Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Author Interview & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to interview Patricia Sands, the author of The Promise of Provence. The interview is part of France Book Tours . I reviewed The Promise of Provence in May and you can find my review here.
When Patricia interviewed me, she served virtual pastries, so I feel compelled to offer refreshments as well. Just in case you're reading during the morning, I'll offer mimosas. Enjoy. And make sure you take a look at the book synopsis at the end. Also remember to leave a comment with your name and email to enter the giveaway for the $10 Amazon gift card.
So have a mimosa and enjoy Patricia's interview.

Q. How would you sum up The Promise of Provence for those who haven’t read it yet?
It's a multi-layered story of hope and change in mid-life. A coming-of-age, transitional tale, that explores universal feelings of loss, fear, love and trust in breath-taking surroundings. Romance, travel, and friendship carry the story along with an underlying message of the importance of the stories of our past generations. 
One reader wrote that The Promise of Provence was "the cheapest vacation" she ever had! I loved that!

Q. When did  your connection to France begin and how often do you return?
I first fell in love with France when I spent a year backpacking with friends when I was 21. Those were the days in the 1960's when the world was safer and "Europe on $5 a Day" really worked! I have been fortunate to return often and, in the last fifteen years, my husband and I have spent extended time in the south of France every year. In 2011 we lived in Antibes for five months and are planning to do so again in 2014. This year we will be in Nice from mid-September for a month and I'm already counting the days to arrival!

Q. As an author, how much research is required for a book like this? Do you research from home or does it include travel?
I began writing this novel in 2011 when we were in Antibes. I researched a tremendous amount about life in France, history, locations, and other details while there. The research with regard to the character of Elisabeth was drawn from personal knowledge and a vast store of online information. For Katherine's story, a friend of mine had gone through a very nasty marriage collapse, not unlike Katherine's situation and it intrigued me to write about that. So part of my research also was interviewing women who had gone through divorce.
I personally believe that to set a story in a particular part of the world, you must spend time in that location to truly grasp the complete picture. (But then as a person who loves to travel, why wouldn't I say that? LOL)

Q. Are there things from France that you in have incorporated into your daily life even when you aren’t in France? Tell us about those things.
My food shopping habits changed, for sure. I frequent our smaller markets with my 'panier' rather than the supermarkets and my understanding of cheese changed dramatically. I used to serve it with cocktails before meals all the time and now only serve it with certain foods or at the end of a meal. I also take French classes from time to time to keep improving. Oh ... and I love pastis, which I first tasted over there.

Q. How closely do you relate to Katherine, the main character of The Promise of Provence? What sorts of traits do you share? Which parts are nothing like you?
Good question! Hmmm - Well, certainly I share her love for all things French. Unlike her, I have never been in a destructive relationship but I was widowed in my 40's so I could relate to some of her feelings of pain and loss and her eventual realization that life never stops offering new possibilities. The part that is nothing like me is the fact that she had never known the joys of BFFs. I have had amazing girlfriends throughout my life and that's one of the reasons I like writing about the connections women form and how we empower each other through those friendships. I like to say that whether you are 15, 45 or 85, girlfriends are girlfriends!

Q. Please share your writing story. How did you begin and what helped you succeed?
I began writing 8 years ago, just for fun. I was writing The Bridge Club for my real-life bridge club. We are ten women who have been great friends for over 45 years and, like many other similar groups of women my age, we have shared a lot of life-changing experiences. As the story progressed, I was encouraged by others to consider publishing and the book changed from fact to fiction, although it is at least 80% true! The study of the craft never stops, does it? I love the writing process. I realized I had been telling stories all my life through photography and that experience has certainly guided me. 

As far as success goes, I have to say that becoming involved with the online writing community is where all the credit lies. The collegiality, support and information sharing is staggering. Writers helping writers is what it is all about and I cannot find adequate superlatives to describe this part of the experience. I love it!

Q. What authors or books influenced you? 
I have a terrible time making choices when it comes to questions like this. I learn from every book I read and I'm sure you can relate to that. I will say that one bit of advice from Stephen King's book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" truly resonated with me and propelled me forward at the beginning. In so many words he said that if you feel strongly that you have a story to tell, tell it. Tell it in your voice, not in the way some course suggested you should tell it. Then work with an editor to discover where it requires attention and then revise, revise, revise. (I should copy the page so I can quote it properly ...)

Q. Are you working on a new project now that we can look forward to?
LOL - I'm trying to! I am writing a follow-up novel to this one. I have heard from so many readers who are waiting to hear what happens next that I need to find out too! 

Q. If money was not a concern, would you move to live in France or simply be content with trips to France? Why?
Right now we still have young grandchildren and we don't want to miss sharing these special years with them so we will take shorter trips for a while. We would love to live in France for six months every year and have not dismissed that dream. You should always have a dream, right? 

Thanks so much for the interview, Patricia. What fun getting to know you better.
Here's a synopsis of The Promise of Provence. 
             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.
Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?
"Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel."     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma
Publication Date: May 30, 2013
457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace
Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

Here's Patricia's bio:
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83. 
Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.
Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.
Pop in to visit her at:


Leave a comment with your name and email so I can contact you if you win the $10 Amazon gift card. For other chances to win, follow my blog or like my author page on Facebook.  Drawing on July 14, Sunday evening.


Suzie Tullett said...

What a lovely interview. The Promise of Provence sounds like a fantastic read, Patricia. And your questions, Paulita, are fab x

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Thanks Paulita, I enjoyed the interview & the mimosas.

Paulita said...

Suzie and Sally, Thanks for joining Patricia and me for mimosas and talk of Provence. I know you both have a special connection with France.

Patricia said...

Thanks for the mimosas, Paulita! What a fine idea! It has been a pleasure getting to know you and hopefully one day we will meet in person ... on one side of the Atlantic or the other! In the meantime, I am looking forward to your next novel.

Patricia said...

Suzie and Sally, I have tried every way to figure out how leave a reply with your comment but so far ... no luck! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and the mimosas! I am curious about your "special connection with France" that Paulita mentioned so will visit your sites.

Anonymous said...

great great review! thanks to both of you, and I can't wait for the sequel!!

traveler said...

I enjoyed this informative and interesting interview. Best wishes and much happiness. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

What a delightful and special introduction to your writing and your book which sounds memorable. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview ! I have just finished reading Patricia's novel and loved it - such a wonderful combination of travel, food and romance. Katherine is a strong interesting woman and I can't wait to see where she goes from here. Thank you Patricia for taking me away to a wonderful place.

Celeste said...

Thanks for sharing this interview! I enjoyed reading it! :)


Unknown said...

Looks like a wonderful novel. I would love to read it, great interview.
jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

Heather Redmond said...

I love Provence. This put me in vacation mode!

Heather Hiestand
halala @ comcast . net

JC said...

A novel of Provence! Great summer read, thanks for sharing.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

if you don't see any problem in me entering the giveaway, let me tell you I'm so excited I read this book, and I already know I will be disappointed that my review won't be as good as I would like! it's tough when you realize you cannot honor a book as much as you would like.
and now I want to read the sequel, ok Patricia? lol
ehc16e at yahoo dot com.
thanks for the giveaway!

Linn B Halton and Lucy Coleman said...

Great interview Paulita & Patricia and love mimosas... hope it's a great success Patricia, you are one amazing author!

Unknown said...

This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the interview.

rhonda said...

Thanks for the wonderful

Patricia said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by to comment. I don't know what it is about me and Blogpost but I still haven't figured out how to reply individually to comments. Tips?

Beppe DM said...

Beppe DM: beppe_dm(at)teletu(dot)it

Krista W. said...

Great interview, thanks for sharing (and for the giveaway... everyone loves amazon!).


Unknown said...

Sounds amazing, France is such a rich wonderful country

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article and giveaway! D. Wesley

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