A Love Affair with French Bridges

In my opinion, France has some of the most remarkable bridges in the world. Here are four of my favorites, three of which are located in The City of Light.

Remembering the Lively Town of Tours

In 1979, when I was twenty-one, I traveled abroad and worked as an au pair for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. The small town of Songais where I lived was charming, but I was also drawn to the nearby larger town of Tours. Shortly after my arrival, Madame and I drove to Tours and she helped me sign up for classes at the Université François Rablelais. I had lots of questions about the city, so on the way back to the car, she paused at a tourist office and obtained a brochure detailing some of the highlights of Tours. Here is an excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley.

Memoir Nightmares

memoirsI’ve often wondered how the main characters in my memoir, the Dubois family, would feel if any of them picked up a copy of French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, I worked as an au pair for Madame and Monsieur Dubois in France in 1979. In 2007, when I decided to write my memoir, I searched the internet using their real names and found nothing. No mention of them at all. Another search using the name of their chateau produced zero results, so with trepidation I progressed with my project. Five years later, when I published my memoir, I revisited the subject of how the Dubois family might react to my story. I had changed the names of everyone I met in France and followed my diary religiously, but I still worried about the reaction of the Dubois Family. My name was on the cover, after all, and I was sure that Madame Dubois still cursed the day she took me in. Read my book and you’ll understand.

Nanny Chit Chat

My husband and I spend summers on our boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. Occasionally, we pull into towns and purchase moorage so we can gather provisions or do our laundry. Last summer, while I was at the Friday Harbor Marina Laundromat, I met a young woman named Rebecca (not her real name), and after basic introductions, we moved on to a surprising subject.

Four Things I’ve Learned as an Indie Author

indie-authorIt’s been a little over three years since I published my first book in The French Illusions Series and I thought I’d recap four things I’ve learned during that time.

Remembering the “Place de la Concorde” in Paris

Traveling abroad and living in Paris in 1980, when I was in my early twenties, was a big deal. It was the kind of experience I dreamed and talked about long before I worked out a way to make it happen. Even though I was on a tight budget at the time, I enjoyed La Ville Lumière, or City of Light, on many levels. Place de la Concorde, ParisOne of my favorite memories is the day I toured the Place de la Concorde with Michel. Here is an excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, describing this magical event.  

Enhanced Ending for French Illusions

FrenchXIllusionsXgirlXreadingI 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.   

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

When I worked as an au pair in the Loire Valley in 1979, baking and cooking chores appealed to me more than any of the others. Unfortunately, I seldom got the opportunity because my employer, Madame Dubois, felt the same way. One of the more unusual food-related tasks I performed at the Château de Montclair was making yogurt. Here is an excerpt from my book:

A Gift to Remember

In 1979, while I worked as an au pair for a family in the Loire Valley in France, I spent a few Saturdays at the local middle school helping the teacher, Madame Bernard, teach English to her students. During the holidays, I visited the school and the children surprised me with box filled with Christmas presents.  The doll in this photograph was one of those gifts. I’m so pleased that I kept it safely tucked away all these years. Here is an excerpt from my book detailing this special event:

Foreshadowing in “French Illusions”

Foreshadowing is a great way to hint to a reader that a future event will occur in your story. According to Wikipedia, “It is also sometimes used to arouse the reader.” The writer can do this with dialog or an action, and the “hint” often occurs at the end of a chapter or scene. You don’t want the reader to put the book down. You want the reader to turn the page because they “have” to find out what happens next.