About author, Glynis Astie: Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist.
As this novel is only the beginning the story, Glynis has just released the sequel, French Toast and has begun writing the final chapter in the trilogy, French Fry. When she is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.
Describe your writing style in five sentences: Yikes! You started me off with a difficult question. My writing style is very casual. I let the thoughts spill out of my head, sarcasm and all, for the reader to enjoy. I speak directly to the reader often, encasing my questions and rants in parenthesis. I do not have the flair for the dramatic, but prefer to make people laugh. And look at that! I did it in four sentences!
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? While I love the feel of a book in my hands (and yes, there is a wonderful smell to a book), I prefer the volume of books that I am able to carry with me on my Kindle. A girl has to have options! I am also very happy with the fact the my mischievous three-year-old son cannot lose my place by snatching out whatever random scrap of paper I could find to mark my page in a paperback, so that I could deal whatever his urgent issue happens to be. (Another Angry Birds puzzle, anyone?)
What made you want to become an author? Oddly enough, I never had aspirations to become an author. Truth be told, I HATED writing when I was younger. Over the years, writing became an integral part of my job as a Human Resources Manager (those disciplinary actions can be very tricky) and I found that I had quite an affinity for the written word. After a year of being solely a stay at home mom, I sought a personal project and somehow ended up writing a book! I still remember telling my sister that I had decided to take my adorable meet-cute with my husband and turn it into a Chick Lit novel and thinking that she was going to tell me that I was crazy. Instead, she encouraged me all the way through that book and was an amazing editor. She is also the creative mind behind my gorgeous book covers.
Who or what inspires you? My beautiful boys inspire me on a daily basis. Granted, they often make me want to tear every last hair out of my head and the only thing that prevents me from actually doing this is that I totally cannot pull off the bald look. But they are also wonderful, charming and insightful. They make me strive not only to be a better mother but to be a better person. They give me a unique perspective of the world that I would not trade for anything.
Between writing/editing/publishing, which was your favorite process? I love the process of writing. The concept of pulling a story out of nowhere and nurturing it until it is just the way you want it to be is amazing. (Not to mention REALLY hard.)
How did you celebrate when your first book was published? I jumped around like a little school girl for a good ten minutes and then went out for ice cream with my three boys (husband included.) Nothing says celebration like a brownie sundae!
How do you come up with the titles of your books? My current book titles are fairly easy, since they all start with the word “French” as a reference to my relationship with my very romantic French husband. 😉 I am a big fan of playing on words. I called my first book French Twist since my husband was a most unexpected plot twist in my life. I chose French Toast for the second book as a question for the reader – would Sydney and Louis be raising a glass in celebration or would their marriage be toast? And the next book, will be called French Fry. I am going to leave that one a mystery…
Describe your typical day? A typical day means dropping my older son off at school and running to the gym with my younger son. He gets to play with his friends while I force myself to exercise in an attempt to keep the stress at bay. We then come home, have lunch and I try to convince him that a nap would be a great idea. He absolutely needs the rest (cranky much?) and I need the time to work. Eventually I get him to sleep and I hurry around Twitter, Facebook, blogs and my email account doing my best to catch up with everyone and everything so that I can work on my book. Unfortunately, I never seem to get to it! Before I know it, my older son comes home from school, we do homework, have dinner, play games and get ready for bed. Then I try to make myself do work before falling asleep by 10pm.
What is the most challenging part of being an author? Finding the time to write! At least, that is my current predicament. I try so hard to get everything else done so that I can concentrate on my story, but inevitably life interferes. One of my kids gets sick, a friend needs some last minute help or my house is just so messy that I can’t even look at it anymore. On the rare occasions that I have time to write, inspiration will not always strike. My characters are as tempestuous as I am and I’m guessing that they are pouting after being ignored for so long.
If you could meet any author, who would it be? That is such a tough question. There are so many good choices! My top three would be Agatha Christie, Lucy Maude Montgomery and J.K. Rowling. (I am a HUGE Potterhead.) Since J.K. Rowling is the only one that is still living, that would have to be my choice since I am not currently in possession of a time machine.
What do you want readers to take away from your books? I want them to laugh! As a reader, I tend to go for light, fun books since my life is so busy and can be quite stressful. When I actually have five minutes to myself and I decide to be decadent and read, I would like to laugh out loud. It is such a wonderfully cathartic feeling that I would like to share with as many people as I can.
What are you working on now? I am currently working on the last installment in my French Twist series, French Fry. Sydney and Louis have finally gotten through their three weddings (intrigued, aren’t you?) and are ready to settle into a quiet married life. Given that their courtship and marriage was quite the rollercoaster ride, it is highly unlikely that this will happen for them…
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Blurb of “French Toast”: Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?
As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.
With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…
Excerpt of “French Toast”:
Meet Sydney Durand
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. She couldn’t possibly be serious. Could she? I opened my eyes, looked over at Louis and tried to smile. I can only imagine the look that registered on my face, but I highly doubt it was anything remotely positive. Louis had just finished telling me about his mother’s latest plans for our wedding. I took another deep breath and reminded myself, yet again, that I had agreed to let her plan the wedding in its entirety (with the exception of choosing my wedding dress.) Why would I agree to something so completely insane? It might have had something to do with the fact that this would be our third wedding.
That’s right, I said THIRD wedding and no, I do not have an Elizabeth Taylor complex. And I can prove it! Allow me to give you the short version. After a disastrous romantic history dating back to college, I, Sydney Bennett, was swept off of my feet by the incredible Frenchman, Louis Durand. Louis was in California on business, but following our first week together, he accepted a transfer from his company’s Paris office to the San Jose office. To the great shock of our families and friends, we became engaged a few weeks later. We began planning a beautiful wedding in Monterey for the following September, only to be thwarted by Louis’ unexpected job loss in January. In order to avoid his deportation, we were married shortly thereafter in my home town of Haverstraw, New York. So that my dreams of a beautiful wedding would not be crushed, we elected to have the originally planned event in Monterey as well. Everyone needs gorgeous wedding photos! The first wedding was definitely more practical than gorgeous.
One would think that two weddings would be more than enough for one couple in love, but due to Louis’ status as an only child with an extremely large extended family and his mother’s dream of a wedding that his whole town (population four hundred) would attend, we simply had to have one more wedding. Besides, a wedding in the beautiful French countryside sounded amazing, right? This way my family and I would have the opportunity to experience the wedding customs of Louis’ country as he and his family would experience the customs of ours at the wedding in Monterey. (The first wedding was kind of light on customs as it was predominantly a vehicle to keep Louis in the country.) My mother and siblings were thrilled at the prospect of a trip to France, while my father bemoaned the fact that he would have to set foot in traitorous territory. He is German and likes to complain. Although I was absolutely sure that he was practically drooling at the prospect of the gastronomic experiences in his future.
While three weddings did afford a certain amount of stress, in the end, I think that it helped me. My mother had planned the first wedding (in the span of one week), I was planning the second wedding (in the span of one year) and Louis’ mother was planning the third (in the span of Louis’ lifetime.) This allowed for all parties to end up with a wedding they were happy with. I must admit that the idea having three different wedding dresses is kind of fun. Hey, now! There is no need to judge! The three events are very different levels of formality. The first was an informal town hall wedding, the second would be a formal evening wedding and the third would be an afternoon wedding in the French countryside. If you really think about it, you will realize that having three wedding dresses is an absolute necessity.
Now that my seemingly ludicrous statement of three weddings has been explained, we can return to the problem at hand. Louis has just informed me that his mother, Simone, has purchased an ensemble for me to wear to the rehearsal dinner. (Honestly, this is becoming comical. This will be our THIRD rehearsal dinner.) Let me remind you that Louis’ mother has a very…particular fashion sense. All of the garments she wears are short, tight, brightly colored and/or bedazzled. Given the fact that she is sixty years old, my hat goes off to her. I hope that I have the guts to wear miniskirts into my sixties. She is my hero! Having said that, I have never been one to dress that….um…how do I put this? Let’s just say that my taste is slightly more conservative.
Louis was practically in tears from laughing so hard as he described the dress to me. Simone had chosen a gold sequined halter mini dress with red satin roses on the straps and red satin ruffles along the bottom of the skirt. She also saw fit to purchase red satin stilettos with matching red satin roses on the toes. I resisted the urge to strangle my husband and began to pace the room. Clearly I made a serious error in judgment when I allowed Simone to make all decisions for the wedding except for my wedding dress. In my defense, I really didn’t think that her purview extended to my wardrobe choices for pre wedding events. It was becoming quite obvious that I had a lot to learn about her…
Excerpt from French Toast by Glynis Astie, Copyright 2014
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