First, Joyeuses Pâques. Happy Easter. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend, whether you’re newly back in lockdown or emerging from it. A few months ago, I had the pleasure to interview Beth Haslam in my occasional series, Ma Vie Française. Beth writes a very successful series of memoirs about her life in France, ‘Fat Dogs and French Estates’. She kindly returned the favour by inviting me to write an article for her website. I thought you might like to read it.
Beth gave me carte blanche to come up with a topic and an incredibly generous word limit of 2,500 words! After floundering about in my usual indecisive way, I hit upon the idea to explore why France is a gift for writers.
When I say writers, I don’t mean only authors of fiction, but also writers of non-fiction. I straddle both genres, as do many others.
And, of course, what makes France a gift for writers also makes it un cadeau for anyone who visits. In the article, I explore France’s scenery, history, language, people and cuisine. Even with such a generous length allowance, I was obliged to leave out a lot. After all, you could write books on the subject; many have.
Also, I make no apology if the article has a slightly rosy-tinted glow about it. Having lived in France for nearly 25 years, I have a pretty good grasp of its downsides. But, in present circumstances, I found it better to focus on the positive sides, of which there are many.
Here are the first couple of paragraphs.
My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in Southwest France nearly twenty-five years ago. My various careers all involved some form of writing. Then I turned to penning non-fiction (a blog, magazine articles) before launching myself into the deeper waters of historical fiction.
In normal times, France is the world’s number one tourist destination. Few countries offer so many attractions and advantages for visitors. France is also a happy hunting ground for writers. When Beth kindly invited me to write an article, after floundering around for a subject, I thought, “Why not explore what makes my adopted country, and my region in particular, such a writer’s paradise?” Here goes…
Read the rest of the article.
While you’re there, do take the opportunity to explore Beth’s blog. Her posts about her life in France, the animals she and her husband rear and protect and her visits to local places are fascinating. Bonne lecture !
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