I have to admit that I was slightly shocked when I received an email requesting me to participate in ‘The Next Big Thing’. Being in the company of some wonderful authors is a true honour. However, what I have noticed in the short space of time that I have been a published author, which sounds rather grand to me, but it is true as I keep getting these little cheques from Amazon, is that the way other authors help each other.
I do like to do my bit and promote other books about France on my website French Classified, which has a French book section. I am not worried about competition, in fact I embrace it. I feel that if someone enjoys a novel about life in France, then they will look for another one. As Amazon shows what other people who bought my book also bought, it also works both ways so my book shows in their list, well sometimes.
The person who tagged me was Victoria Corby who moved to the South West of France in 1993 with her husband, three daughters and elderly cat and they currently live half an hour from Bordeaux. She has four published novels to her credit, including Something Stupid, Seven Week Itch and Up To No Good,
What is the working title of your next book?
‘Encore Vantastic France’
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It is the sequel to Vantastic France, which was my first fictional novel based on stereotypical ex-pats living in Brittany. I thought I would take a different tack to the likes of ‘A Year in Provence’ or the standard true stories of families moving to France. In the sequel ‘white van man’ returns to France with a fish and chip van, which seems to be a growing business venture for a number of ex-pats. It is rather like a soap opera set in Brittany and I now have the main characters, so it is a matter of embellishing some gossip that I may have overheard, but of course none of the characters are based on real people!
What genre does your book fall under?
Going by Vantastic France it seems it would fit into the non-fiction Travel France, although it is fiction.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Clarissa, the snobby antique dealer could be Patricia Routledge from ‘Keeping up appearances’ or better still Penelope Keith from ‘The good life‘. Jean-Pierre the suave horse riding Frenchman would be played by Jean-Christophe Novelli. Barry Taylor the main character with a short temper but soft underneath is a bit like Gordon Ramsay the TV chef, so maybe Jimmy Nail from ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet‘ who also released the song Crocodile Shoes.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Slightly stolen from previous reviews;
‘A French-farce with a predominantly English cast, gossips, fist fights, drink drivers and fish and chips; the real lives of ex-pats in France.’
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will definitely self-publish, good returns and profit margins. I would love a publishing deal, but I have a feeling the publishers are not lining up for me just yet.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A fair way to go yet as I am trying to fine tune my writing skills, so it will take about 8 months in total. Unfortunately earning a living gets in the way.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Most books about a new life in France, although most of these are not fiction. It’s a bit more like the cringing TV show Benidorm, but Benidorm meets Brittany!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Initially a ‘white van man’ I met who moved to Brittany, I have always wanted to write a novel, so I thought why not start with what I know a little bit about.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The novel, although being tongue in cheek, does offer a less glossy insight into life for ex-pats in France. It shows what can go right, plus what could go wrong if you keep your rose tinted spectacles on.
The previous version seemed to be a ‘Marmite’ book for ex-pats, some loved and recognised the characters, others I might have rubbed up the wrong way. I can hear them saying; ‘Moi, an ex-pat snob, never!’
I would like to tag the following writers to continue the chain, I have read and enjoyed all of their books. Please re-visit this post and their links to give them time to get their own ‘Next Big Thing’ posts published.
Karen Bates author of ‘Faking it in France’ started writing as therapy she said it was that or Gin and Prozac, amazingly she found she loved it and couldn’t stop, she soon found she had written a book and then another. Does this Ring any bells with anyone?(Karen has no internet for a while so her post will be a little later.)
Helen Ducal – I am a big fan of ‘All expenses paid’, Helen’s tale of single woman baby sitting an 82 year old English woman called Betty living in France with her daughter. Betty’s boyfriend rode a large motorbike, so she turned out to be a bit of a fast woman to keep up with.
Alex Martin writes in her garden shed, which is where she created ‘The Twisted Vine’. The Twisted Vine, is based on a happy time picking grapes in France in the 1980s. She met some amazing people there, but none as outrageous as those that sprang to life on her screen.
Kerry Dwyer is a British ex-pat living in France. She teaches English to adults and is married to a French man. Her last novel ‘Ramblings in Ireland’ tells of a holiday taken in Ireland with her husband, of course being a story teller at heart she does go off on tangents, which makes for a wonderful read.