Last night we attended an event at the American Library in the 7th arrondissement featuring ex-pat authors talking about living in France and the books they had written about the experience. Two of them, Catherine Sanderson and Kristin Espinasse, had started out as bloggers and later got book contracts as a direct result of their blogging. The third, Stephen Clarke, the author of AYear in the Merde, didn't show, sending word that he had an important meeting with his publisher in London. Not that I cared, because I was there to hear the bloggers.
Sanderson, eight-plus months pregnant with her second child, is the author of the blog and book Petite Anglaise. Working as a bi-lingual secretary for a British accounting firm in Paris (boorringg!), she recorded, anonymously, her life with her French boyfriend and their daughter. Over the course of the blog, she fell out of love with the French guy, had an ultimately unhappy affair with a blog reader, got fired when her employer discovered the blog, sued and won for unlawful discharge, got a book contract as a result of the publicity around the lawsuit, met another man, married him, wrote and published a novel and got pregnant. Wheww! Fair warning to anyone reading this: my blog is unlikely to be as exciting.
She's a very good writer, with a wry sense of humor and an interesting point of view, not to mention willing to open her life to the world. She's also very generous with her advice to other bloggers.
Espinasse writes the blog French Word a Day, which she has turned into the book Words in a French Life. An American married to a Frenchman and living in a small Provençal town with their two children, she found that learning the language and learning the life went together and helped her to integrate her Arizona trailer-living personality into a large French family life. She's refreshing and forthright about the problems she met and the unlikely solutions she found.
It was a fun event, but I have to add that walking into the American Library was like walking into America. No matter that the subject was ex-pat life in France, it might have been a branch library in Mill Valley. A wonderful resource for Anglophones but a strange and sudden displacement, repeated in the other direction as we left and raced through the rain to a great and not expensive dinner at chef Christian Constant's wonderful little French diner Les Cocottes. At the moment I prefer being in France.