I want to thank all of my readers who have posted positive reviews of French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley. I’ve received so many delightful, positive comments over the last few years, but this wasn’t always the case. Early on I received a consistent criticism, gulp…about my abrupt ending. At first, I didn’t get it. I thought my readers wanted the story to continue until all of the remaining questions were answered, no matter how long the book became. The truth is that after I outlined my first diary, I realized that I had too much story left in my second diary for only one book. I agonized over where to end my first memoir and came to the conclusion that a natural place to break the story occurs after my au pair experience. Questions like, “What happens to Linda and Adam,” “Does Linda ever learn French” and “Does she ever become a flight attendant” are not answered until my second book, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris.
It finally dawned on me about a year after I published, that my readers were talking about something else entirely. They were unhappy with “the way” the story ended. When readers complained about my abrupt ending, they literally meant that the story fell off a cliff. Given the intense drama at the end of my story, they needed a softer, smoother conclusion. With this in mind, on September 21, 2013, I added a new chapter to my book, extending and enhancing the ending to my memoir. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My reviews are consistently better after this addition and I rarely receive a negative comment about my ending. I learned an important lesson — authors, should listen and learn from their audience. I learned this the hard way.