Influences? Plenty, throughout my life, but when it came to writing French Sally, it went where it wanted to go. Right at the start - this was back in 1985 - there was, perhaps, Georges Perec - La Vie Mode d'Emploi, with its many characters coming and going in a block of flats in Paris. I lived at the time in the west of France, in a street first scheduled for demolition in 1928. When the threat became real and the bulldozers arrived, it gave me the spark for French Sally: you wake up one morning to be told the plot has changed - you're no longer needed. Why? Because right where you live the President of France, Roland Tetard, has decided to build his high-tech vision of the future. He isn't bothered by such a thing as people - they're characters, fiction, to be moved to another story. One of them, though, decides to resist: Jacques Tassell, a humble washer up, is not a likely candidate for hero, but he has a stubborn streak and he doesn't like to be pushed around by a "megalomaniac bastard" like Tetard. You no doubt think - and you're right - that it can't be easy to resist a President, but try to imagine how much harder it becomes when you also have to deal with a trio of awkward protagonists from the French Revolution.
French Sally took 16 years to write. It burgeoned to 600 pages, explored the boundaries between fiction and reality, life and death, past and future. It took me into places I never expected to go.