Why do I write about Paris? I don’t know. Paris is always a good idea. Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t lie to us.
I love Paris, I know I am not alone there. What makes us fall in love with a certain place? For me it was the history, the art, the language, the food…oh, you know…everything! But I am very much an outsider. I have never renovated an apartment overlooking the Seine. I didn’t marry a Frenchman and give birth to kiddies who call me Maman. As much as I’d love to, I’ve never set up house in a crumbling chateau. On the contrary, my relationship with Paris has been very one-sided. The City of Lights can be like a beautiful lover who entices and invites but remains aloof right when you need to be embraced. Nonetheless, living in France for a year is still firmly on my bucket list. It might just be a while in coming.
My first visit to Paris was in 1994 and I was trying to mend my broken heart. Paris is a perfect remedy for a broken heart. Sure you might see a few (dozen) lovers strolling hand-in-hand but you can get so caught up in the beauty you just don’t have time to think about yourself and your problems. I highly recommend it. I took tours and visited museums and galleries but every day I seemed to find something new to add to the Must-See list! I was in my element and it really did help me to find a reason to smile again.
My first two novels Hotel Deja Vu and Alia Henry and the Ghost Writer are set in Paris and I describe my compilation of novellas and short stories, Set in Paris, as a series of love letters to Paris. Regular readers will know I’ve been writing a memoir based on my visits to Paris for a while now. It will be taking a back seat for another few months while I work on a project I have something of a deadline for. While my new works in progress have seen a departure from my usual Parisian setting, I will revisit Paris in my writing, in my dreams, and hopefully in person one day soon.
For the coming month I will be promoting fellow authors with works set in France. I’ve created a multi-genre promotion through a platform called Bookfunnel. I’ve asked the contributing authors to answer the following questions so I thought I would do it too.
In 2 sentences, tell us a little about yourself? I am an Australian author who left her heart in Paris years ago. I’m also a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, cat-mama, photographer, lover of books, champion of creativity, and foodie.
Why France? You can read the above, but also *sigh. How can it not be France? From the Mediterranean to the vineyards of the north, from the mountains and ski resorts of the east to the wild Atlantic coast, France literally has something for everyone. Along with the rest of us, I know she can weather this Covid storm and rise again.
How did France wind up in your book? I began writing Hotel Deja Vu after my last visit. I ‘accidentally’ ended up travelling with a couple of women who after a series of interesting mishaps, inspired the idea of a tour group for women who wanted to reinvent themselves for various reasons. We stayed in an amazing mansion on the Left Bank and one day, while swimming in the basement pool (yes indeed), I pondered what it would be like to go back in time and re-do all my visits to Paris. As for Alia Henry and the Ghost Writer, I didn’t intend for her house arrest to happen in a crumbling chateau in the Loire Valley, it just… happened!
Favourite place in France? I love Paris but if I had to retire in France I would go to Antibes or somewhere else on the coast that’s more affordable 😉 I love the sea and I love to ski, so the idea of living somewhere a few hours from the Alps appeals very much!
Where will you go when you can fly again? (spoiler, it doesn’t have to be France ) No, I won’t head straight to France although I’d love to visit as soon as I can. When I can, I will go to my spiritual home, Bali.
Do you have more books you’d like to tell us about? Absolutely. Along with my memoir, I have another novella for the Set in Paris print book called Mae and June. It’s a bit of a dark love story set in the same universe as Hotel Deja Vu. My two current works in progress are another quite dark story set in Los Angeles and an interwoven story set in modern day England and Neolithic era Celtic lands across France and England.