Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mark and Lynn interview author Eloisa James about Paris in Love

In 2009 NY Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a chance that many people merely fantasize about: she sold her house, took a break from her job as a  Professor of Shakespeare, and summarily moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her sweet, funny and eventful year soaking in the fashions, art, atmosphere and of course food and drink (with her Italian husband and entertaining young children in tow) in a city well known for it's romantic quality.

Ms. James was nice enough to correspond with Mark and Lynn about her work, French food and what it takes to be a good romance novelist. 

M & L: How did living in Paris change your palate and the way you eat?  

EJ: "I don’t think it changed my palate. But it made me wistful for a life I don’t have here in the U.S., where I am overworked: a life in which one spends two hours lingering over an excellent lunch, followed by a peaceful nap (not a cat nap), and then caps the day with a lingering meal with people one loves, none of whom are teenagers. Perhaps in my next life!"

M & L: Did all of the great food and wine make you jaded or cause you to take this aspect of your life in Paris for granted?

EJ: "It made me envious. Although, as I point out in Paris in Love, there is an extraordinary amount of bad food served in Parisian restaurants. One has to be careful not to idolize the French too much: they happily eat at restaurants that could not survive in New York City, in my estimation."

M & L:  What would you say your favorite food/meal was while in Paris?  Your least favorite?

EJ: "I grew to treasure the way the French make hot chocolate, with one small pitcher of steaming milk, and another of excellent chocolate, so rich and dark that it slides into the milk like a helping of mud. Mixed together—in just the proportions that you love—it is truly a drink for the gods."

"My least favorite meal took place, unfortunately, at a Michelin starred restaurant. I ordered tĂȘte de veau, or calf's head, and that was a mistake."

M &L : Was it hard to stay in shape in Paris with all of the great, rich food or did you manage to keep yourself fit?

EJ: "In a word: Yes!"

5.  What do you believe are the key differences between a good romance novelist and a bad or mediocre one?

The best romances have a rhythm and a promise that works. I know the world is a tough and cold place; I’ve lost my mother and I have a child with a chronic illness. But—and this is a big but—I also know that love and joy make all the difference. A great romance reminds the reader that if there’s a pattern to the universe, it’s one shaped around and by love. We can all use that reminder now and then.

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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