Recently, I sat down VIRTUALLY with mon amie Vicki Archer...
Finally settling VIRTUALLY into this last photo for our interview...
Where are you from?
Where are you from?
I was born in Australia and I was raised and educated in Sydney. I moved to Europe with my husband and three children eleven years ago.
Tell us your latest news?
My latest book FRENCH ESSENCE was recently published in the United States…that was very exciting for me. My blog, of the same name, continues to be a huge part of my life and it is a world that I love more and more. I have just started a new blogpage called, MY DAILY CLICK and this is a space where I post my momentary inspirations. And most exciting of all, I hope to start work on a new book in the next few months…
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always liked writing but never imagined that writing or publishing a book would come my way. My first book, MY FRENCH LIFE, was published in 2006 and it was a year or two before that I began to write seriously.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know that I even consider myself a writer now! I think I am an accidental writer – the opportunity came about and I thought, ’Why not’. I was passionate about my subject so I hoped that this would make everything come together.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My ongoing love affair with France. I often think that MY FRENCH LIFE is my version of a love letter. Photographer Carla Coulson and I talked about the idea of a French collaboration – I would write my story about moving to France and falling in love with all things French and she would take the photographs. It was a dream project and working with Carla on both my books has been one of the most enriching experiences.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to think that I write from the heart. I have always felt that if you tell a story truthfully and with honest conviction then all will be well.
How did you come up with the title?
MY FRENCH LIFE was a title that my publisher in Australia was clever enough to think of. FRENCH ESSENCE was a joint effort between Carla and I … or maybe she thought of it…I can’t remember, but we stumbled between FRENCH ESSENCE and FRENCH SENSE for ages…and FRENCH ESSENCE it was… and the blog too now.
Is there a message in your books that you want readers to grasp?
Facing change, taking on challenges and being flexible in our lives are qualities that I aspire to and believe in. I hope readers sense this message in my books and I hope they feel inspired to do the things they have always dreamed.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I have such admiration for writers and so I can’t choose any one particular book. To write is not so hard but to write well… now that is a challenge. I am always in awe of writers who can join words together in a way that seems so simple and yet the sentence will stay and play on the mind forever more. That is nothing short of magic.
What book are you reading now?
I have just finished Somerset Maugham’s novella, Up at The Villa, an easy but very enjoyable short read about the relationship between a woman and three different men. I am about to start re-reading some classic Jane Austen and Emily Bronte… Every few years I like to re-read some old favorites.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not so much new authors but I do enjoy the novels of Sebastian Faulks, Ian McKewan and Vikram Seth.
What are your current projects?
My blog, French Essence.. and thinking…. thinking, thinking and more thinking about my new book….
Do you see writing as a career?
I do now and couldn’t imagine my life without it. Through writing my world has opened up and I have the chance to know like-minded Francophiles and to work with such creative and talented people.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. Simply because when a book is published it is like a time capsule. Life changes constantly and we can always look back and think I could have written or photographed something differently.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I had a story to tell…. Some say that we each have a book within as we all have a story to tell.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Grammar and spelling!
The hardest part of writing is the beginning. If I am stuck I will imagine that I am writing a letter to a best friend and I will think about the things that she would like to know…it always helps me on my way. The other difficulty is remembering to include all the details…it is so easy to make presumptions and take things for granted when writing.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I live between London and Saint Rémy de Provence in southern France so I am forever on the move. I travel around as much as I can because I find that discovering new places is the best way to gather ideas and stay creative.
Who designed the covers?
Carla Coulson shot the images for both MY FRENCH LIFE and FRENCH ESSENCE. Penguin designed the layout.
The hardest part of writing a personal account is committing. How much you choose to share is a difficult balance.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt that there were so many like-minded and kindred spirits in the world. I am constantly amazed by the truly wonderful letters and emails I receive from readers who are as enamored with France as I am.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write and write often. Writing is like exercise – we need to take it on a daily basis. Observe. Great writers are true observers of life.
Merci Beaucoup to Vicki... she is TRULY a LOVELY person! YOU can keep up with her via her website Vicki Archer and her blog... French Essence!Merci also to Carla Coulson... YOU beautified this interview with fabulous talent... YOU can see more of Carla's work via her website Carla Coulson and her blog Carla Loves Photography...
and OF COURSE... YOU can ENJOY a LOVELY creation by this two women... FRENCH ESSENCE is AVAILABLE for purchase HERE!!!
Andddd a LUCKY WINNER can WIN AN ORIGINAL PAINTING by Fifi Flowers inspired by this FRENCH ESSENCE book... Simply Return to Reading is Fashionable on Monday for ALL the details and of course to see THE PAINTING!!!