There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you, mes amis, but I didn’t want to jinx it. But now that the news has appeared today in Publishers Lunch, I’m so excited to announce: I’m writing another book! Here’s what happened…
I was working very happily on my second novel — about a female sommelier — when one day in the shower I was simply SEIZED with an idea for another book. A nonfiction book. About French regional cuisine.
And so, I found myself writing a book proposal, not without a bit of anguish — have you ever worked on one of these? It’s a most unnatural exercise — which I then sent to my literary agent. She offered advice and ideas and suggested I add another sample chapter. I wrote and rewrote (and rewrote), sent it to her again, and, two weeks ago she called to tell me… it had sold!
The book is called Mastering the Art of French Eating and it’s my quest to travel through France and discover the country’s best known regional dishes. Each chapter will focus on the history of a different place and its signature dish — for example, crêpes from Brittany, choucroute from Alsace, or boeuf Bourguignon from Burgundy.
Tying the book together will be my experiences as a diplomat’s wife — a trailing spouse — living in France. It’s a story about forging an identity through food. About the solitary year I spent in Paris while my husband was in Iraq. About striving to eat the French way — not just to fuel the body, but also to nourish the soul. Above all, it’s the story of a young woman learning to build a balanced life of love and work — dish by dish.
I’m so thrilled that the book will be edited by Pamela Dorman and published by her eponymous imprint at Viking Penguin. Especially thrilled because — here’s the amazing, wonderful part — once upon a time, I was Pam’s editorial assistant! Yes, as a young college graduate, I worked for Pam at Viking, making photocopies, fielding phone calls, nursing paper cuts, and learning all about the publishing industry. Working with her again is a huge honor.
The manuscript is due next spring, and the book will be published sometime in the spring of 2013. Until then, I’ll be traveling, researching, eating and writing. (If it sounds like I thought up this project just so I’d have an excuse to drift about France indulging in delicious food… well — you just might be right.)
As always, I look forward to keeping you posted on my voyages and eating adventures via this blog, mes amis! Thank you for sharing this happy news with me. I’m simply brimming over with excitement and enthusiasm for this project.
Julia Child, another member of the trailing spouse sisterhood, once said: “It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate, you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” Just kidding. Well, she did say that, but the quote I really want to share is this: “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about — enjoying things.”
I’m ready to eat, aren’t you?