My last in a series of interviews with the talented authors who took the time to read my latest novel, A PERFUMER'S SECRET. Today, I'm chatting with Juliette Sobanet, the author of romance novels set in France, and most recently, a memoir: MEET ME IN PARIS.
Like me, you’re a real Francophile. How and when did you first fall in love with the country?
I took my first trip to France when I was fifteen years old and it was love at first pain au chocolat. I had never seen a place more beautiful than Paris, and I decided then that I would spend the next several years studying French so that I could become a French professor and one day live in France. It’s been almost twenty years since that first trip, and in that time I’ve lived and studied in France, I’ve taught French to hundreds of students, and I’ve eaten more chocolate croissants than I can count. My love for France has only grown stronger over the years…and I suspect it will grow even more when I move back to Paris one day soon!
Tell us about your favorite spots in France…
During my junior year of college, I spent a semester studying in Lyon, which is a charming city just two hours south of Paris by train. Lyon is the most vibrant, happy city I’ve ever lived in, and I am constantly telling people, “You must go to Lyon!” It is known as the gastronomical capital of France, and the food really is outstanding. Along those lines, I would recommend eating at Le Nord, a Paul Bocuse brasserie located in the center of the city. And at Le Nord, you must eat le fondant au chocolat for dessert. It will change your life. Really, it will.
Another spot I adore is Annecy, a fairytale town in the French Alps. With a sparkling lake, snow-capped mountains, castles, and decadent fondue restaurants sprinkled among the winding cobblestone streets, it really is a glorious little paradise.
And of course the south…St. Tropez and Cassis are two of my favorite towns along the French Riviera. That coastline is absolutely stunning, and really, you must go!
What inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
I’ve had the writing bug since I was a little girl, and it only grew stronger as I got older. When I was in Paris completing my master’s degree, I spent a few weeks writing my thesis at the end of the program and realized that I loved the process of writing something longer than the usual short stories, poems, or journal entries I was accustomed to writing. I had my first book idea while I was living there, and as soon as I finished my degree and returned to the states to begin teaching French, I started writing my first novel, SLEEPING WITH PARIS. Much like my love for France, writing is such a part of me now that I am only my best version of myself when I am writing every day.
Your latest book, MEET ME IN PARIS, is a memoir – unlike your previous work, which was fiction. What were the challenges of writing about yourself?
My memoir covers a very tumultuous time in my life—my divorce and my love affair with a most unavailable man. Writing the story of these two loves and how I survived the loss of both was an incredibly cathartic and powerful experience. But it was not easy. There were many days where the scenes had me crying and reliving the experience as if it was happening all over again. But I wanted my writing to be raw and authentic, and I knew I had to let myself feel all of those emotions again in order to reach my readers. The saving grace was, of course, Paris! Thankfully this wild time in my life included two long, beautiful trips to France, and writing about my travels and all of my lovely friendships there made me realize, once and for all, that I do belong in France.
What’s next for you now? Can we expect more romantic fiction set in France? Tell us about your upcoming projects.
Yes, I’m back to writing romance set in France! I’m so happy to say that because for a long time romance just wouldn’t pour out of me the way it used to. But we are back in business, and I’m currently working on a magical romance about two star-crossed lovers in Paris. The book will release later this year, and it will be the first in a series of Paris romances with magical elements. In addition to my fiction, I’m also blogging for The Huffington Post, and I am planning my move to France!
About Juliette Sobanet
Juliette Sobanet is the award-winning author of five Paris-based romance and mystery novels, four short stories, a book of poetry, and a new memoir, Meet Me in Paris. Her books have hit the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon US, UK, France, and Germany, and her novels have been translated into Italian, Romanian, and Turkish, with more on the way. Juliette is now a blogger for The Huffington Post, and she is the host of an exciting new travel show called Secret Paris which takes her characters to hidden spots in the City of Light. A former French professor, Juliette holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in Paris. Today she lives in San Diego, where she devotes her time to writing, dancing, teaching yoga, and eating loads of chocolate.
Keep up with Juliette: