Tuesday, February 16, 2016

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Michelle Gable - I'll See You In Paris

I'm so happy to welcome back to the blog Michelle Gable who is here to tell us about her second novel, I'll See You In Paris.
Michelle's publisher St. Martin's Press is generously offering one copy of I'll See You In Paris and Michelle's debut novel, A Paris Apartment as a giveaway. Details below






















ISBN-13: 9781250070630
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 02/09/2016
Length: 400 pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


Overview

New York Times Best Selling Author of A Paris Apartment
Three women, born generations apart.
One mysterious book that threads their lives together.
A journey of love, discovery, and truth…
I’ll See You in Paris is based on the real life of Gladys Spencer-Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, a woman whose life was so rich and storied it could fill several books. Nearly a century after Gladys’s heyday, a young woman’s quest to understand the legendary Duchess takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a dilapidated manse kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately, to Paris, where answers will be found at last. In the end, she not only solves the riddle of the Duchess but also uncovers the missing pieces in her own life.
At once a great love story and literary mystery, I’ll See You in Paris will entertain and delight, with an unexpected ending that will leave readers satisfied and eager for Gable’s next novel.

St. Martin's Press is offering one copy
of A Paris Apartment and I'll See You In Paris
to one lucky entrant US ONLY
please use Raffelcopter form to enter
Good Luck!



Read an Excerpt Courtesy of St. Martin's Press: 

One

GOOSE CREEK HILL

MIDDLEBURG, VIRGINIA

OCTOBER 2001

“Maybe she’ll surprise us,” Eric said.

They walked along the path toward the barn, Annie’s sandals crunching against the gravel. It was eighty degrees, unusually warm for that time of year, an Indian summer. The sun was bright, the hillsides green and flashing. The leaves had not yet begun to change.

“Surprise us?” Annie said, her stomach wobbly. Somewhere in the distance a horse whinnied. “Uh, no. My mom doesn’t surprise anyone.”

“Come on, have a little faith. It happens all the time. You think you know someone and suddenly…” He snapped his fingers and turned. “Just like that. Boom. A complete one-eighty.”

As he spun around, Annie laughed.

“Laurel Haley doesn’t make one-eighties,” she said. “Her entire life’s been a strictly measured line going in one direction.”

Except for a slight detour, she hastened to add. The detour being Annie.

“But she loves you,” Eric said, taking her hand. “And I know she’ll be as excited as we are. I can feel it.”

Annie smiled, his relentless optimism enchanting her every time. He was unflagging with it, dedicated to perpetual sunniness like he was working it out in boot camp. She couldn’t decide if this was a very useful or extremely dangerous attitude for someone about to board a Marine Expeditionary Unit bound for the Middle East.

“Maybe you’re right,” she said, succumbing to his Eric-ness yet again.

It wasn’t impossible. Laurel claimed Annie’s happiness was her number one priority. She was happy with Eric. Perhaps this really was enough.

They paused by the stable’s entrance. Annie inhaled deeply as a gaggle of tween girls loped past, all lanky and athletic and at the start of beautiful but not quite grown into their breeches or boots.

“Okay,” she said. “Here we go.”

She took a few cautious steps forward and then peered into one of the stalls where she saw Laurel tacking a horse.

“Beautiful job today, Sophie,” Laurel said as a mother and daughter scooted by. “I’m out of town for the next two weeks. Margaret will be doing the lessons for me.”

The young girl waved, and then grinned at Annie as she passed. Sophie was one of the twenty or so children Laurel taught for free. Medically challenged girls, those not expected to live long or those not expected to live well. Even when Laurel worked full-time at the gleaming law firm downtown, she always made time for these girls.

“Oh, hi, Annie!” Laurel said as she buckled the mare’s bridle. “Eric. I didn’t know you guys were here.”

“Was that your last student?” Annie asked, feeling Eric’s presence solid behind her. “Are you busy?”

“Nope, not busy at all.” Laurel tightened the strap. “Just finished a lesson and headed out for a ride. So, what’s up?”

She gripped the reins in her right hand, face playing at a twitchy smile. Laurel always knew when Annie was up to no good, when she was hiding something or stretching the truth in some important way. This savvy baffled Annie given her mom lived in the narrowest possible world, comprised of work and Annie and the horses. Laurel quit her job a year ago so now it was down to Annie and the farm. How was it she understood so much?

“The two of you have something to tell me,” Laurel said, breaking the ice because no one else would. “Might as well fess up. I think your nervous energy is about to spook the horses.”

“Ma’am, I wanted to get your permission,” Eric started, his voice strong and assured.

Annie winced, waiting for Laurel to drop a big fat cloud over them. Her mom was kind, generous, at times outright funny. But Laurel could sniff out a bad idea from a mile away and was never afraid to complain about the smell.

“I’m sorry I didn’t ask you first,” Eric went on. “But, well, there’s not a lot of time before my deployment. And y’all have your trip to England. Everything’s happened so fast. But I’m asking now.”

Oh God, Annie thought, heart sprinting. Maybe this is a mistake. But it was already too late.

“May I marry your daughter?” he asked.

After that: silence. Even the horse seemed uncomfortable, sheepishly kicking at the hay.

“Ma’am…?”

“Are you truly asking me?” Laurel said at last. “Or are you telling me?”

“Mom!”

“It’s okay, Annie,” Eric said and rubbed her arm. “We’ve ambushed her. Give your mama the chance to adjust.”

“I’m weirdly not that shocked,” Laurel said with a careful laugh. “Somehow I knew this was coming.”

“I love her, Ms. Haley. I swear to you before God and country that I will treat your daughter better than any prince she’s ever dreamed.”

“My daughter was never one for princes,” Laurel said. “Annie’s not that kind of girl.”

“Mom, can you chill out for a second?”

Chill out? Annabelle, honestly.”

“Ma’am, I love Annie,” Eric said, his Alabama accent at maximum strength.

Though Annie’s insides puddled at the sound of it, she knew her mom was skeptical of anything resembling romance. Futures were best made in barns and investment accounts, not in “I love yous” from handsome young marines.

“I’ll make this world a better place for her,” he added.

“Oh, Eric,” Laurel said, and chuckled again. “There are so many things I could say right now.”

“How about ‘okay’?” Annie grumbled. “That’d be a good start.”

As much as she wanted her mother’s approval, and held out the feeblest hope she’d receive it, Annie understood what Laurel saw. The whole thing smacked of desperation, of what the hell am I going to do with my life now?Screw it. I’ll just marry the next guy I meet.

Standing in that barn was a mother, and before her was an unemployed recent college graduate. Beside the graduate was a man—if you could call him that—a twenty-one-year-old marine about to board a float destined for Afghanistan.

This marine was suggesting marriage, to the jobless daughter no less, who’d been dating a different boy only a few months before. By the time Eric returned from deployment, they will have been apart longer than they were together … times seven.

All that and Annie had met him at a dive bar. She was sucking down the last dregs of a bad house wine while listening to her best friend, Summer, lament that working in a senator’s office wasn’t so much public service as coffee service. Starbucks runs in exchange for a paycheck and health care sounded like a respectable gig to the incomeless Annie but Summer disagreed.

“I’d rather be unemployed,” Summer insisted.

“And have your mother buy your birth control pills?” Annie asked.

“Admittedly that would be awkward. But it’s just so damned boring. I want to be doing more.”

“Don’t we all,” Annie said, and took a final gulp of wine.

Without warning, a man rose to his feet.

He was a large boy really, screamingly clean-cut and soldierly, a marine as it turned out. A round of drinks on him, he announced, to celebrate his upcoming deployment and to thank them, the citizens, for supporting their efforts. Annie’s first thought was, Thank God, because I can’t afford another drink.

Her second was: Wow, that guy is hot. Too bad he likes guns.

Amid backslaps and handshakes, the brown-eyed, black-haired puppy dog of a man then gave an impassioned speech about fidelity and freedom and the U.S. of A. It was a week after 9/11 and so the response was deafening. By the end of it, every person in the bar stood, looped arms with a neighbor, and belted out the only song that mattered.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

’Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.

“Jesus Christ,” Summer said when the excitement dissipated. “Why do I suddenly feel like joining the navy?”

At once Annie was changed.

At once she was done with aloof Virginia boys and their swoopy hair, those lame belts embroidered with smiling whales. She wanted a hero, a man with a little spirit, a guy who could raise a room to sing.

Perhaps it was the result of too much Edwardian fiction in college and the hours spent soaking in whimsy. Or maybe he was that valiant. Either way, with 9/11 the entire world changed, in major ways and in minor ones, all the way down to, it seemed, Annie’s taste in men.

There was no decent way to explain this to Laurel, of course. Military or not, you simply didn’t marry someone you met last month. Annie wanted her mom to be excited but understood why Laurel couldn’t find it in herself to even pretend. A tiny part of her wondered if Laurel was right. She was about most things.

“Don’t pressure your mother,” Eric said, reaching once again for her hand. “Ma’am, any questions you have about my family or my character, I’m pleased to answer.”

“Eric,” Laurel said and sighed. “It’s nothing against you personally. In the three seconds I’ve known you, you seem like a very nice boy. But you’re young, you’ve only just met. On top of that you’re going off to war.”

“Geez, Mom, don’t be so dramatic. This isn’t 1940.”

“A war’s a war.”

“She’s right,” Eric said.

Annie blinked. A war’s a war. He was going off to fight, wasn’t he? Did she even appreciate what it meant to be a marine? Had the people in the bar comprehended what they were singing about?

“At least tell me you’re waiting,” Laurel said. “That you’ll get married when he’s done with his tour. All his tours. When the war is over and there are no more deployments.”

“Yes, of course,” he said, though they’d agreed to no specific timing.

And done? Eric would never be done. This was his career. He was in it for the long haul, one deployment tacked onto the next, a long trip with only breaks and no end.

“Okay,” Laurel said and exhaled loudly. She closed her eyes. “Good. Wise move.” After several moments, she opened them back up. “Well, let’s see the ring. There is a ring, yes?”

“Of course there’s a ring!” Annie chirped.

She extended a jittery, unsure hand in her mom’s direction to display the faintest chip of a diamond of a ring. A tenth of a carat? A twentieth? Even the gold band was so delicate it nearly disappeared. Good thing Annie had petite hands.

“It’s beautiful,” Laurel said, sounding genuine and almost comforted by the modest piece of jewelry. Eric Sawyer wasn’t some spoiled kid supported by his parents. The same could not be said for Annie.

“Again, ma’am, I’m sorry I didn’t ask you first. I’m a traditional man. I should’ve followed the appropriate etiquette.”

“In case you haven’t noticed,” Annie said. “We’re not exactly a traditional family.”

There was no father to ask, is what she meant. A traditional path would’ve involved the dad. Who would walk Annie down the aisle anyway? Her mother? A pair of geldings?

“Okay.” Eric flushed, the pink high on his cheeks. “All right.”

“Well, congratulations, you two,” Laurel said as she led the horse out of its stall. “Sorry to dash but I want to get a ride in before dark. Eric, please join us for dinner, if you can.”

“Yes, absolutely,” he said, stumbling over his words. “Thank you. I’d be honored.”

When Laurel was out of the building, on her horse and galloping into meadow, Annie turned to face Eric for the first time since they walked into the barn.

“That went okay?” he said timidly.

“It did,” she answered with a nod. “Maybe even better than expected.”

Yet she felt unsettled.

Even with Laurel’s tacit approval, something wasn’t right. Annie should’ve been filled with love right then, toward her fiancé and her mom who was, if not excited, at least gracious. But despite these things going for her, going for them, there remained a hole, a slow leak of something Annie couldn’t quite explain.


Michelle, Hi! Welcome back to the blog.
Congratulations on your sophomore offering, I’ll See You in Paris.
Tell my readers a bit about it please.
Thanks for having me back!
The first seed of I’ll See You in Paris was planted while researching A Paris Apartment. Artist Giovanni Boldini is a central character in my debut. Back in the Gilded Age, you weren’t anyone unless he painted you and so I studied every person Boldini rendered. When I stumbled upon Gladys Deacon, I knew she had to get top billing in a future novel. Her stories are varied and wild. I even developed a morning show television segment based on her antics. It’s called “Ten Ways to Keep Your Lover in Line” and all ten examples are taken from the Duchess’s life.
One of the most riveting parts of Gladys’s story is that she disappeared from her palace in the 1930s and turned up in a dilapidated, Grey Gardens-style manse in the 1970s. I knew the reader had to meet her in this location.
As with my first book, I wanted to incorporate a modern-day storyline too. The post-9/11 angle struck me as ideal given a large chunk of the tale takes place in the final years of the Vietnam War. The juxtaposition of the two wars intrigued me: one very much supported (at least at first) and one vastly out of favor.

What is it about Paris that keeps you writing about it?
Who doesn’t love Paris? Besides its undeniable beauty, I love its history and trying to imagine what might’ve happened in its various nooks and corners. I also appreciate their food culture and tendency to savor meals and conversation. Paris is such a unique mix of fast-paced and relaxed and it's easy to get sucked into its vibe. On top of that, it’s “raised” many writers and artists. Very motivating!
The first portion of the book takes place in the English countryside, where the Duchess spent most of her life. However, Paris was very important to her and though she was American, Gladys Deacon considered herself Parisian through-and-through. Because of this, I wanted to resolve the story in her favorite setting. When I took my family to the city after the launch of A Paris Apartment, Île Saint-Louis enchanted us and so I decided it’d serve as center stage in the conclusion. “I’ll see you in Paris” is taken from a line said by a character.

What was the biggest difference in the process between birthing novel number two and novel number one?
From a professional aspect, this was the first book I wrote on contract, which was intimidating but ultimately fantastic as I could consult my editor along the way. And at least potential rejections were reduced to one!

Michelle you received great early reviews for both of your novels. Congratulations!
Do you look forward to reviews or do you treat them like poison ivy?
Thank you! I’m probably somewhere in the middle. I look forward to reviews on some level but it’s always nerve-wracking. My biggest wish is that each book gets better. I don’t mean better in terms of sales or bestseller lists—of course that would be fantastic, but it’s out of my control. I want better writing and a better story. An early review said I’ll See You in Paris was “head and shoulders” above my first. Although it was somewhat of a backhanded compliment but I was thrilled.
I read all trade and blogger reviews but after the first few dozen Amazon and Goodreads ones, I stop. It’s good to learn what people like and don’t like (though I always laugh when it’s intentional…yes! I know she’s “immature!” On purpose!) But after the first batch it’s better to stay away. God forbid I agree with a negative review and the book is already out there! People can be brutal online and I find it’s better to plow ahead on my next project. I don’t obsess, a good thing in this business.

You mention in your bio that you studied accounting in college. How does someone with such a logical mind find peace in such a non-logical profession?
Or do you treat writing logically too?
Yes, I definitely treat writing with logic and like a business. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think it’s the same thing everyone else on the planet has…“blah, I don’t wanna work today!”
Plus my background helps with the writing. Accounting and finance are about structure and logic and you need both in a novel. You can't throw a bunch of words onto the page and expect a story to come out. I'm also very disciplined. When it's time to write, I write! No waiting for a muse.
In my current job of Vice President of Investor Relations, I give a lot of presentations. This is great prep for book tours! Answering book-related questions is far easier than getting drilled about financials by a cranky hedge fund manager. 

Do any friends or family after reading your works accuse you of using them as a character?
Would they be right?
In A Paris Apartment I based April's brother, Brian, on my actual brother, also named Brian, and also a techy surfer. He doesn’t have a big role, but I wanted a lighthearted character to offer a jolt of sunshine. I got in trouble for that one. My mom thought I’d based the parents on her and my dad. Not a favorable comparison! I won’t make that mistake again.

Michelle I’ve heard other authors say the pressure for getting novel two published is more than their debut.
Did you find this true too?
I wouldn’t say it was more pressure because after five years of rejected manuscripts it’s infinitely nicer to have a publisher and be under contract. That said, it’s an odd stress to be writing to certain expectations, in a certain genre, on a timeline. Before, if I started a novel, and it didn’t work, I could switch to something else. Or, hey! Young Adult sounds fun! I’ll try that! There’s more freedom. But I’ll gladly take the “problems” of being under contract.

I see you have links to all the social sites.
How much time do you spend there?
It depends how busy I am. I spend the most time with my personal Facebook account, followed by my writer Facebook page, though I can go weeks without posting. I’m not that great at Twitter. I recently started using Instagram and it’s my favorite by far. It’s so easy to post pictures and to get inspired by others’ photos. People have posted the most stunning images featuring my books—it blows me away! Pinterest is fun for keeping track of great reads and research for my own work. I think the trick is finding out what you like, so it’s not a chore.

Michelle, this is totally off the literary topic but you mentioned in your bio that you’re a sports obsessed maniac and love the Chargers if they remain in San Diego. I, unfortunately, just lost my beloved Rams who have abandoned their second city for their first.
How will you feel about them if they don’t stay?
Oh my gosh, my heart goes out to you! As long as they remain the San Diego Chargers, I will continue to root for them. They’ve been part of this city for over fifty years, but if they go to L.A. I’m done.
Before the team announced they’d remain in San Diego for 2016 I was trying to pick a new favorite team and considered the L.A. Rams, but they failed my “no jerk owner” clause. Funny enough, when news broke that they’d stay another year, a reporter called me for a quote. Here is a link to the article:

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with the new novel.
Are your fan events listed on your website?
Yes! All events are listed on my website at the link below. We are continuing to add dates so check back if your city isn’t on there!


Connect with Michelle - Website- Facebook - Twitter

MEET Michelle:
New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, graduated from the College of William & Mary. She is the head of investor relations for a publicly traded software company and a card-carrying member of the Chickasaw Nation. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.







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Card Catalog Note Cards
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18 comments:

  1. I have been to Paris a handful of times and absolutely love it. Most recently, I celebrated my daughter's 16th birthday on a mom and daughter trip to London and Paris and it was awesome to share the experience with my daughter. <3

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    1. Oh L that's fantastic I bet you had a fabulous time and what a lasting memory
      Thanks for stopping by

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  2. I haven't been to Paris but dream about it. I would love to explore Le Marais and walk along the Seine, explore all the markets and enjoy the culinary delights.

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    1. Me either traveler and I'm right with you on dreaming about it!

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  3. I was just checking this book out last week when I saw it on Netgalley so thanks for this Debbie!

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    1. You're welcome Ali I hope you and your family are feeling better. I'm actually down with the flu too, but luckily I have help and no small children

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  4. I absolutely love the setting and premise. Thanks for introducing me to the novel(s) and author Debbie!

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    1. You're Welcome Kim. Its on my very large pile. hmmm maybe I should have joined your tbr meme :)

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  5. Oh, that does sound good. I like those that are like two stories in one with the past and present.
    That's neat about the way the accountant work helps with the writing. Hadn't thought of it that way.

    Fun interview!

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    1. I love that theme too Sophia Rose, the Forgotten Room by Karen White Beatriz Williams and Laura Willig is like that too!

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  6. Thanks for highlighting this book Debbie. I had sort of seen it around but now reading the blurb and interview I have to say... it's going on the wish list and I hope I get to it this year!!

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    1. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you Kathryn!

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  7. Great interview! I believe it does help to have an editor. Just that trained eye to peek at your story to help you make it better and not just look for errors

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  8. BabyG's ears perked up! Based on someone named Gladys?! She totally approves!

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    1. Oh and yes I've been to Paris a few times :D Last time I was there for 6 weeks taking classes and got my tongue pierced. It was a great trip :D

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    2. Well first I'm glad BabyG approves and wow I'm green with envy Anna what fun!

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  9. Once, but it was a tour type of thing, so not for long enough! Would love to return!

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