Chat with Seychellois author Audrey Lavigne |02 July 2021
‘I want to share and promote the beauty of Seychelles to the world’
Today we meet Audrey Lavigne, a young Seychellois author. I recently saw a post on social media and wanted to know more about this young lady who was writing about Seychelles through her main character Jasper. I thought she was a Seychellois based outside Seychelles but was glad to learn that she indeed lives on Praslin with her family including ‘Jasper’, her much loved dog. She wants to be remembered as ‘A proud Seychellois author who promotes our stunning country’.
Seychelles NATION: Who is Audrey Lavigne?
Audrey Lavigne: My name is Audrey Lavigne (married Lepair), and I was born and raised in the Seychelles. I am a mother to an amazing daughter Alyssa Testa, and together with my husband James Lepair, we live at Anse Lazio, Praslin. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Business Leadership, both from the University of London. I enjoy writing, cooking, travelling, and spending time with my family and my adorable dog Jasper, who is like a second child to me.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about your childhood to youth years
Audrey Lavigne: I grew up on Praslin with my wonderful mother Marylene who has been my pillar all through out whenever things got tough for me; my two sisters, Roseline and Juliette; and a brother, Olivier. From an early age, I have always been a vivid bookworm, and my favourite author as a child was Enid Blyton with her well-known series of The Famous Five. When I was a teenager, I used to write short stories and poems, and one of my stories was told out loud on the Seychelles radio when I was 12, and I wish that one day I could hear it again so that I can turn it into a book, because sadly I have lost it.
Seychelles NATION: When and why did you decide to become an author?
Audrey Lavigne: I must say that publishing a book has always been one of my dreams. Yet, I never got the opportunity to make this dream come true until last year during the lockdown period. I am so glad today that I have published not only one book but a few, and a lot more to follow. Writing is a great way to put down information that one wishes to share to others, and this is where my journey started as an author. I want to share and promote the beauty of Seychelles to the world, and I also want to encourage more reading in children. Hence, the reasons I am doing all this through my books.
Seychelles NATION: Your main character is Jasper, tell our readers about him.
Audrey Lavigne: Jasper is my lovely dog in real life. He is now three years old and I treat him like my own child. I chose Jasper to be the main character in my picture book series ‘Jasper the Island Hopper’, because children in general adore animals and more so if they bring an adventurous story for them to follow. And Jasper does that very much. In this series, Jasper goes island hopping, hence the name, and in each book, he visits a different island of Seychelles, whereby he is greeted by a tour guide, another animal character, and together they explore the island. Written in rhymes with their candid illustrations, these educational books allow children to travel to Seychelles without being there physically.
Seychelles NATION: How many books have you written so far?
Audrey Lavigne: I have published 3 books so far:
- Jasper the Island Hopper: A Day On Mahé
- Jasper the Island Hopper: An Adventure On Praslin
- An Only Child’s Diary; A New Life, which is also another series but more for girls 8 to 12 years. It is about the life of a 12-year-old girl living in Seychelles and she shares it all in diaries.
The second one in this series will be published this year. I have had a few delays with the publishing of my books due to the economic situation in the country, as I couldn’t afford to pay my editors and illustrators with the high foreign exchange rates. I decided to pause everything until the rates dropped, so everything is back on track now.
Seychelles NATION: What is your objective in writing the books and what is your main storyline?
Audrey Lavigne: As a proud Seychellois who feels so blessed to live in the most beautiful country in the world, I hope that my books promote Seychelles, as most of them contain interesting facts about these spectacular islands of ours. Moreover, I strongly believe that reading should be encouraged from a very early age, and I wish to grab as much attention, both adults and children. Hence, I have donated some of my books to schools here locally and I plan to continue to do so in the future.
Seychelles NATION: Where are the books sold?
Audrey Lavigne: My books are available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles Online stores, and Goodreads for anyone outside the Seychelles, but if you are here, do not buy from Amazon because the shipping cost is too high. On Mahé they can be purchased at Chanterelle and Antigone bookstores, Etoile des îles Boutique in Victoria, La Palme D’or Boutique at Eden Plaza, and in the departure lounge at the international airport. On Praslin, they are available at Souvenir des îles Boutique Anse Kerlan and at Anse Lazio Souvenirs.
Seychelles NATION: What is your next project?
Audrey Lavigne: I have four more books ready but as the cost of printing is too much here, I have decided to start printing all of my books abroad and the kids’ ones will be printed in hardcover versions instead of softcover as they are better in terms of durability, and by October this year, in addition to the existing ones, I will have all of the additional books below available here on the islands:
- Jasper the Island Hopper: A Trip To La Digue,
- Jasper the Island Hopper: A Boat Ride,
- Christmas Countdown with Jasper the Island Hopper,
- An Only Child’s Diary: A Sunny Christmas.
I am currently working on a lot more books. My plan is to publish my children’s books first, then concentrate on my adults’ books next year.
I hope that at least one of my books will touch your heart, and if they make you smile, then this makes me the richest author on earth.
All I want to be known and remembered as is simply: “A proud Seychellois author who promotes our stunning country.”
Audrey Lavigne can be followed on her Facebook page: Audrey Lavigne, Author; on her author page on Amazon: Amazon.com: AUDREY LAVIGNE: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle; on Instagram: audreylavigne.author; her Website: www.audreylavigneauthor.com and on twitter: @AudreyLavigne7