French Friday: My Étonnant Native Country

One of my best friends, a picture book author, is happy as a clam when she talks to 100 kindergartners. I know of other authors, who adore huge assemblies.

I’m a small group person. Big parties and large venues have never been my thing. Concerts are an exception. Still, I’d rather see my favorite bands or singers in a small club than a stadium.

In the next few weeks, I will meet with more than 400 middle school and high school students. I just found out that their teachers decided to separate them in smaller groups. So I will have one presentation at the middle school and four at two different high schools on the same day. Phew, what a relief.

What worries me now is the fact that for the first time ever I will meet students who take French at school. This should comfort me since anything French is my thing, right? In fact, as I am preparing my presentation, I keep questioning its content.

Usually I split my one-hour power point presention in four parts:

* My French background shown through slides from my hometown and surroundings.

* The process of writing, from the choice of topic to the editing. I also include elements about writing in a non-native language.

* Multiple-choice questions based on my novel, which is shared in class prior to my visit.

* Q&A is always my favorite part, so I allow 10 minutes.

But as I am now selecting my slides, I am caught in a spiral of thoughts:

How do I introduce contemporary France to teenagers who learn how to speak France but have not necessary been there yet?

What should I tell them about my native land? How honest do I want to be?

Is it okay to show its flaws? Will it discourage young people to visit?

In my Middle Grade novel Chronicles From Château Moines I introduced the early immigration issues that took place in the France of my childhood in the 1970s. Almost fifty years later, France is still dealing with immigration issues.

Do I want to show the gathering of migrants at Porte de la Chapelle, still happening after the regular dismantling of the camps and despite the opening of welcome centers, too small to accomodate everyone?

But there is also genuine concern for the migrants’ situation. French people want to exemplify the motto Liberté Égalité Fraternité.

So what about Calais?

Now shouldn’t I stay with a classic vision of France, particularly of Paris, with its lovely cafés and sophisticated boutiques? Is cliché versus authentic okay?

After all, there are still lovely cafés and sophisticated boutiques in Paris. They sit blocks away from the gathered migrants and within an hour from the projects in the suburbs.

In my Young Adult thriller Trapped in Paris, the two protagonists find themselves in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, less than ten miles away and yet another world.

What about music? Music plays a huge role in any teen’s life.

Once in a while, when I’m in a store or a café in the U.S. I hear French music. Almost always it’s soft French music. Often Edith Piaf singing La Vie en Rose or even Charles Trenet and La Mer. But Carla Bruni is now a favorite, as well as Serge Gainsbourg and Zaz.

It is said that when French-style music is played in a store, the atmosphere shifts from ordinary to sophisticated. In fact, some storeowners are known to play French music or French music-style when they have French items, such as wine or cheese, to sell. Shoppers don’t even notice but are still influenced.

Many contemporary French singers such as Julien Doré still exemply the unique French poetic musical style.

But what about hip-hop bands or rappers who use music as a media to address racism, poverty, immigration, unemployment, topics of concern for many French people?

Now I scroll down my own playlist and wonder about the older Manu Chao. The singer started his musical career a few years before I left France but really took off in the mid 1990s. With his mix of reggae, ska, with clear Latino roots he changed the traditional French musical scene.

Now what about the diverse French rap scene, a mix of rap de rue or street rap, conscious rap, popular rap, and other sub genres in between?

Should I add the hip-hop band Nèg Marrons? After all they wrote one of my favorite songs about their parents.

As I prepare my presentation and debate pros versus cons the complexity of my native land is palpable.

So for now only one thing is sure: the choice of the T-shirt I will wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trapped in Paris and a Little Bit More…

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One of the bonuses when writers attend conferences and book events is to meet other writers. There is a genuine and quick sense of recognition among people who write for children. And of course there is always the one who goes the extra mile.

Like Christina Benjamin. When our paths crossed at a book festival this winter, I was impressed by the quality of her books and her gorgeous promotional material. We spoke about our books and projects and she spontaneously offered to showcase my YA novel Trapped in Paris on Pages Burners, one of her websites.

You can read her review here and listen to the short interview and watch the video clip here.

My daughter #3 was on her spring break when I asked her to play the interviewer role. She immediatley agreed. My youngest daughter is the one who encouraged me to write when I started jotting down words and sentences in my notebook and didn’t believe that I would ever write in English. As any typical first-generation born-American child she is often my teacher. She calls me Mom and Maman. Our conversations are always a blend of the two languages that cement our home. Here, though, we kept it in English. With a little bit of French touch. Of course.

I want to thank Christina and my daughter for their support and kindness.

And You, for following my writing adventures and other things of my life on this blog.

 

Take your iPad to Paris and Normandy For Free Until Labor Day

To introduce my Young Adult and Middle Grade novels to the readers who cannot travel without their iPad, I’m offering Trapped in Paris and Chronicles From Château Moines for Free on iBooks until Labor Day.

Enjoy! Spread the news! Leave reviews!

Happy Reading to All of You From my Favorite Summer Writing Spot in Maine!

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“Be Awesome, Be a Book Nut.”

Libraries have been my home away from home since a very long time.

biblio.flersIn one aisle of this castle used to be the library where I spent so much time in middle and high school. In my new novel Chronicles From Château Moines a library and its librarian play a significant role.

 

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours with a delightful group of middle school students in a beautiful library. The kids were curious, funny, lively, and kind toward each other. A dream.

The librarian had set a table in the sunny yard. She had bought cookies and filled water pitchers. It was a perfect fall day.

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The kids’ laughter and after school conversations reached me inside while I was checking my power point presentation. Excitement and a little bit of apprehension churned inside me. It’s not bad, I’ve found out, to be a little nervous before speaking in public. This unsettling combo forces me to concentrate.

If you ever met me in person you would quickly understand that I need an additional introduction to any presentation I do. I wear my French accent like a tattoo. I mean permanent, of course.

So, before questions flood the room, I always use a few slides about France, my native Normandy, and Paris where I lived before moving to the US.

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Kids, unlike many adults, have no issue with accents. As long as I agree to translate for them a variety of words and expressions – the sillier, the better – we are in business. Yesterday was no different.

After complying with their request and even agreeing to say anything in French, I went back to my slide show. Hands popped up as I spoke about writing in another language and about my published stories and novels.

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I had prepared five copies of my first novel Trapped in Paris and highlighted short passages to illustrate my presentation. Having children or teens read excerpts of your book is a good idea as long as the group isn’t too large and you get some volunteers. Yesterday I was lucky, everyone wanted to read.

  • Listening to students read your story aloud is a great experience.
  • They are active and you don’t feel like being a talking head.
  • You can finally let go of the anxiety to fully enjoy the excitement part.

When I visit a library I always end on a slide with a quote from Dr. Seuss:

“Be Awesome, Be a Book Nut.”

Before I know it, I’m finished and always a little sad that it is over. Fortunately, there are questions and comments. And the nicest part is compliments. Kids are like that. They thank you for the chance you gave them to meet you. Really, I thank them for the opportunity.

What I like most when I have guests for dinner is when they linger and that conversations go on and on…

The same is true when I get to meet young readers.

This is when I’m finished that the real fun part starts. I can talk with them, ask them what kind of stories they like, who their favorite authors are, how they pick a book in a bookstore or a library.

You want to know too, right?

This bunch of mostly sixth and seventh grade girls favored fantasy, mystery, action, and graphic novels. They like real life stories too.

Some of their favorite authors are Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, James Dasher, Gayle Forman.

Pretty impressive list, I know. They also told me that they pick a book based on its title, cover, and back cover, regardless of the author’s popularity. If these elements trigger their interest they will read the first pages and get the book or … not.  The fact that they aren’t only into big names is encouraging. The fact that their choice is made so quickly is not that different from the way adults pick one book versus another one.

They all wanted my book. Sweet. The library copy of Trapped in Paris had been checked out and I hadn’t brought enough copies with me.

“Can you come back next week?” a girl asked.

How do you say no to a pair of big brown eyes? The librarian smiled and nodded. Yes!!!

By 4:30 p.m. some kids were picked up. Some decided to go get a book upstairs. I stayed behind with a group of four girls and we continued our conversation.  About books, of course.

That’s what they said:

  • They don’t care if the main character of the book is a girl or a boy. They don’t care either if the author is a woman or a man.
  • They said that the boys they know read less than they do and favor boy characters. I couldn’t ask, the boys had left for sport practice, but it is a fact that the majority of kids who were at the library were girls.
  • They haven’t read each Harry Potter book (all were born after 2002) but devoured each and every book from the Percy Jackson and Olympians series.
  • They love characters who appear to be regular people – like me, said a girl – but who have special powers.
  • As for books made into movies, most see the movie before reading the book.

On my way out, under very nice thank yous and mercis, goodbyes and au revoirs, one of the youngest called me.

“There’s that book I just read,” she said. “I loved it and I think you’ll love it too. It’s called Drita My Homegirl. Maybe you can check it out?”

I went to the kids’ floor and got the book. It’s author Jenny Lombard’s first novel.

Like these kids, I always read the back cover of a book before buying it or checking it out.

“…a story that presents in alternating first-person chapters the evolution of an unlikely and difficult friendship – that of a African-American girl from the neighborhood and the unwelcome new kid in class: a girl from Kosovo who speaks no English.”

I smiled to myself. The sixth grader had noticed that Chronicles From Château Moines is also told from Scott and Sylvie’s perspectives. She had also compared the two plots. Scott moves from the US to France and has to adjust to a foreign country, while Sylvie has to accept that this new boy is changing life the way she knew it. The sixth grader had also understood my own challenges when I moved from France to the US.

She’s right, I thought. It’s definitely a book for me.

I always knew that I learn more during a library visit than anywhere else.

 

 

P.S. Chronicles From Château Moines will be released very soon. Stay with me!

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Tourist in My Country

Being familiar with coastal California and New England, where variations in altitude offer dramatic scenery, I assumed that Florida, where I had never been, would be miles of flat, sandy beaches.

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Northern Florida, around the Jacksonville area, is in fact as picturesque as coastal California and Maine.

Bridges, and even drawbridges, straddle rivers, creeks, streams, and estuaries. The beaches may be flat and sandy but they beg you to find them at the end of a shady road lined with short, sturdy palm trees and crepe myrtles in full bloom.

I had to kill my misconception and open up to Florida.

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My husband who had already been several times to the Sunshine State suspected that I would like to visit Saint Augustine.

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Founded in 1565, this compact, pedestrian friendly town is the oldest permanent settlement in the U.S. Saint Augustine was under Spanish and British control until the Americans took over when Florida was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in 1822.

Although throngs of visitors stroll the narrow, cobblestone streets and alleys every day, mornings are quiet until ten A.M. since museums, stores, and attractions don’t open early.

After a walk on the beach we are the first customers at a shady and friendly café in the courtyard of the gorgeous Alcazar Hotel, City Hall in plain English.

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Anyone who likes history, architecture, and coastal towns will enjoy Saint Augustine. If you also like a serious dose of tourists’ attractions such as the Fountain of Youth (I didn’t go!), the very first Ripley Believe It or Not, or the many places that pretend to be the oldest in the state of Florida and even in the entire United States, then you’ll definitely want to spend a day in Saint Augustine.

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Two truly real nice things: you can walk everywhere in town and you won’t see any chain stores in the historic downtown.

Many small towns throughout Europe are actually very similar to Saint Augustine. Including the souvenir shops.

“Saint Augustine?” says a woman I meet later that day. “It’s a little…” she adds with a small grimace.

But she beams when she finds out that I grew up close to the Mont Saint Michel, a place she adores.

Like St. Augustine, the Mont Saint Michel is built on an outstanding natural setting and has also its share of tacky souvenir shops.

“I went there for class field trips,” I tell the woman.

“Lucky you,” she says with sparkling eyes.

Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and quaint often better seen through foreign eyes.

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In Savannah, Georgia, the luscious oak trees and drooping Spanish moss arch above the streets, offering both shade and mystery to one of the most beautiful American cities I ever saw.

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It’s raining hard when we pull in town, but we haven’t seen rain since a long time so we don’t mind the lukewarm downpour that doesn’t really cool us off. Despite our umbrella, our shirts get wet and stick to our skins, which turn soft as silk.

On River Street, men are waving brochures to exhorte people for a cruise on the Savannah River aboard the Georgia Queen riverboat.

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A humongous ship from China, loaded with a heavy cargo enters the harbor, almost gliding on the water.

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Souvenir stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, and hotels follow each other on the riverfront and it’s a little unfortunate because Savannah is a historically charged town that needs quiet to allow reflection and reverie, too.

In the center of the brick-paved sidewalk, the African-American Monument stops me in my tracks.

A family of four, broken chains at their feet, stands on top of a thick granite base.

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It took seven years of labor to Dorothy Spradley, a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design to sculpt the seven hundred pound bronze statues.

Only a quote from Maya Angelou was fit for this moving piece of art:

 

“We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly into the holds of the slave ships, in each other’s excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together.

Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy…”

 

Only a step away from the riverfront, more than twenty public squares with monuments, lampposts, and benches grace distinct neighborhoods that remind me of France and Europe in general.

We search for Chippewa Square where Tom Hanks, seated on a bench, told most of Forrest Gump’s story. The prop bench is now at the Savannah History Museum, but the square located across the Savannah Theater (the oldest in the U.S.) is there with lovely wooden benches waiting just for you to listen to Savannah’s stories.

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Many renowned 21st century American writers come from the South. The great Flannery O’Connor was born and grew up in Savannah. Her childhood home on E. Charlton Street faces Lafayette Square, another beautiful square.

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Rain stops before dinner and we sit at the terrace of a restaurant in the lively City Market neighborhood. Horses, pulling carriages filled with joyful people, clip-clop on the brick-paved streets. The terrace fills with an equal mix of young and older guests. All are dressed a notch up in comparison to casual California style. Several women wear summer hats. I’m glad to have picked a pair of linen pants instead of my usual Levis. Yet the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with everyone enjoying a gorgeous summer night after an afternoon of rain.

Conversations climb up, too, when waiters and waitresses bring plates of fried green tomatoes, crab cakes served with tomato jam, and bourbon caramel bread pudding to the tables.

The inimitable southern accent sings in the air as we eat food that tells of the difficult yet rich history of the south. I am in another country, although the same language, which I made mine, year after year, is spoken all around me.

 

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P.S. In a recent post, Kimberly Sullivan has published the answers to the questions she so kindly asked me about my novel Trapped in Paris and my upcoming projects.

My time in Savannah reminds me of an interesting post Kimberly wrote recently about writing authentic-sounding dialogues for characters who may speak the same language but live in different countries. French language, for example, is different in France and Quebec. Not only different idioms but also different accents can make a common language appear almost foreign.

Kimberly knows something about the topic since she’s an American who lives with her family in Italy. From Rome, she blogs regularly and beautifully about writing, reading, traveling, and living abroad.

 

News from the Front

Back to school is behind me, and I slowly – it is very hot here – return to my ‘studious’ habits.

Good News:

Late spring, on a warm unproductive afternoon, I visited a bookstore. I was having doubts about finding the voice of my memoir. I entered A Book Barn where I had never been before that day and found a book that I believed was there just for me.

When I paid for Epitaph for a Peach, I spoke with the bookseller and mentioned my novel Trapped in Paris. She was interested, so I left a complimentary copy.

I read Epitaph for a Peach in one night – the writer had really found his voice – and returned to my manuscript, which I submitted soon after.

A Book Barn has just invited me to participate to their Mystery Book Festival event to be held on October 12.

A reading followed by Q&A and a signing with five other writers is always a nice way to spend a fall day, right?

Besides, I am always happy to get to know new people, especially happy when they write.

The lesson from my promotional work: never lose hope, learn to be patient.

Established contacts don’t produce immediate results. Don’t take a late answer for a no. Never take anything personally, although it is always personal of course.

Meanwhile, I am working on the publication of a new novel for Middle Graders. Like Trapped in Paris the story is for boys and girls. The story alternates between the voice of American boy Scott and French girl Sylvie. Two years ago, I submitted this manuscript to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It was a semi finalist, but didn’t go to the last round. The critics I received from the judges are encouraging, and I have decided to move on.

Bad News:

I am still struggling to finish the first draft of my dystopian novel.

News in Between:

I am still waiting for the editor and agent to get back to me for my memoir manuscript.

I am more a half full glass than half empty glass kind of person, so I figure, “No news, good news.”

Waiting for their answer, I am preparing two compilations.

Chez Moi aux USA:  my French blog posts that open a window on my life in the States.

Writing and Reading in a Foreign Language: a selection of posts from my blog in English focusing on the acquisition of a foreign language.

Gives me a perfect occasion to fix my typos.

Another learned lesson: never trust your spell-checker.

Even in your native language.

The Priceless Perks of a Children’s Bookstore

I like bookstores as much as I like libraries. And children’s bookstores even more. If paradise exists I want it to have a children’s bookstore.

In the US, too few are still in business. All owe their success to a good location in a supportive community but more often to the owner’s tireless hard work. In my opinion, few businesses bring more humanity to a street than a bookstore.

Yesterday afternoon, I visited The Children’s Cellar in Waterville. Waterville is home to Colby College, one of the three liberal art colleges of Maine. Waterville is also a typical American small town where residents work hard at maintaining a vibrant downtown.

It had rained all day long, and the bookstore was quiet when I entered. Two customers were browsing through the packed aisles. The wooden floor creaked just right under my pair of flats and the smell of paper made my heart beat faster.

I spotted the latest Sarah Dessen and chose it for my daughter –  a die-hard fan since the ripe age of ten years old. I saw Rick Riordan‘s books and remembered with nostalgia the time where my son read them faster than the prolific author could write them. There was a shelf dedicated to Maine authors and books about Maine. And countless picture books, lovingly arranged so young kids could dream upon them.

There was a photograph of a woman with Neil Gaiman. And it was signed by the author. The woman on the picture stood behind the counter. She could only be the owner. My heart beat even faster.

I approached her and asked if she had the latest Tommy Greenwald. I had bumped into the writer at a small local festival, but he had sold every single copy of his books. Don’t you wish it happened to you, too? I wanted his recent book because a Maine camp that my kids attended inspired the story.

“I ordered more copies,” the book owner told me.

And from there we started a lively conversation about books and authors and bookshops and Maine. She knew the owner of Hicklebee’s, one of the few children’s bookstores in California. Yes, she had met Neil Gaiman. And yes, I could leave a copy of my novel Trapped in Paris.

 

There is a war between Amazon and the traditional publishing world. There is truce between independently and traditionally published authors.

I like to think of peace between writers and booksellers.

On my way back home I passed a large Barnes and Noble. Since Borders has closed, its former rival B&N is trying hard to position itself as a ‘good guy.’ But I remember the times when small bookshops also closed when Barnes and Noble arrived in town.

The rain was now only a drizzle, yet my husband suggested buying a movie for a cozy night at the cabin. We agreed on a couple of French and American movies. But I didn’t go to the book section.

For some reason the same books stuck in their big business-looking displays didn’t strike me as inviting as their twins waiting for me on a personalized table in a crammed bookstore.

Priceless.

Thank Your Audience

Promoting a published novel is thrilling and daunting.

I could add that the work is even harder when the writer has opted for the DIY. But that would be manipulative. Everyone works hard, some harder, at marketing and promotion.

What I discovered when I published my novel Trapped in Paris is simple.

1-    The people who had supported me in the past in other aspects of my life put immediately their loyal fans’ hats on.

Morality: Your fan club depends of the size of your family and the number of your die-hard friends. AND of the way YOU have been supporting them in the past.

2-    The professionals who opened their doors to my book and to me were people I had known for many years. I am talking of teachers, librarians, and booksellers.

Morality: YOUR gift of time, genuine interest for their jobs, and business support pay off.

Next week, I will be presenting my novel at a local library. Since the audience will be diverse, I decided to focus on three major points:

1- Finding ideas for a story: I know kids will be in the room. Don’t you remember the struggle when a teacher asked us to write about something, anything? I found it harder than getting a prompt.

Ideas are within us or around us.

For Trapped in Paris, the inspiration was the explosion of a volcano in Iceland, two days after my daughter returned from France. What if she had been there and stuck at the airport?

2- Writing in a second language: Millions of children in California speak another language besides English. Some are proficient in English, some aren’t. Some have parents who don’t speak English at all.

Several teachers have told me that more and more children speak poor English, even though they are American-born and have American-born parents.

Lack of education + multiple underpaid jobs due to a slow economy + geographic inequality = poor readers.

Mastering a second language is difficult – I know the challenge.

However – again I know firsthand – mastering the language spoken where you make your home is key to assimilation and success

3- Q&A: I hope for many!

And last but not least, a tip from my husband/ most loyal fan : BE VISUAL.

I’m fully aware that my lovely accent – that’s not me who describe it that way – is not enough to keep people entertained and interested.

So I selected personal photographs to illustrate my background – I’m lucky to be from a photogenic country – and portray my journey as a writer.

Anyone who chooses to spend an hour on a lovely California Saturday afternoon inside a library deserves a well-prepared presentation.

I hope that my twenty slides will be my best thank you.

Talking About Writing? Absolutely.

Most writers I know prefer writing to promoting their work.

Before I jumped both feet in the business of publishing Trapped in Paris, my first novel for young readers, I laughed at the thought of promoting it.

I thought of promotion as the easy part of the job.  I would do it in a jiff – after all I had grown a thick skin between writing the story, revising it, copyediting it, and working through the whole process of publishing.

Really, talking about my story to young readers would be absolutely easy.

Guess what?

I had a first signing in a lovely children’s bookstore in November and I was nervous when I met my first buyer: a twelve-year-old girl.

At the second our eyes met I realized how important the moment was. This girl had decided to purchase my book rather than another book. Responsible is how I felt.

I was so concerned that I paused and worked on two different writing projects instead of focusing on promoting Trapped in Paris.

In the end, you know how what you try to avoid always catches up with you? Well, it did, and I am now facing three events, all linked to the publication of Trapped in Paris.

Two I didn’t choose:

A local school invited me on Dr. Seuss’s Day, also Read Across America celebrated on March 2.  A middle school student called me one morning.

“We would like to know if you are free that day,” she said. “Because we would very much like to have a local author to help the school celebrates.”

“Of course,” I said in a cheerful voice.

“It would be for the entire student body,” she said.

“Of course,” I said.

It was over the phone, so the girl had no idea that my heart was now pulsing so hard that I had to sit down.

All the time as I kept saying that yes, it would be wonderful and that yes I could talk about writing and that yes I was thrilled, I was mentally elaborating complicated plans to entertain an entire study body. How do you keep kids from kindergarten to eight grades alert, interested and engaged?

When I hung up, I was caught in an uncomfortable mix of excitement and anxiety.

But that wasn’t the end.

The same day one of the school’s language art teacher called me. She thought it would be absolutely great if I came into her class and spoke about writing in a second language.

That, I thought with a sigh, is something I know very well. I can definitely talk to a kid whose first language isn’t English.

“And of course,” the teacher added, “you will read a few pages of your book to the seventh and eight graders. A small assembly, really.”

“Of course,” I said in the same cheerful voice I used with the student.

I can’t blame anyone for the third event. I asked for it when I offered a copy of my book to a children’s librarian. She and I have known each other for a while. When my children were little, the children’s library was their second home. This librarian is young and engaging. She loves books and people who write books.

She was so supportive of my work that she immediately suggested a library event. How cool is that?

I’m very grateful and very fortunate that a student, a teacher and a librarian invited me to introduce my book and talk of the writing process.

Yet I dream of hiding in my small den, which overlooks a yard where daffodils are poking their shy noses, where quails and squirrels search for seeds, and where the Californian light is a perfect excuse for typing yet another story.

But the voices of the teacher, of the librarian, and moreover of the student, echo in my head.

“Please, would you be available to come over and talk with us about writing?”

Absolutely.

 

 

 

 

 

Première Dédicace

A part la dinde, tous les petits plats délicieux, et la visite de mes filles adorées, le highlight de mon week-end de Thanksgiving (vous dites week-end mais peut-être pas highlight en France, désolée) a été de dédicacer mon roman Trapped in Paris à Petunia’s Place

A Petunia’s Place, samedi 26 novembre 2012

, ma librairie locale samedi entre 11h et 14h. Une journaliste du Sierra Star m’a interviewée et a rédigé un petit article pour publiciser à la fois mon roman et l’évènenement.

Comme la saison des fêtes commence officiellement aux US le lendemain de Thanksgiving, la librairie était décorée et les livres de Noël et de toutes les fêtes célébrées aux US au mois de décembre étaient en présentoirs, sur les étagères et sur les tables. C’est donc dans une ambiance festive que j’ai signé mes premiers livres à un mélange de parents et de jeunes lecteurs.

Cinq autres auteurs étaient présents. Tous à l’exception d’une sont des auteurs et illustrateurs d’albums pour enfants.

Ma première jeune acheteuse avait 12 ans et c’est avec joie et aussi appréhension – je me demande toujours si l’histoire plaira et si le lecteur sera intéressé – que j’ai signé son livre.

D’autres évènements locaux suivront mais celui ci, le premier et dans une librairie où j’ai acheté tant de livres quand mes enfants étaient petits, était spécialement marquant pour moi.

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