Bienvenue, Karen! I absolutely love the premise for your travel log, Bonjour 40. Please tell our readers a little bit about your book.
The book began as a blog. I went to Paris for my fortieth birthday for a whole month and to keep in touch with everyone back home I posted a photo every day along with an entry you could read in about forty seconds. When I returned, my readers and I both missed the blog. I wrote longer pieces to add depth and details, and basically doubled the content. Selfishly, it was a way to relive my amazing trip. Unselfishly, it was a way to share my dream adventure with others in the hopes they would, too.
Of all of the cities you could've traveled to for your 40th birthday, why Paris?
The reasons are numerous. I wanted to learn and speak French. It’s a wonderous city with so much to do. It’s gorgeous in the Spring (I traveled there in May). It’s the city of lights and love. I visited Paris fifteen years ago for only five days and I fell in love with her then. I wanted a full-fledged month-long affair with her. I wanted to feel what it was like to live there.
What was the best thing you ate during your 40 day trip?
Bread. No. Cheese. Walnut-encrusted cheese. No, pesto stuffed gnocci. No. Chocolate. No, strawberries. No. It was these cupcakes from Once Upon a Cake in the market near the Eiffel Tower. Mussels in Dijon? No, it was the almond trout with rosemary potatoes on my first day. Maybe it was this cinnamon chicken with risotto in Café Charlot…
And the worst? (if there even was a worst:)
Mussels. I went to a restaurant that specialized in mussels in Paris. It turned out they were a chain like IHOP serving lousy mussels to ignorant tourists. I should have known better when the menu was laminated and full of pictures. They rush you through the meal. Very un-Parisian.
Have you ever thought about moving to Paris? If you have, what's stopping you?
After my month in Paris, I’d love to move there. I feel more inspired there. Income and Ted’s (my partner’s) business are the main reasons I can’t live there. But I have a plan. If more people bought Bonjour 40, I could write more books. If I write more, and people read more, I can write from anywhere, including Paris.
Are you currently working on another book? If so, tell us about it.
Yes! My current project is a big historical fiction novel about the Declaration of Independence. I wish I had more time to work on it. It’s a heavy amount of research, and I’m really enjoying the process.
Will there be any more travel logs in your future? Bonjour 41 perhaps?
We’re planning a trip next year for Ted’s birthday. He turns 60 next fall, and it looks like Italy will be the trip. So, Ciao 60 it is! Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be able to go for 60 days.
What are your interests and passions outside of writing?
Photography is a big part of my life and Bonjour 40. I also cook and bake. We’re remodeling and updating an old 1900s house. I also run my own branding and design studio. I build logos, websites and collateral for individuals and companies. I’ve branched into doing book covers, book trailers (I did my own), and author materials, too.
If you had to advise our readers on the three best things to do while visiting Paris, what would you recommend?
Walk everywhere. Skip the metro–Paris streets and sights are made for pedestrians. If you’re brave and you need to get somewhere specific, bike. For eight euros a week you can ride Vélib’ everywhere, and every good Parisian does. The Louvre is amazing, but if you want to really get to know Paris, go to the Musée Carnavalet. It has the history of Paris, and even the rooms themselves are from old homes, salons and shops. It’s fascinating, free, and beautiful.
Merci for taking the time to chat with us about Paris and about your fabulous new release, Karen! We’re looking forward to Ciao 60!
To all of our Paris-loving readers, you can find Karen on her beautiful blog, Compositions, and you can purchase her book on Amazon.