Monday, April 4, 2011
I’m grateful that Paris Dreaming is finally out!
Like any mother, I find the birth of a baby an amazing experience. And when Paris Dreaming was delivered in the commercial women's fiction maternity ward on Friday night, it didn’t matter that it was my 11th baby! I’m also proud to say I haven’t got any stretch marks after all those pregnancies!
Creating Paris Dreaming like any other book required inspiration and motivation, and months of hard work, all of which I have and did. And so to hold the new-born and share the delight of baptism with friends, is the final joy in bringing the book-baby in the world. Pic above and below taken by Amanda James.
I am grateful to the following for making Paris Dreaming possible:
1. RESEARCH ASSISTANTS: Sitting at the desk may be a solitary experience, but all my books require spending time with a great cast of real-life characters I like to call ‘research assistants’. In the case of Paris Dreaming, we had a lot of fun in a number of cities. I’m deeply thankful to those who took on their role with passion, trudging through the streets of Paris for days and nights on end; dining in restaurants and cafes, going galleries, cruising the Seine, strolling the Champs-Elyssee for champers, shopping in designer stores and fleemarkets, and of course, doing the touristy Moulin Rouge. Merci beaucoup to my local parisienne guide and reader Aline Gargar-Belmont. Susan Spooner, David Wright, Victoria Johnson and Kerry Foy – were so committed to my French research they travelled from the UK to meet me there. That is dedication to the production of literature.
I needed another trip to Spain so I set a chapter in Barcelona and I stayed with my tidda Julie Wark – a literary translator- and with the biggest heart of anyone I know. Julie hosted me twice and introduced me to Catalan culture while reading drafts over a glass or two of cava!
In Canberra I had a research team including Kirsten Bartlett and Rachel Clarke and although the trip Kirsten and I took to Queanbeyan races didn’t make it into the novel I’m most appreciative that she stood in the sweltering heat with me on ladies day, holding a carnation and drinking out of plastic cups. All in the name of research.
My thanks to the Moree Mademoiselles, Cathy Craigie and Miah Wright, for advice on everything from choosing Libby’s surname to where Libby’s mother Iris worked at the iconic Lillyman’s Cordial Factory.
I hadn’t been to Deniliquin before I chose it as a setting, but ventured there last year and I’m grateful to locals Steven Ross and Carlee Rundell-Gordon introduced Libby and I to the Deni ute muster. Finally, I need to thank all those who aided research, read drafts and offered suggestions I took on board. So I thank Jonathan Jones, Emily McDaniel, Caroline, Verge, Anne Cranny-Francis, Bernardine Knorr and Michelle Crawford.
2. RANDOM HOUSE AUSTRALIA: I am honoured to be part of the Random House stable. My publisher is also my friend Larissa Edwards, and she’s the best in the business. I had a fabulous editor on this book in Maisie Dubosarsky and my publicist Shannan Lane works hard to not only make sure everyone knows the book is out, but that we also had a fabulous launch party! The pic above is of Larissa and I.
3. FRIENDS: People talk about the process of writing as a solitary one. I have never felt that way. My days are full of exchanges with lots of friends, many of them writers but also friends from all the various areas of my life. Many of those friends supported me during the pregnancy of Paris Dreaming and came along to celebrate last Friday night, and I was most grateful to be able to share the joy with them. The pic above is of Ashlee and I and below is Anjanette Porter Morton and Lisa Heidke.
Big thanks to one of my longest friends - that’s someone I’ve known a long time – Ms Terri Janke, deadly author and lawyer, who gave yet another of her hilarious, warm launch speeches. All the while look absolutely gorgeous. The pic of her below is by Amanda James.
4. FAMILY: I see my siblings and my Mum most days. They ride the rollercoaster of life with me, laugh and cry with me, emotionally support and quite often feed me (ok so I’m away a lot and my fridge is nearly always bare!). I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do life without them. And they always come along to my launches. Below I’m with Mum and my brothers Mark and Joe.
5. SURRY HILLS LIBRARY: Nestled above a massive glass frontage on Crown Street Surry Hills, is the most stinninmg venue for launches and other soirees. It was perfect setting for a Friday night champagne christening with my 100 guests and I am grateful to Leonie Smallwood from the City of Sydney for partnering Random House in making the launch a huge success.