Ep 140 Bring your personality into your author platform. And meet Beatrice Colin, author of “To Capture What We Cannot Keep”.

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podcast-artworkIn Episode 140 of So you want to be a writer: Holiday packing tips for writers, top punctuation mistakes, the science behind reading print books for kids. Our word of the week is “fart”. Discover how you could win a copy of The Girl On The Train book and DVD pack. Why you need to bring your personality into your author platform and meet Beatrice Colin, author of To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
From Hayley Dory Glasson:

I love “So you want to be a writer” podcast, I always look forward to a new episode to download and listen to when i go and pick up my boss’s daughter from her work. Keep up the awesome work Valarie and Aliison, I am learning so much as I am currently writing my first novel, and my first time doing NaNo-Wri-Mo.

Thanks, Hayley!

Show Notes

6 Packing Tips for Writers Who Want to Hit the Road

10 Top Punctuation Problems for Writers

The Science Behind Why You Should Keep Reading Print Books

Writer in Residence

Beatrice Colin
Beatrice Colin is the author of the novel To Capture What We Cannot Keep which was published in the US in 2016 by Flatiron Books. It will also by published in the UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Poland and the Czech Republic in 2017.

She also wrote The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite (published as The Glimmer Palace in the US) and The Songwriter. She has been shortlisted for a British Book Award, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award and writes short stories, screen and radio plays and for children.

Beatrice is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Follow Beatrice on Twitter

Like Beatrice’s Facebook page

Platform Building Tip

How do you bring personality into your author platform?

Answered in the podcast!

Competition

WIN The Girl on the Train book and DVD pack!

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Interview Transcript

Valerie

Thanks so much for joining us today, Beatrice.

Beatrice

Thank you for asking. It’s very exciting.

Valerie

Yes. Well, we’re very keen to talk to you because you’ve written such a wonderful book: To Capture What We Cannot Keep. Now, for some of the readers, and listeners, who haven’t read your book yet, can you tell us what it’s about?

Beatrice

Yes. It’s an historical book set in the 1880s in France, in Paris. And it’s about a woman who leaves Glasgow in Scotland to go to Paris to look after these two young people, really, in their 20s. And she meets an engineer who was involved with the construction of the Eiffel Tower. He was actually a real person called Emile Nouguier. And it’s about their relationship, how it develops. And basically, that period, it was very difficult to… If you’re a woman in your 30s, as she was, and she’s widowed, it was very difficult to continue on and have a life because of the conventions of the time. So it’s a love story set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

Valerie

Now that’s pretty unique! A unique combination of things. How did that idea form? Have you got a thing for the Eiffel Tower? Or how did you decide to write this book?

Beatrice

Well, I used to be a fashion editor for a Scottish paper and I used to go to Paris quite a lot. And I’ve also got a relative who lived there – she’s dead now, but she used to live there. And like most people, when you go to Paris, you see the Eiffel Tower because it just towers above everything. And I used to always avoid it because it’s full of tourists. Basically, if you go anywhere near it you just get swallowed by buses of Japanese tourists.

I had actually been there once when I was about eighteen and I kind of climbed the first ladder. But that’s all. I didn’t have much money so I went to the first level and that was it. And I think one day I was there and I just sort of looked at it and thought “what on earth is that building doing there?” It looks so different from everything else. And why was it built? And I had absolutely no idea why it was built and who did it. Eiffel Tower. I had a vague idea that Gustav Eiffel was an engineer. But I didn’t know when. I didn’t know anything about it.

So I came home, I looked it up on Wikipedia. And I thought, wow, this is actually a really interesting story. Because it was, as you probably know from reading the book, it was only meant to last for twenty years. And here is this incredible building from the 1880s which is still there. It’s become such a symbol of Paris. I found it a really fantastic story. I thought this is a great backdrop for a novel.

But also I was interested in the period, and Paris in the 1880s was really incredible. It was a period of change, of art, writing, and music. And the Eiffel Tower, it almost symbolises this new way of thinking. And then I thought, well, how does that connect to people? And the more research I did the more I realised that while all these changes were happening, for most people life was very difficult and challenging. And we had all these very old-fashioned conventions like, for example, the duel which I have in my book. That was still happening. And yet they were building these amazing buildings, and doing these amazing paintings. And composing incredible music. So that was the idea behind it.

Valerie

And so, many of your previous novels were also historical fiction, but not set in the same place. Why do you like to write historical fiction?

Beatrice

I think I like to learn. I like research. I love researching. I love discovering stories I didn’t know. The last, maybe you’ve seen The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, that came out about eight years ago, that’s about Berlin in the 1930s. About the rise of fascism, basically. It starts in 1900 and goes to 1939, which is a crazy amount of research to do and I would never do it again. It was fun, but it was a lot of reading. I just wanted to discover something. And I learned all about Germany and about how the people who were in Germany at the time of the First World War and the Second World War, how they suffered.

I like to learn, I like to find out stuff about people. There’s usually a narrative about things where we think we know about Germany, we think we know about the war, we think we know about these things. And when you start to look into it, you find that there’s many narratives that haven’t been told. And often we don’t know. The idea we have is wrong. Slightly wrong. So I love unearthing different narratives.

Valerie

So as you said that, that’s The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite. And there’s also The Songwriter which is set in New York around 1916. And as you said, this one’s in Paris. You say you like to learn, which I completely understand, because sometimes you can get a bit lost in the learning. Do you, let’s take the one in Berlin, do you take the location first and start researching and then think of the story to go with it? Or the other way around?

Beatrice

Um… I think it’s really important to write about people. So, I suppose… The Berlin novel, the reason I wrote that was because my great aunt had lived in Berlin in the 20s. She’d come from Russia and lived there. And then moved to Paris. She was the same one that lived in Paris, after. And she lived there for four or five, a couple of years. And it was I think in 1927 when she worked for the film industry. And when she was a very old lady, I was volunteered by my father to take her on a holiday to the seaside and Paris. She used to go every year to Cannes and then when she got very old she used to go to a place called Cabourg on the north coast. And I used to go with her from Paris in a taxi. But she was very interesting. She was very argumentative. She was very cultured. And she used to say to me, “you must have heard of UFA, the wonderful German film industry.” And I’d be like, not really. And wanting to show off. How can you not have heard of that? So I originally learned about that just to have ammunition to argue with her.

So I read up on it, and found this incredible story all about the Berlin film industry. But I suppose when I wrote it, I wanted to imagine what it was like for her to live there at that period. So it’s kind of, I’m interested in history, but I’m also interested in what it was like as an experience to be that person, to be people living in that period. And what was it like to be working in the film industry in the 30s. Or what was it like to be living in the 1880s in Paris. What did it feel like to wear the clothes?

So it’s almost, writing for me is a bit like wanting to experience second hand, so I can experience… So for example I’m very interested in what they ate, what they wore, what they did. Not just the kind of history you get in books which tells you dates, and they did this, and they did that, and did that. What did it feel like to wear seven layers of clothes as they did in the 1880s? Obviously, I don’t know, because I didn’t ever actually try them on. But I can imagine. And the more you learn about things, the more you can imagine the fact that you have a crinoline, and a bustle, a bit of wire, you have an undershirt. It must have been boiling. And very uncomfortable. So I suppose it’s that kind of way into… Using history to get into the period and then imagining who would live here. What kind of people would they be? How would that affect your life and the way you express yourself?

The most important thing are the people. And then after that, every story needs a conflict. What would be the biggest conflict for a person living in that period? I think for every woman we now… Thirty, for example, as a woman now is young and you’ve got tonnes of opportunities. You can have children, get… You can do anything in your thirties, same as when you’re twenty. But in 1880, when you were thirty, you were totally ancient. Because most people got married when you were twenty-two, twenty-one. That was the kind of age. If you’d been widowed and you were that age, your life was practically over. So that was very interesting.

And then Berlin, I had the film industry. It had me thinking what would be the most interesting to write about? Would it be a writer? Would it be a secretary? And then I thought, well, actually an actress would be the most interesting. Because they experienced the whole, what it was like to be in the German film industry in a very immersive way. So that’s why I did that.

Valerie

And so, as you say, with history there’s dates and the big events. And that’s very easy to find out, and find out more about. But I think that, you’ve hit the nail on the head, you obviously did enjoy finding out how they experienced all those little things, because you’ve woven them into the book so seamlessly. So let’s just take the Paris one as an example. How did you find out? How do you go about researching what they ate? And what particular kind of corsets they might have worn? And that sort of thing. What they did on a day to day basis. How did you find that out?

Beatrice

I think just reading novels. There’s a whole series of travel books called Baedekers. Have you heard of them? They were brought out in the Victorian times, right up to the 30s and 40s. And they were these little red books for travellers. Because travel at that point was fairly exciting and fairly… Well, it wasn’t new, but how do you navigate a city, for example. So the Baedekers will have, for Paris, they’ll have all the restaurants that you should go to, how much they cost, and the hotels. All the Louvre, where to go. And sometimes it would say, “this restaurant is particularly good for pastries” or whatever. And “it costs seventeen francs for a set course meal including wine” or something. So they will give you roughly the ballpark. So I can find out where they would have gone, roughly how much they would have spent. The kind of food they would have eaten. That’s kind of through novels.

For example, for the Lily Aphrodite book, I think I was looking for what kind of food they would eat in the 20s. Or 1911. And I found online the menu from the Titanic. And that had all the different courses that they actually ate at that period. It mostly sounds horrible. But it was quite interesting to see what they would have eaten. And what they would have worn. I mean you can go to look at advertisements of the time. We have… costume museums.

Having the internet is a fantastic benefit. People on Pinterest, for example, there’ll be whole sites of the 1880s, which will have 200 photographs or images of pictures of what people would have worn. And just kind of, I used to be a journalist. So I suppose I’m quite good at digging that stuff. If I think to myself, okay, I want to find out exactly what kind of restaurant, what kind of dinner they would have had in 1887, and I would follow my nose. Any books or through newspapers or advertising. What else? Even watching movies or photographs. It’s all sorts of things, basically. There’s no kind of one place I go to. I kind of amalgamate information from whatever I can find.

Valerie

So it’s great to have that background as a journalist, as you say, because it becomes second nature to you to find out this kind of stuff. And it also becomes second nature to you, I imagine, to get it right. Now, you have been a journalist. You’re a feature writer. When did you decide that you wanted to write fiction? Or did you always know you wanted to write fiction but that just came later?

Beatrice

I used to, the kind of feature writing I did was very long pieces. Two to three thousand pieces. Like, I went down to Albania once, for two weeks, which was an experience I wouldn’t want to repeat. It was fun, but it was kind of a crazy place. And I went to Butlins holiday camp for a 1970s weekend. So there were kind of things I went to and did and experiences. And then I basically had kids. I used to write obituaries, as well. But all of a sudden, when I had my kids, it was very difficult to make the deadlines. Because I’d get phoned up and say, will you do this by today at half past three. Yeah, fine. But once you have a kid it’s very difficult to do that.

But I also started, I entered a competition for radio writing. It was Radio 4, and they had a competition for young writers, and I sent in a short story. It was the first short story I had ever written, and it won. So I went down to London and they were recording and they said do you have any other ideas for radio plays? And I was like, ah, yeah! So I thought up a good idea for a radio play, and that was recorded. The BBC, they were my first break, my first commission. I still write for them, the radio journal. And then after that I started writing more short stories.

I interviewed an agent, for the Scotsman, a very nice man named Giles Gordon. And at the end of it he sent me a note saying, “thank you very much, that was wonderful. If you ever want an agent, please get in touch.” And I was like, wow. Does he mean it? Is he just saying it because he was being polite? And I thought, oh, I better try and send him my stories and see what he thinks. So he took me out for lunch, and I remember we sat there when we were having lunch and he was chatting it away. He was a lovely old man. He was about sixty and he knew everybody. Worked with Prince Charles and Fay Weldon. He was very highly established and sweet. And then half way through the lunch I kind of went, “are you, do you want to represent me?” And he kind of looked at me as if to say, I’m sitting you buying you lunch. What do you think? And I went, oh, okay. Okay, lovely thanks. Okay. And so he took me on. And I only had short stories. And then I wrote a screenplay, I didn’t think people would be interested in it, but he said this would make a great novel. So I thought, oh, you think so? Okay. So I used that as the basis for a novel. That was my first novel. And he actually died after a few years, he fell down, it ended tragically. But he was my first supporter, and he encouraged me to go off and do these things and write a novel. And I’d never actually thought of doing one before that, but then when he suggested this I was like, oh, well maybe I could write a novel. So that’s how I started.

Valerie

Now, you’ve also written children’s books, right? So what was that experience like compared to writing books for adults?

Beatrice

Well, the first one was with a friend of mine called Sara Pinto, who is a children’s illustrator. And her son is the same age as my daughter, and we met at nursery school. And one day we thought wouldn’t it be fun to write a book together. So every day I used to go down to her house, and we’d sit and we’d drink coffee and eat chocolate. And I made her type, because I thought if I type I’ll write it myself. Because I’m quite a fast typer. And if she types, then she’ll be more involved. And she’s the worst typer ever. She took absolutely ages; it was so annoying. I’d sit there watching her, like two fingers. But we wrote this book together called My Invisible Sister, which we sold to America, to Bloomsbury. And it didn’t do that well, but it was fun to write. And it did get taken up, Disney bought it. So there’s now a movie called The Invisible Sister. So that’s nice. That was good fun.

When I wrote that with her I just thought, yeah, this is really good fun. I could probably write one myself next. So after that I decided to write an adventure story. Really for my son, because he likes reading, but he likes fast paced books which are exciting. And I had read him a lot of stories like that. Like James Bond ones. So I decided to write a book about pirates, a historical fiction about what it was like to be a pirate. Which turned out, like most of my books, not to be quite like what you think it would be like. Pirates were actually much, so some of them were obviously murderous and awful and horrible company. But then I discovered that a lot of them had a very strong code of conduct, and they had a pirate’s charter that you had to sign to get on a boat. You had to agree not to get drunk and not to disagree with the captain. I wrote a book called The Pyrate’s Boy, about a boy who becomes a pirate. It was great fun. And I had plans to write a second one, but I haven’t actually got around to it.

Valerie

Did you find it easy to slip into that age group?

Beatrice

I did actually. The thing about writing for children is that you have, you write all these incredible adventures, but the actual emotional dramas are quite simple. So I had, this boy he meets this captain called Captain Black Johnny. And they had this relationship where the boy, like most children’s books, the boy is much more competent and clever than the captain. He’s a bit, he’s quite nice and very charming and very dashing, but he’s not 100% on the ball, so quite often the boy will save the day. You know, it’s that kind of relationship. And he grows to love the pirate, Black Johnny, as a kind of father figure. So the emotional relationship is quite simple. Whereas when you’re writing for adults, emotional relationships are much more complicated. And it often takes much longer to work out how you navigate those emotional complexities. Whereas children’s books are simple.

Valerie

What did you enjoy most about writing To Capture What We Cannot Keep? About the process of writing it?

Beatrice

I have written about war. The Berlin book was all about the Second World War. And then The Songwriter was about the First World War. Now in the two, I wrote a book about the Spanish Civil War, which I’m still working on. So I wrote big heavy tomes about battles. And then after that I thought, I don’t want to write about war. I want to write about something which is kind of more fun, and more kind of interesting. Where people don’t die all the time. So I loved researching the period, 1880s in Paris. I absolutely loved it.

But right now I’m sitting at my desk and I thought, above my desk is a picture of the ice rink in the park, the Bois de Boulogne, which is not there anymore. And I’ve got an etching of it which I bought from the 1880s. But I also love going to Paris, because it’s a wonderful excuse. So I had to go research things! So I went to Paris quite a few times to go to various places, and to do things, like rowing on the Bois de Boulogne on a boat and just walking around and absorbing the atmosphere. And I love Paris. I don’t think it’s changed, obviously it’s changed a lot in 100 years, but still the architecture was created to kind of be very permanent and give you a sense, I mean, the spaces are huge in Paris. I don’t know if you’ve been to Paris.

Valerie

Many years ago.

Beatrice

You’re walking along the street and the fairground buildings and then you walk into a huge area. Next to the Louvre, for example, and the bridges and it’s all very grand and beautiful. So you feel a certain way when you’re there. And I’m sure it felt the same a hundred years ago.

Valerie

When you are writing, so in the throes of writing, what’s your typical day like? Do you have a particular routine? Any writing rituals that you have in the morning? Do you have a wordcount target?

Beatrice

Well, as a former journalist, I’m definitely quite obsessed with wordcount. So I try to make a minimum of 500 words and probably a maximum of about 1000. If I start going over 1000, then I’m probably writing rubbish. So I try and stop. I always usually rewrite, re-read and rewrite what I’ve written the day before, to get me into writing. And I usually have a piece of music which I use throughout that project. So to get myself into the frame of mind when I’ve stopped, I play the music. And it has to be the kind of music which doesn’t have words, as most writers will say. But a piece of music, maybe piano, something specific, to give me the sense of where I was the day before.

Valerie

That’s interesting. Michael Cunningham does the same, told me that he does the same thing. But what was your piece of music for To Capture What We Cannot Keep?

Beatrice

Well, there’s a couple of pieces. I like a guy called Max Richter. Have you heard of him? He’s a film composer. He writes for film. And there’s also a guy, what’s his name? Things like, sometimes I listen to Chopin and Bach. Sort of piano music. I play the piano very badly, but quite often I listen to piano music. Who else? Somebody else as well, but I can’t remember his name.

Valerie

That’s okay. So you’re a lecturer in creative writing in Glasgow. What do you think the biggest mistakes people make are? People who are trying to write fiction, good fiction?

Beatrice

I think they probably think it’s finished when it isn’t. I think good writing, which reads smoothly on the page, has been written… I don’t mean, when I say re-written, I don’t mean completely rewritten. But I mean read and a few words changed here and there, and read again and again and again and again. So it reads a certain way, so it has a sort of smoothness. It’s almost like combing hair; you have to go over it again and again and again. Picking out a word and putting in another one and making sure all the sentences all flow well together. So they probably think, they say it’s finished. And I look at it and think, well, I can tell you haven’t quite finished it. Or it needs more work. Also plotting is very difficult for everybody. And I think my students all find plot difficult. I find it difficult. It’s like a mathematical puzzle, you have to try and figure out…

Valerie

Do you plot first? Do you plot before you…?

Beatrice

I usually, I know where I’m going. I know the ending. And I know roughly how I’m going to get there. But I leave room for myself to be surprised. So if something comes along and I go, oh, of course, yes, of course, he hid the whatever in the cupboard! And that’s changed the plot. So I’m quite open to things that change. I have a rough idea but I will diverge if I find something better. Because quite often writing is a process. It’s very difficult to have a whole novel in your head.

And also in the process of writing things, you learn how the book should be when you write it and you learn how the characters should act. And it’s only in the middle of it you can see it. You can’t see it from the beginning. You have to be in it before you know, or before you can see things. So be prepared to be surprised and for things to kind of pop up and go, that’ll happen.

But plotting’s very difficult. And I always tell my students that it has to be two by two equals four. You can’t have two by two equals five. So if you start off with a problem, you can’t answer another one at the end. You know, she’s in love with the wrong man and it’s all awful. And then at the very end she discovers her mother was a nun. Something else. It has to answer the problem otherwise it doesn’t work. And quite a lot of people make that mistake and sort of answer another question. And I think, that doesn’t make sense. That’s the kind of thing I talk about. But plotting is really difficult.

And there isn’t the right plot, either. There’s many plots. And you just have to choose the one, or go with the one which feels right at the time. And that can change. I personally knew, even though I had an idea for an ending, I’ve rewritten it maybe five or six times. But just knowing that I’ve got the ending gives me the confidence to write towards it.

Valerie

So what is your suggestion to your students about how to improve their plotting? Is it to follow what you just said that you did? Where you know what’s going to happen in the end and vaguely what some key points in the middle, and then just let yourself explore?

Beatrice

I give them, it’s the most infuriating pieces of advice that I’m sure they get really annoyed with me, but I just say, “if you think it’s going to work, try it.” They come to me and say “will that work?” And I’m like, I don’t know. Try it and see. See if it works. Can’t you just tell me if it’s going to work? No, I can’t. You have to try it and see. It might work, it might not. And they kind of, just tell me what I can write so I can write my book. And I can’t. You have to just think of an idea and try it. And they get, you know. It’s probably… And eventually they come to me with a plot and they’re like yeah, and I’m like, yeah, you got it. Well done. But you had to, there isn’t any right way. There’s just many ways. And some will work better than others. And that way works, so well done.

Valerie

Can you give us an idea, if you can hopefully you can remember some key dates, or just some timeframes of how long did it take to get your first draft? And after that point how long it took to do rewrites or editing? Can you give us some timeframes on that?

Beatrice

Yeah, I think so. I think it took me about a year and a half to write a first draft. And then it took me another, probably, because I worked, so it was probably longer. But I think working is a good thing. Because it’s good to leave it, write it and leave it, put it aside for a few weeks, whatever, and then come back to it. But probably about a year and a half. And then probably another six months to go over it and do another draft. And then I’d show it to my agent and she passed on some suggestions. I’ll go back with it and fiddle around with it some more. And then it was sent to, and then my editor would have some suggestions as well. So I’d go back and have a look at it and fiddle around a little.

So probably about three years. Because, as you probably know, getting it published, getting it to a publisher who likes it, getting it in the system takes a long time. And then it’s taken me over two years for… Because they slot it into a publishing date. So it was probably finished a year and a half ago, but it’s taken a year and a half for it to come out.

Valerie

You mean, it was finished a year and a half ago and that included the edits, the revisions after the edits?

Beatrice

Yes.

Valerie

Right. All right. So in terms of what you’re doing now, what’s next for you?

Beatrice

I’ve actually got another novel, it’s about a plant hunter. When I was writing about Paris and Berlin, it was great fun, but I thought actually I want to write something about Scotland. Because I live here and it’s kind of, it would be fun to write something which is about here. So, although Glasgow is involved, is mentioned in To Capture What We Cannot Keep. I became interested in plant hunting. Basically Victorian, usually men, who went to places like China and Tibet and South America, places where nobody went, to look for plants which hadn’t been discovered before. So they travelled for years, a couple of years at a time, and quite often came to sticky ends. Either died of terrible diseases, or fell down cliffs. But they sent back seeds to Kew Gardens in London or to Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. And if you found a plant, it was named after you. So there’s quite a lot of rhododendrons and flowers which all have these names of these Scottish plant hunters, like Forrest, which is George Forrest. So I decided to base my novel on a fictional plant hunter, who is operating around 1912. And it’s about him, but it’s mostly about his wife who comes back from India where she’s been living to Scotland to see her sister who lives there in a big house called Barra Mara. And the two of them live with this man who’s gone away and their relationship to him is quite different. So it’s about these two women and how they deal with this absent man who is obsessed with plant hunting.

Valerie

Wow. It’s very specific.

Beatrice

Yes. I’ve wrote about a third of it so far, but it’s based in 1911 and I’ve had to learn all about how you searched for plants and the process of it and how the whole, how you collect seeds. I haven’t actually been to India and I’ve never been to Tibet, but how they traversed the land, and what they did. How they spoke to natives and how they operated.

Valerie

That’s fascinating. You’ve gone to, you obviously have very, very different settings and you literally learn a whole new world each time with your research. Do you retain that information? Or is it kind of like exams and when it’s done it’s done? You know what I mean?

Beatrice

I kind of do, actually. I kind of do. I mean, when I went to Berlin last year, and when I went to Berlin, when I wrote that book that had a fictional orphanage in a place in Berlin, and I know exactly where it is. It’s strange, because I decided to have that orphanage there because there was nothing there anymore because it was all bombed in the war. And it could have been there. But it wasn’t, obviously, it was invented. But it could have been there. And it’s funny, when you go through Berlin on the S-Bahn, I look across at where I had the orphanage, and think, oh that was where the orphanage was. Even though it wasn’t, it was never there ever. It’s kind of weird. I’ve got this imaginary city in my head as well as the real one. And same as Paris. I walk around and go, that was where they did that thing. No, no, of course not, that was in my head.

Valerie

Oh, how funny. Well, I think people are definitely transported to Paris. Well, not only to Paris, but to another era when they read this book. But it also has this incredibly strong story. And as I said, I read a bit of historical fiction and sometimes when you read it you actually think to yourself, “I can see that they researched that bit and they wanted to put that in”. But I never got that feeling with this book. It was just seamless. So congratulations on the book, and thank you so much for talking to us today.

Beatrice

Well, thank you very much. I really enjoyed it.

 

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