An Aussie Author in Provence by Robert L J Borg a.k.a. Louise Roberts
Article previously published November 2017 in Hearts Talk – the official magazine of Romance Writers of Australia
People living in Golfe-Juan will tell you the country is made of two parts: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur [PACA] and the rest of France. Since moving here in March 2016 I can now appreciate what they mean; for in this region everything seems to move at a very slow pace. As an example it took almost a year since buying my apartment into actually receiving the deeds.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the place; quite the opposite in fact. France in general is a very beautiful country – I travelled around it a fair bit in the late 1970’s, but the south of France is an entity that swallows you whole.
In winter, the coastal towns are so laid back you feel as though you are the only one living here – it is so quiet. However, when spring and summer arrive, it’s as though someone has applied a defibrillator to it, as the region suddenly becomes fast paced and alive with tourists, the rich and famous among their number. Stunning yachts fill the ports, exotic cars cruise the coastal roads, and restaurants and bars are filled to bursting.
It inspires you to visit new locations and revisit places you have been to before. As an author this time of the year is best, especially for people watching. The more you see, the more character developments start to fill your repertoire to eventually find themselves into one of your stories. It is an inspirational part of the world where history and traditional values play an important role in its very special identity.
I left Australia with an amount of uncertainty at what I might find. When I arrived I knew I had made the right decision. Although the French can be suspicious, annoyingly slow, and have a weird sense of humor, they have also a generosity with their time for you, especially when you make the effort to speak their language. French is not particularly easy when you haven’t used it since learning it at school – in my case some fifty plus years ago. I still struggle with it today even though I am told I speak it very well [personally I think they are just being polite].
Re-reading everything I have written so far, it sounds like a plug for their tourist office, but changing it would mean that all I have said hasn’t had a major effect on my writing, when in fact it has.
Since March 2016 two books were released by Luminosity Publishing under my pen name, Louise Roberts, and a third was released on 26th October. The 37,000 word novella “Dragoon Serenade” is located in this area set during the lead up to the Allied invasion of southern France on 15th August 1944. The region’s history, its people, the communities that encompasses them has entirely influenced my story. You can get a glimpse of it on my blog or view the book trailer on YouTube:
On 15th November 2017 Luminosity Publishing will be releasing a paperback entitled “Romance in War – Volume One”. This comprises of books 1 – “Letter from a Stranger” and 2 – “Dragoon Serenade”.
Despite giving my pseudonym the bulk of my time, I have also found some for myself. Apart from writing fiction, I also dabble in travel writing which is probably why the start of this article sounds like a travel brochure. More importantly for me, I have had the time to completely re-write my very first novel “Out of the Darkness”. Although originally completed in 1994 I never thought it good enough to submit. The calming effect the Côte d’Azur has influenced me to have the courage to tear it apart and start again. Hopefully I can find a home for it in 2018.
At present I also have two Works-in-Progress on the go, but I’m not rushing them as that would go against the way things are done in the south of France.
RLB – Tomewriter