I had the pleasure of meeting Juliette on Twitter. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever “met” from the virtual world. I’m inspired by her desire to write about the place she loves. She is the author of “Sleeping With Paris,” which was one of my favorite books in 2011. She is simply a Chick Lit Girl! I hope you enjoy my interview with her, as much as I liked having here at Chick Lit Goddess!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. First of all, thanks so much for having me on your blog Isabella! I’m really excited to be here:) So, a little bit about me . . . I’m a French teacher by day and a writer by night (and by morning and afternoon—whenever I can squeeze it in!). I live in the Washington, DC area with my amazing husband and our two enormous cats, and I’m obsessed with France and chocolate . . . but more on that to come:)
I love your blog! When and why did Chocolate for Writers debut? I began my blog last February initially as a space to give fellow writers a bit of inspiration and that kick in the butt we often need to take our writing and our motivation to the next level. After a few months, I realized I needed to bring my love of chocolate and France into the blog, so I came up with the title “Chocolate for Writers.” Then as my book release neared, I changed the focus of my blog a bit to introduce my main character, Charlotte, and her crazy dating adventures in the City of Love (one of her men actually feeds her chocolate in bed—so I was still keeping with my chocolate theme:) Since the book has come out, I’ve been blogging more about France and inviting others to share some of their favorite France stories. It’s been wonderful to connect with other people who are as in love with France as I am!
What is it like in a day of Juliette? My cats wake me up around 5 or 6 am every day by meowing frantically at the bedroom door. Once I’ve fed them, I’m usually awake, so I begin the day with a little promotion work for my book. Next, I’ll spend a few hours writing or editing, and if I’m teaching that day, I’ll spend some time prepping for my French classes. I practice yoga a few times a week, so if my day isn’t too hectic with work-related tasks, I’ll head down to my local yoga studio for a class. I usually leave yoga feeling like I’m in a little happy bubble and wondering why I’m always rushing around to get things done. Once I make it home and see my never ending to-do list, I remember why, and I get back to it:) In the evenings, I’m either teaching French or having dinner with my husband and winding down with a movie or a book. And I often write and do promotion work well into the wee hours of the morning!
You’re a French teacher, so when do you find time to write? Currently, I have a very flexible schedule teaching part-time at a local college, so I have a decent amount of time each week to write. And since my book was released last fall, this is the first year I will actually be earning a living for all of those writing hours, which is beyond exciting.
You seem to love Paris and anything French. Why is this? My husband always asks me this question, and I’ve had a hard time pinpointing the origin of my love for France. My theory is that I was French in a past life, and I’m missing it terribly in this one:) But in reality, while I was taking French in high school, I traveled over to Europe with a group of students and fell in love with France at my first bonjour. I loved the gorgeous language, the delicious food, the buttery pastries, and the cobblestone streets. Being from a small, country town in Ohio, I’d never seen anything like Paris, and I was hooked. So I majored in French in college, studied abroad in Lyon, then completed my master’s degree in Paris. And now since I can’t travel over there constantly without breaking the bank, I take the main characters in my novels to France instead!
What do you love and hate about writing? I absolutely love when the characters take on a mind of their own and reveal to me what is supposed to happen next in the plot. Those moments make me love writing more than I can even express here. And what do I hate about writing? Well, to be honest, not much, but if I had to pick one thing, I would say I generally don’t get too excited about rewriting scenes, but once I do, the final product is usually so much stronger than before, so it’s totally worth it in the end.
How long does it take you to write a book? I usually finish a first draft in three to five months, but it is the editing and the rewrites that can take a lot of time for me. With my first novel, Sleeping with Paris, I was still learning the writing ropes, so I spent about two years editing and rewriting. My second novel went much faster, but my third is taking quite a while because it involves a complicated mystery plot, and every time I change one tiny detail, I end up rewriting large portions of the novel!
What made you go the electronic way of publishing? I’d always wanted to see my books in print, but when e-publishing really picked up, I knew if I wanted to make my books available to readers, I couldn’t ignore this massive shift in the publishing industry. So, I took the plunge last September, bought my first Kindle, and released Sleeping with Paris as an ebook. I love reading on my Kindle and also love that this type of reading is now accessible to everyone!
How did you celebrate when your first book was first released? I bought a gorgeous pair of sparkly high heels and went out on the town to celebrate with my husband and a few of my closest girlfriends. I also at a lot of chocolate:)
Do you consider yourself a writer? Absolutely. I’ve never had such a burning desire to do anything else in my life (except travel to France of course:), and I love creating stories and weaving words onto the page more than anything. I write at all hours of the day, I wake up in the middle of the night and jot down story ideas, and I brainstorm titles while driving in the car. Writing is a part of me, and I know that it’s something I will do for the rest of my life. So, yes, I definitely consider myself a writer:)
Who is your favorite writer? I have many favorites, so I’ll go with my favorite chick lit writer – Kyra Davis. She writes the Sophie Katz murder mystery series, and her books are fabulous. I’m anxiously awaiting the next one!
Do you have any advice for Chick Lit writers? Write what you love instead of writing for the market. New York publishers aren’t digging chick-lit the way we wish they would, but with the rise of self-publishing and ebooks, you don’t have to tailor your story for New York anymore. You can write the story you want to write, the story you have to write, the one that comes from your heart, and you can still find a home for it in this crazy publishing industry. I am solid proof of that!
Where do you see the Chick Lit genre in ten years? With the massive surge in self-publishing, I think chick lit is once again gaining momentum because readers still love to read a light, fun book that makes them laugh and that doesn’t leave anything too heavy on their minds at the end of a long day. I don’t think traditional chick lit will ever make a big come back in New York, but of course you never know!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Writing full-time, living in a beach town with my husband, cats, and future children, and traveling to France as often as I want.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? My second novel, Kissed in Paris, will be released later this winter. It’s a story about a straight-laced event planner who takes a last minute business trip to Paris only days before her wedding and ends up getting duped by a French con-man in the process. In order to find her passport and her engagement ring, and make it to her wedding on time, she goes on a wild chase around the country with a rugged, undercover agent at the wheel, and begins to question if the perfectly-ordered life she’s built for herself back home is really what she wants after all. Also, I’m currently wrapping up edits on my third novel, Dancing with Paris. It’s Midnight in Paris meets Moulin Rouge with a bit of mystery and a lot of romance, and I cannot wait for this story to reach my readers! It’s my favorite one yet.
**For more information on Juliette Sobanet, visit her blog:
**Click HERE to read my review for Sleeping With Paris!