Posts Tagged 'novel'

The Next Big Thing

One of my overflowing bookcases.

A fun Q&A has been circulating around writers’ blogs of late. Each person answers questions about their work-in-progress then tags other writers to do the same. I was honored that Ann Mah, author of Kitchen Chinese and the forthcoming food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, thought to tag me in “The Next Big Thing.”

While I rarely do these sorts of chains or talk about works-in-progress (makes me so nervous!), I thought I’d take the plunge and tell you a bit about my novel. Plus, I love sharing the love; I’m excited to introduce you to some writer friends.

What is your working title of your book?

WHEN THINGS WERE GREEN

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When starting any piece of writing, it’s usually an image or a small detail that arrives first for me, not an overarching idea.

I was walking through Harlem one day and overheard some teenage girls gossiping. One said: “she’s pregnant and never even had sex.” Well, wow, how does that happen?!

I wondered about those girls and their beliefs and knowledge of the world. I went home and immediately wrote a scene, though what came out featured a young girl in a small town in Georgia in an era before I was born.

Continue reading ‘The Next Big Thing’

Books, Glorious Books!

Sunday was one of my favorite semi-annual events in Paris: the English-language used book sale!

Twice a year SOS Help holds a 4-hour extravaganza where eager Anglophones come to stock up on new (to them) reads.

I like that the money goes toward a good cause, but selfishly what I really like are the prices. All paperbacks go for 1 euro, hardcovers for 2.

Guess how many I picked up? 35!

My loot from the book sale

This was the limit of the cash in my wallet and the amount I could physically carry back with me on the metro. I always come equipped with a large bag to the sale, but what I really need is a rolling cart!

Continue reading ‘Books, Glorious Books!’

SAD Inspires (Sort of)

Everyone in my immediate family has a middle name starting with A: Anne, Ariel, Alfonso (yep, you read that right).

Everyone, that is, except me. That was to save me from initials that spell out SAD.

I appreciate my parents’ concern. Unfortunately, the abbreviation avoidance could not actually save me from suffering from the real SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. (And yes, it is real!)

Since we set clocks back an hour – and if someone can explain why we do that a week earlier in the EU than the States, I’d be interested – I’ve been pretty aware of SAD’s effects. Doesn’t help that the Paris fall is in full swing, too – cold and gray (the rain’s on the way, too, I’m sure).

Paris in November grey

Of course, this is perfect weather for my current state of being a hermit and working. I know I’m a bit secretive about my writing, but that’s partly because the process is a big mystery to me, too. Talking about writing is not the same as writing. I just need to do it.

Last week I went to Ann Mah’s reading and was inspired to be surrounded by so many writers. I’m friendly with people who already have published books! Wow, I want one of my own.

Of course, the only way that’s going to happen is if I keep my butt in the chair and keep believing that this crazy dream can in fact happen if I work hard enough.

And so, the crappy weather is actually playing its part. I like writing late at night. As it looks like midnight starting at 5 PM, I can be tricked into starting much earlier now.

Thanks, Paris. Cheers, SAD.

What’s your positive spin on SAD? How do you beat the bad weather blues?

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Author Interview: Ann Mah

Ann Mah

I had so much fun with my first author interview, I just had to do another!

Ann Mah is a journalist and the author of Kitchen Chinese, a novel about “food, family, and finding yourself.”

A Paris resident since August 2008, she was a Program Manager at the American Library of Paris for a year and a half, organizing the Evenings with an Author series. She has now stepped down from that position to focus on writing her second novel about a female sommelier in Paris. (Janet Skeslien Charles who I interviewed last time has stepped into the Program Manager role at ALP – don’t you love all these connections?)

Previously Ann has worked as an assistant editor at Viking Penguin in New York, as a staff writer for an English-language magazine in Beijing, and even won a culinary scholarship to study in Bologna, Italy! Her husband’s post as a diplomat ensures they have exciting new countries to discover every few years.

Ann took the time to answer a few questions about writing, getting unwired, and the importance of place to her work.

Continue reading ‘Author Interview: Ann Mah’


paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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