“Paris Is always a good idea” – even if only in your mind.
Paris, also known as the city of light, has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I suppose it’s no surprise since the nickname “city of light” doesn’t refer to its amount of electrical illumination, but rather it is called the “city of light” because of the high concentration of artists, writers, and academics that fill the city. There must be something about Paris that draws the thinkers and dreamers to it like lightning to a lightning rod. It certainly draws me to it.
Sadly, I was all set to go to Paris to do some boots on the ground research when the tragic bombings took place. Because I was planning to take my sons, my husband and I had to have a sit down chat about the risks of traveling abroad when the temperament of the world at large was exceedingly unpredictable. In the end, I agreed the trip would have to wait, still I was on deadline and the research had to be done.
I used all sorts of online reference tools, Google Earth and YouTube being the favorites, but I also immersed myself in a million books about Paris to try and capture the feel of the city from first hand accounts, fictional tales, historical tomes, you name it. I went from feeling as if I had set an impossible task for myself – to write accurately about a place I had never been – to feeling like there was just too much information to cram into one book.
Suddenly, I felt as if it would be too easy to get something wrong. Because so many people have traveled there and so much had been written about it, I was sure to mess it up. Ack! Can you say pressure?
In times of high anxiety, when the “what if?” demon is clawing at me, I use my greatest weapon to beat it back. It’s simple but effective and I’ve taught it to my sons, because let’s face it, the teen years are fraught with anxiety. When I would start to freak out about the book: What if I get my facts wrong? What if I confuse the left and right banks? What if I mess up a description? Then I would take a deep breath and ask myself: And what if you don’t? Then I would be fine — for about ten minutes before I would have to ask myself again: And what if you don’t? Eventually, you really do calm down, I swear.
It became a personal challenge to me to be as accurate as I could possibly be in describing Paris, with some fictional license, of course. The upside to the total immersion of research that I did is that when I do get to Paris, and I will, I’m going to know exactly where to go, when to go, and how to get there – it’s all in my notes!
Here’s a description of ASSAULT AND BERET, so you can join me in Paris without having to leave the comforts of your own home. I must say, there is something to be said for traveling fictionally – no bags to pack, no airports to contend with, and you don’t even need a passport!
Allons-y to Paris for more hats and homicide from the New York Times bestselling author of Copy Cap Murder!
London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.
William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it’s up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They’ll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception…
THANKS FOR LETTING ME VISIT!