This is pretty shameful to admit considering I live in the UK, but until recently I’d never been to France. I know! I’d always planned to go, but somehow it never quite happened. Possibly because it was a tiny bit intimidating to plan a trip when you speak, like, not a word of the language*.
Well, I can’t say that anymore. Last month I went to Paris to attend the Salon du Livre de Paris as one of Dreamspinner’s authors. If you want, you can check out some of my pictures here. I had the best time, it was amazing.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsObviously, that was partially because Paris is a wonderful city. I went to the Louvre! I have a picture of myself at the Eiffel Tower! I had an omelette au jambon et au fromage at a Parisian café. (I was only there for the weekend so it was a bit of a whistlestop tour, there’s obviously a lot more awesome things to do.)
Mostly, though, I had an amazing time in Paris because of the French readers. They are so passionate about books and about reading. There were queues outside the Salon du Livre venue every day to get in, and there were people there looking at books and art until the doors were closing.
And the M/M romance readers were among the most passionate, curious, and enthusiastic to see authors there. It was my first visit to Paris, my first book translated into French, but I was met with readers who had already read my book and were eager to see me. Other authors barely got time to uncramp their fingers from around their sharpies between signings. We even had a breakfast Q and A with French readers on Sunday, where my accent and tendency to ramble probably strained our translator’s nerves (Ariel Tachna! Great translator, better author, and very patient!).
Of course, every convention or author meet has signings and readers happy to see their favourite author. Rhys Ford and I met with some UK fans in London the night before we got the Eurostar over to Paris, and I had a wonderful time. People were enjoying themselves so much they ate Haggis Pakora!
It’s just the scale of the Salon du Livre. There are thousands of people who love books under one roof. It’s like a
bibliophile’s cathedral, and even if they don’t love my book, or even my genre, it was a wonderful atmosphere. It just made meeting fans even more awesome than usual.
People say that GRL has a similar atmosphere, but until I get there the Salon du Livre is going to have a special place in my heart. I am certainly hoping to attend next year.
*I blame my French teacher. He used to hit us on the head with a book when we got a question wrong, and I think it knocked all the words out.
**Actually, I’m not bad with written French. I can puzzle out more or less what it says if you give me a minute. It’s speaking to people that was the issue, sorry to EVERYONE.