Author Notes

On Friday morning I took myself off to the local coffee shop that I love and started writing my author notes for Hotel Deja vu. You can read the first few chapters here. Would love feedback, of all and any kind.

The worst thing about not getting feedback is that you automatically think the writing is awful and no-one has the courage to tell you because you’re a crazy writer and they think you might lose your mind… I won’t! Constructive criticism, regular criticism or even low-grade, nuclear-waste-like-Scottish-ancestry-powered criticism welcome. Will accept compliments of all kinds, including back-handed.

The House – The house with the blue door, just metres from the Seine, is the main character, not simply a prop or even just a backdrop. I have stayed in this beautiful house and recommend it to everyone who is going to Paris. Every detail I have written about is true except for the time portal in the basement.

The idea came to me as I swam in the basement pool. Yes, you read right. A basement pool and a rooftop terrace with views to the towers of Notre Dame de Paris. In the corner of the basement, behind the pool, there was a little wooden door which by my calculations would have opened to a space beneath the narrow street in front of the house. Of course, it was probably just access to the plumbing or something really boring like that, but hey, the idea for a time portal beneath an historic home in Paris was born. The home doesn’t have a rear entrance as far as I know.

The Re-Write – The new edition of the novel resembles the original manuscript the way twins look alike. There are too many similarities to count but they are different in all the ways that matter. The beginning has been completely re-written. The doomed Antoinette, the original time-traveler, finds herself in 1933 after almost dying in 1944. She plays the same role as she did in the original manuscript, but her back story has changed dramatically. She is still a scientist and medical doctor. She’s fierce, single-minded and intelligent. She is a woman of action but with a reputation as a trouble maker, something that strong women seem to battle with even today. She has pursued her goals with single-minded determination, but when the Germans over-ran Paris, she didn’t hesitate to offer her services to the Resistance.

Wouldn’t we all like to think that we would have done the same?

*Fact check – Many scientists did offer their services to the Resistance. There were makeshift labs dotted across Paris and Northern France making improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The war dragged on, and as attacks and arrests took their toll on the ranks of the resistance, women scientists were recruited.

Monsieur Levy’s violin shop on the corner near the house really exists. Other than its location, everything else is a figment of my imagination.

Karen…When I was working on Hotel Deja vu originally, the Artist’s name was Annie. Even though I desperately wanted her to be Annie, it had to change. I had Antoinette, Alex, and Agnes; Annie had to go!

Karen feels…everything. She is an accomplished portrait artist, but she is also a hot mess. She is desperate to be seen but like so many artists, terrified of not measuring up. At first, she forfeits her aspirations out of fear but a talent like hers can’t be hidden for long. She is exposed. A second chance is exactly what she needs.

to be continued…


  1. Rusty Flueckiger

    I like the style in which you have written this, as if speaking casually with your reader. I would not paint a doomed image of Karen from the beginning by ‘poor Karen’. I think you should allow the reader to decide. If i can also add that you have made a couple of personal comments in relation to differences between you and Karen – are you pointing out to reader she is not you as in a hot mess but you are also telling reader your not a good portrait artist – why? I am sorry but did you tell reader you are an artist, and it feels you are putting yourself down a few rungs on the ladder which you shouldnt. Feel accomplished, be accomplished. Also i was always told Never to use word ‘swam’ – ???? 😬

    1. Christine Betts

      ooooh thanks love! AS ALWAYS! where would this writer be without you. I will read back through and take those points in mind. I have such a habit of self deprecation. I think it’s far better now than it was but still something I fall back into. Perhaps the author notes should stick to the ‘facts’ and not be personal? what do you think? (this version is far less personal than the original long hand version I did but still is very personal as I read back through it.
      as for swam (say that word three times out loud…it sounds so STUPID!!) lol so it’s the past simple tense of swim so I’ll have to check if I’ve used it that way. Thanks again!!!

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