Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore : Interview : Tribute Tour Stop

Welcome!  I'm thrilled to host you today on your tour all over the blogosphere.  Thanks for stopping in and allowing me to pepper you with a few questions.   Who is your favorite author?  

If I had to name one author, I’d probably say Gabriel Garcia Marquez because of the beauty of his prose and the sensual way he creates his worlds. I was writing my first novel when I read Love in the Time of Cholera, and I was drawn into the story by the smells and sounds of the place. I could smell the lavender and orange blossom, feel the languor of the heat of siesta time and hear the breeze rustling through the almond trees. I was totally captivated.  But there are many other novels I have loved for the same reasons – beautiful prose is very important to me, as is the color of the characters (I can’t bear one dimensional, regular characters!) So, a few of the other books I have adored are:  Memoires of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Fingersmith by Sarah Walters, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, all Mary Wesley’s and Daphne du Maurier’s novels and An Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. Oh, I mustn’t forget House of Mirth and Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton! Fabulous! I must also add here that The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas is astonishingly good and all Jane Austen’s one can read over and over again and never get bored!! 

What do you think makes a good story?  

Plot is important – Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca has one of the most stunning twists in literature – but character is even more important.  Julian Fellowes’ novels don’t have complex plots but the characters are so beautifully drawn they are compelling. The reader wants to know what happens to them and that curiosity and pleasure carries him through to the end of the novel.  On the other hand a terrific plot is nothing without great characters, for me character is always paramount.  I’m very particular about what I read and am not one of those dogged people who can get to the end of a book they don’t enjoy.  I have to be gripped from the first chapter or I move on.  One of the most adorable novels I’ve ever read is called Cold Sassy Tree by an American writer called Olive Ann Burns.  Her characters are so fabulous! It’s a great shame that she died before she could finish the next one, because she was a really great writer.  I also like a good balance of humor and drama.  I think it’s important when a book is heavy on tragedy, to lighten it with humor.  Edith Wharton is brilliant at that.  Of course, the prose has to be good – and I have a taste for poetic, beautifully written prose.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s metaphors literally take my breath away.  As an author, these writers are right up there for me to aspire to – they teach me so much.

What books have most influenced your life?

Many books claim to change your life – Eckhart Tolle doesn’t claim anything, he’s far too wise and enlightened for that, but his books really do make you see yourself and the world in a different light.  I read The Power of Now and found it illuminating and fascinating, but the next one hit me between the eyes! It’s called A New Earth and is about living in the Now and how our Ego stands between us and God – us and our true natures.  It’s a very powerful book because if you’re ready for it, it really does have the power to change you for the better and to raise your consciousness.  I also found it easy to understand and to apply to my life – It changed me on a profound level.  I think it’s a massively important book, too – if everyone read it the world would be a better place, for certain.  I dip into it regularly to remind myself of its lessons. 

What book are you reading now? 

I’ve just finished The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, which I loved, so now I’m reading another book by him called Tuesdays with Morrie.  He’s a wise and charming writer.  I was recommended his books by a friend and I am not disappointed.  I want to add also that I’ve just finished Rupert Everett’s second autobiography, Vanished Years – he’s the best autobiographer I have ever read.  A brilliant storyteller, a writer of stunning prose and incredibly funny, he had me laughing out loud. I highly recommend it – but not for the faint hearted, he’s VERY naughty!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Always and only ever a writer!

What are your favorite TV shows? 

I do Pilates every morning to E News! I love Two and a Half Men, Frasier, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Madmen and Sex in the City. The Americans do sitcoms better than anyone else!

What songs are most played on your IPod? 

I write to the big screen soundtracks by John Barry and Ennio Morricone – and most recently, Lord of the Rings! Music is so important to me when I write. I make a playlist for each book and stick to it until the end. It immediately puts me back in the novel – which means when I sit in front of my computer I don’t have to re-read what I wrote the day before, i just continue from where I left off.

Do you play any sports? 

I’m passionate about skiing, love tennis, running and Pilates – I walk a lot in the countryside. I love nature.

What are you passionate about these days?

Nature! It makes me so happy to hear the birds tweeting outside my window where I put feeders for them.  I could watch them for hours! I adore trees and flowers.

Eckhart Tolle says that we feel calm and happy in Nature because the still, eternal part of Nature resonates with the still, eternal part in us, and I know exactly what he means.  I have such a strong, certain sense of God when I’m in a beautiful forest of woodland.  I always set my character is beautiful places – Italy, France, the English coast, but always countryside!

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I go for a walk or a run – have a long bath full of delicious smelling oils, listen to beautiful music, read a good book, or watch one of my favorite shows! I’m very easy going and fortunately don’t get stressed out. I find my work very restful, it’s a meditation – a long visualization where I’m taking myself off somewhere else, so I don’t need to unwind when I’m done. 

What makes you happy?  

Hanging out with my family, preferably in a beautiful place, like the Swiss mountains or at home in the English countryside.  I love having long lunches with my girlfriends, being beside the sea, on the ski slopes, or lolling in a hot, scented bath!!

What is the next big thing? 

With respect to my writing, my new novel, Secrets of the Lighthouse, based in Connemara, Ireland – it comes out in the UK this year but 2014 in the USA.  I’m about to start writing my next. 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?  

I’m psychic. 

You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?  

I’d take my five best girlfriends and my mother to New York, Virgin First Class, stay in the Carlisle and buy them all anything they want – then we’d all go off and spend a week in a fabulous spa in somewhere like Thailand!  

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?  

Seize the day.

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it? 

What goes around, comes around. Whatever you put out you get back – so, if you give out love you’ll receive it. I’m a great believer in that.  When bad things happen to me I try to accept them as perhaps repayment for something unkind I’ve done in my past... in the same way, I accept the good things too, without feeling guilty or undeserving.


When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral, claiming to be the Lord’s illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left her the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow, Antoinette. Eventually, however, Phaedra’s sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an undeniable attraction grows between Phaedra and Frampton’s eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love—blocked by the fury of one family member determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud. Featuring the enchanting characters, scenery, and emotional complexity her fans adore, The Woman from Paris is a sweeping, sophisticated romance about family, forgiveness, and the surprising strength of love.

Prices/Formats: $25.00 hardcover, $11.99 ebook
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451676686
Pages: 400
Release: February 5, 2013

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Santa Montefiore's Bio:

Santa Montefiore is the internationally bestselling author of several novels, including The French Gardener and The Last Voyage of the Valentina. She lives in London with her husband, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children.

Web Site:

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