Romance author Hope Tarr isn't just sharing her tales of love and happily ever afters with American audiences, her stories are reaching overseas romance lovers as well! The author recently traveled to Paris where she met with her French publisher, chatted with a group of French bloggers and romance fans and of course spent some time taking in the sights and sounds of one of the world's most inspiring cities. Today the author shares the details of her trip with RT readers and reveals what she learned about what it means to be a romance reader in France.
Hope Tarr with French romance readers and bloggers
I’m just back from spending a wonderful week — okay, six days — in Paris visiting with three of the four French publishers that publish romance fiction in France: J’ai Lu (Flammarion Groupe), Milady (Bragelonne), and a new house, LeDuc. I was fortunate to have sit-down meetings with senior editors from each house as well as to tour the offices and meet staff from their marketing and art departments. I even got to mug for the camera with the Bragelonne mascot, a dragon!
As some of you may remember, J'ai Lu bought the French print rights to my Men of Roxbury House trilogy a few years ago. Vanquished, renamed La Rose de Mayfair, released last April 2011 with the publisher's Aventures & Passions romance line. I was fortunate to meet the lovely translator, Viviane Ascain while at J’ai Lu. Viviane shared that in translating a text from the original English to French, it’s very important — and a matter of some considerable, uh, … delicacy — to determine at what point the hero and heroine transition from addressing each other with the formal version of you, “vous,” to the familiar form, “tu.”
Hint: after they’ve made love, it’s definitely “tu,” at least in private.
But the very best part of my week was getting to sit down with French romance readers and bloggers, more than twenty over the course of two days. To a woman, they were warm and welcoming; uber knowledgeable about the books, authors, and industry; and delightfully enthusiastic about having an American author in their midst. While nibbling on scrumptious macaroons, we discussed the perils and pitfalls of identifying oneself as a romance reader in France versus the U.S., the difficulties of organizing face-to-face meet-ups such as craft workshops in France — there is no national RWA-like organization and the nearest thing to a RT Book Reviews magazine is a quarterly webzine published by Les Romantiques.
Special thanks to Au Boudoir Ecarlate, Onirik, Blue Moon for the lovely blog articles they wrote and to Florence Salvador of J’ai Lu and Agnès Caubet of Les Romantiques for coordinating the meet-ups at the J’ai Lu offices.
As the grand finale, Margaret Calpena, “Responsible Éditoriale” of J’ai Lu, announced to the group that Enslaved and Untamed, the second and third books of my Men of Roxbury House Victorian trilogy, would be released in 2013. Formidable! Please check back on my blog for the latest news on the French titles and covers.
As delish as those macaroons were, an author can’t live on sweets alone. Les Romantiques organized a lovely post-meeting dinner at La Fresque, a charming laid-back bistro situated on the site of a former open air market in the first arrondissement. Delicious wine, food, and conversation kept us at the table well into the night.
But the City of Light beckoned me to venture beyond office walls. During my stay, I took the time to visit, and in some cases revisit, such iconic Paris sights as Le Moulin Rouge in the Pigalle district, the Arch of Triumph, The National Assembly, and the Rodin Museum — viewing The Thinker, the statue of Balzac, and The Burghers of Calais against the backdrop of gorgeous garden was truly breath-stealing.
And of course no trip to Paris would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Eiffel Tower. That was doubly true for this visit, which coincided with Bastille Day, or La Fete Nationale as it's known in France. The Champ du Mars is the traditional spot for pulling up a patch of terra firma and watching the fireworks, but weeks of successive rain had made the lawn more soggy than solid, putting a damper on it and my planned picnic. Fortunately Plan B, heading to the high ground of the famous nineteenth century artist enclave of Monmartre, worked out to be even better. Viewing the shimmering spectacle of a light-bedecked Eiffel Tower and later the fireworks from the rooftop restaurant of Monmartre’s Terrass Hotel was a rare and special moment, a memory for a lifetime and yes, très romantique.
Who knows, it may just end up as a scene in one of my books.
Many thanks — un grand merci — to my French publishers, readers, and new friends for making this American (romance author) in Paris feel utterly welcomed and at home.
- Hope Tarr
Want more from Hope? Look for Operation Cinderella, the first in the author's new contemporary Suddenly Cinderella trilogy, hitting shelves in October. And for the latest news from your favorite romance authors, visit our Everything Romance Page!