Suzie Tullet joins me today on The French Escape Blog Blitz to tell us where she gets her inspiration from
It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her.
Brenda, fed up of her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?
But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.
The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.
Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…
Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?
The French Escape is a heart-warming, happy ever after, love story. Follow Flick and Nate’s laugh out loud and emotional journey as they negotiate matters of the heart and learn to trust again.
What inspired The French Escape?
One thing we authors often get asked is where our inspiration comes from. In truth, inspiration comes from many sources. Newspaper and magazine articles, people watching, real life experiences and events, a place or a piece of music… inspiration is everywhere.
So, what inspired The French Escape?
Thinking about it, I suppose my inspiration came from a variety of sources. When we moved to France five years ago, for example, it was obvious the area would make a wonderful setting for a novel. The local scenery is magnificent. There are corn and rape fields as far as the eye can see. Cobbled villages are home to an abundance of stone cottages with their geranium filled window boxes. And the little cafes dotted around are perfect for watching the world go by whilst enjoying a pain au chocolat and a grand café crème. Add to these the place’s rich history, it’s culture, the language, and let’s not forget the food and wine, and Brittany provides the perfect backdrop for a bit of fun and romance.
Another great fount of inspiration came from within the expat community. We’re such a varied bunch, our love of France sometimes being the only thing we have in common. I’ve met fellow writers, artists, pensioners, and parents with young children simply looking for a better life. I’ve met people who’ve travelled the world, having ultimately decided that France is the place to be. And I’ve met people struggling to survive for one reason or another.
Whoever I meet, however, it’s always interesting to hear how we each came to be here. Some of us are searching for a more relaxed lifestyle, whilst some just fancy a better climate. Others are attracted by the cheap house prices compared to those in the UK and some, I’m convinced, are here to reinvent themselves. Not that there’s anything wrong with a bit of reinvention, Madonna and Lady Gaga are proof of that. But for an author living in France, it’s these people’s stories that really get the creative juices flowing. It’s as much about what they’re not saying, as it is about what they are. Enough to make the writer in me wonder if some of us are running from rather than to. Hence, The French Escape.
Of course, it isn’t just the foreigners in Brittany that inspired this novel. Understandably so, the French have played an equally important part in developing this book. From the owner of our local coffee shop, to one of my French writing students, to the little old lady who knocked on our door collecting information for the census, the locals have been inspirational throughout. Over the years, they’ve taught me a lot about the French way of life, the Breton people as a whole, along with their ways and customs.
Admittedly, some of these customs are good, like the mandatory two-hour lunch break. And some of them not so, like the expectation that newcomers go and introduce themselves to the local mayor. A formality that I found too embarrassing to carry out after five days of being here, so you can imagine how I feel after five years! Enough to tell you that, yes, even personal experience has inspired aspects of The French Escape.
Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her novels include Going Underground, Little White Lies and Butterflies, which was short-listed for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, The Trouble with Words and The French Escape.
Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.
Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.