gibb.  See the end of the post for info on my giveaway (two copies now!).

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

It was about a girl who lived on the roof of her parent’s house and communed with the squirrels. Might have been somewhat lacking in the plot department.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I like to start early in the morning before anyone else is awake. Before I have spoken.

Where did Hu’ng’s story come from?

I know a young Vietnamese man who dreamt of opening his own pho restaurant in Hanoi (he since has). I asked him where you could find the best pho in Hanoi and he said that it wasn’t in any restaurant, but off the back of an old man’s rickety cart, an old man who didn’t have a license to operate a business and was constantly being hassled by the police. I came home, and wrote the old man into being.

Was The Beauty of Humanity Movement the original title of this book?

It was. I seem to have my titles as early as my first thoughts about a book.

Did you have an opportunity to travel to Vietnam while writing this book?

I went to Vietnam on holiday in 2007. I was so enamoured with the place that I spent several months writing about it, then went back again to do research.

The descriptions of phở in this book made my mouth water; did you spend time in Vietnamese kitchens to learn the art of making phở?

My friend who had the dream of opening a restaurant – he taught me how to make a perfect bowl of pho. After that, I ate bowls of it any chance I got – in Canada, the US, England and Europe – comparing methods and flavours.

As you were writing The Beauty of Humanity Movement, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

The love story between Hung and Lan. It was not there from the beginning, but as I got to know Hung, I wondered, has he ever loved?

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I cook, I garden, I ride my bike, at least I did until recently. I’m now the mother of a six-month old so every day is filled with new activities and discoveries.

Read any good books recently?

As a new mother, I have to admit, I’ve had very little time. But I am reading Elizabeth McCracken’s sad and beautiful memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.


My thanks to Ms. Gibb for her time.  You can learn more about Camilla Gibb at her website and Facebook page.  For more reviews, check out the other blogs on the tour.

GIVEAWAY!  I'm giving away my very gently used copy of The Beauty of Humanity Movement!  To enter, leave a comment and an email address.  For another entry, see my review and leave a comment there.  Open to US and international readers!  And from the publisher, a copy to US/CA readers!  Again, just leave a comment and email to be entered!  Giveaway ends April 9.


  1. I've never had pho, but now I'm very curious about it. Great interview!

  2. I will be reading this soon, and I was really excited to see your interview with Gibb! It sounds like a most wonderful book, and I can't wait to get to it. Great interview, and thanks for sharing!

  3. I've never had pho either and also very curious what it could be like. The book seems really nice, I'd love to win. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jh303015 aatt gmail ddoott com

  4. It always fascinates me that a character can surprise its creator :)
    Thanks for the contest, please put my name on the hat for the international giveaway, thank you!;)

    jen7waters AT gmail DOT com

  5. Oh yay, another chance to win a copy. :) This is a great Q&A... and now I'm craving pho! lol.

    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. I had never heard of pho and I don;t know if we have any Vietnamese restuarants in the area but I will be researching that.

    With a six month old, suggest it is time you dug out that first piece of fiction and revised it for a childrens book !

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  7. such a lovely book! the title is intriguing and i wonder what it means. would love a chance to find out.
    vvb32 at