Monday, March 29, 2010

We Have Lift-off

It’s over. Three crazy, interesting, hard grafting, wine-drinking, face-stuffing days in Paris. A Salon du Livre hit by the financial crisis. Numbers down. People spending less on books.

But still the invitations keep coming - to more salons. I turned one down - Paris in June - because it clashes with one I am going to at Le Havre. Yet another, in July, is sorely tempting - an invitation to Corsica. A three day weekend salon which begins as the ferry leaves Marseilles on the Thursday night.

A Chinese bookseller from Brest - who is really from Shanghai - in France on a ten year visa, begged for my help to get her a holiday visa to Scotland. A dental surgeon, who is an underwater photographer in his spare time, wanted me to contribute to a high-gloss international publication on the environment. I asked if he would be interested in giving me a root treatment.

Sunday was lunch on a houseboat on the Seine, the home of the English editor of a series of books being published in English by a French publisher (does this make any sense?). La Patronne and I each wrote a book (well, actually long short stories) for the series, which comes out in June. The series is called Paper Planes, and the stories - all between 12,000 and 15,000 words in length - use a Latin-rooted vocabulary to allow French learners of English to read comfortably.

I chose to write a story using the characters from my China series, Li and Margaret. It is called “The Ghost Marriage”. And La Patronne wrote one called “Distant Echo”, about a psychotherapist and a life-changing accident.

For the launch, the publisher, Editions Didier (part of Hachette), wanted to film interviews with us to put up on the website. So after lunch with editor, Rupert Morgan, and his wife Karine (I hope I spelled that right), on board their incredible houseboat, we took turns to sit in the salon and record our interviews. A faintly surreal diversion in another otherwise constant flow of non book-buying salon-goers.

Then to dinner that night, just spitting distance from the Senat, with friends Ariane and Gilbert, Jean-Pierre and Jacqueline, and Jean-Pierre (a different one) and Janine (neighbours from St. Michel), followed by a long hike back across the city in the small hours of the morning.

Later that same morning, Monday, after an early rise, we raced across Paris to the giant FNAC computer store to buy me a new laptop bag - the one I had packed to take with me fell apart on the train. And then back to the Salon for lunch and a drowsy afternoon induced by a glass or three of rose.

And before a farewell dinner with my French publisher, a fun hour spent with Fred Bellaiche, who is going to produce a movie of one of my China Thrillers - The Killing Room (but more of that later). He loaded us with movies to watch on the plane and during the tour, while we storyline and write the screenplay - French movies, Hong Kong movies, Italian movies, Korean movies.

But in the end, all creative talk gave way to a much more serious topic - football!

Life is interesting. For the moment, But I am not so sure I will feel the same as I drag myself out of bed at 6am tomorrow for the trauchle out to the airport and the first flight of the great transatlantic adventure.

Next stop, Minneapolis. See you there!


Carol said...

Blimey, I'm knackered just reading that!!

Sounds fun most envious of all that lovely French food and wine you have been's been too long since I visited that lovely country you call home!

C x

DJ Kirkby said...

Carol, that's exactly what I was going to say! I'm not sure I could have done all of that without falling asleep mid afternoon.

v said...

bit of a late comment, but hope you took up the offer of the Salon in Corsica... definitely worth the visit!

peter_may said...

Hi V, yes I did. But I made it conditional on La Patronne being invited too. So, we'll see!