Eleanor Brown– Debutante Ball alumni turned bestselling author– is here to visit! I was so wowed by Brown’s first novel, THE WEIRD SISTERS, that I pre-ordered the LIGHT OF PARIS and squealed like my daughter at Disney when it arrived Tuesday. A little background on this thoughtful new release:
In 1924, Margie defies her parents and spends an exhilarating summer in Paris – writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist. Nearly seventy-five years later, her granddaughter Madeleine, struggling through the breaking apart of her marriage, finds Margie’s journals and discovers the inspiration to create her own Parisian summer – reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.
Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.
Sound amazing? It is! And Eleanor graciously offered up two copies for a giveaway! Learn how to enter below. Now for a chat with this amazing writer…
THE WEIRD SISTERS had a huge impact on me. Can you share a book that made an impact on you?
I know a lot of people read WILD and EAT PRAY LOVE and totally threw themselves at Cheryl Strayed or Elizabeth Gilbert like, “WE COULD TOTALLY BE BFF.” I love both those books, but for me, the only memoir that made me want to call the author and say, “WE ARE BFFL!” was Sarah Hepola’s BLACKOUT: REMEMBERING THE THINGS I DRANK TO FORGET.
Which is weird, because it’s about alcoholism and I have about one drink a year. But something about the way she thinks made me feel so close to her. Sarah, call me! We could totally be BFFers! Also, you should read that book, because it’s just brilliantly written.
Okay, will do. On to locations. Where do you love to be?
In water. We moved to Colorado from Florida about five years ago, and while I just love love love Colorado, I really miss water. It’s not part of the culture here, and the temperature drops so sharply at night (travel tip: if you’re coming to Colorado in the summer, bring a sweatshirt – you’ll thank me around 9 at night) that water never really gets warm, even if it’s 100 degrees during the day.
I try to get back to Florida a couple of times a year, and I will just sit in the pool all day and read. It’s like heaven.
I just moved from Florida myself. Connecticut lakes are beautiful, clear, and COLD, so I hear you. You obviously have mad writing talent. Is there another talent you wish you had?
Oh, I really wish I could dance. Have you seen the video for Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRh_vgS2dFE)? It features this hip-hop dance troupe from New Zealand (not relevant except it’s cool) and it’s like they have fewer bones in their bodies or something, the way they can move. (Side note: that video has been viewed about 1.5 BILLION times and I am responsible for approximately 1 billion of them.)
Long ago, I took belly dance classes, but I stopped when we moved to a studio with mirrors. The contrast between the way I felt and the way I looked was too depressing. I’m really hard on myself and I have to be good at everything I do, so having this very clear evidence that I was probably the least graceful belly dancer ever was not helpful to my soul. So. Next life, I’d like to be able to dance, please!
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I taught 7th grade for a long time – I think that counts as a strange job, because kids at that age are so wonderfully bizarre. They are still young enough not to be jaded and obnoxious, and they have no filter between their brain and their mouth.
Here’s a favorite conversation:
Me: (walking by another teacher’s classroom, seeing two kind of goofy boys inside working unusually hard) What’s going on? It’s like a sweatshop in here.
Boy #1: What’s a sweatshop?
Boy #2: (disparagingly) It’s where they make wallets.
You cannot make that stuff up, people.
Ha! Hilarious. Bringing it back to your current occupation, has anyone ever thought a character you wrote was based on them?
Yes. But one of the things I’ve learned is that you can’t control how people react to your book when it’s published. Everyone brings their own experience to the page, and as my boyfriend Chris is fond of saying, everyone is the star of their own movie, so of course they think it’s them. I don’t mind.
What I am not fond of is the question, “How much of this story is autobiographical?” It always seems to imply that I don’t have enough imagination to make something up. Of course writers are always writing from their own experience, but unless they’re writing memoir, it’s not autobiographical. At least not in the way you think. I do mine my emotions when I write, but not my life, if that makes sense.
GIVEAWAY: RETWEET on Twitter, and/or SHARE on Facebook by noon (EST) Friday, July 22nd to enter to win one of TWO hardcover copies of THE LIGHT OF PARIS (US & Canada only). We’ll select and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!
Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and international bestselling author of THE WEIRD SISTERS, THE LIGHT OF PARIS, and WOD MOTIVATION. She lives, writes, and teaches writing in Colorado. Find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.