We’re so pleased to have author Ariel Tachna joining us today to chat a bit about her new novel, At Your Service. She’s also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of a book from her backlist, so be sure to pay special attention to details below.
Je suis américaine de naissance mais mon cœur est dijonnais.
That was the quote that opened a newspaper article about me, published while I was working on my master’s degree in second language education. While I’m no longer teaching, the sentiment behind them is as true now as it was fifteen years ago. I am American by birth, but my heart is Dijonnais. Anyone who has talked to me for more than five minutes can tell you that I love France and all things French, from the language to the café culture to the custom of kissing your friends on the cheek in greeting, and that love is reflected in my writing, especially in my newest release, At Your Service.Writing At Your Service gave me a chance to indulge my love of France not just obliquely, like in some of my older titles that take place in France with French characters, but blatantly by writing a character who loves France as much as I do and who takes the time to appreciate what it means to visit there, live there, and fall in love there.
I discovered French when I was twelve, as a seventh grader who had to choose a language as an elective. I’d grown up hearing we were descended from a French family, so that was no hard choice. It took me all of three weeks to decide that whatever else I did with my life, I would speak this language. I can proudly say I accomplished that goal.
The love for the language expanded in 1992 when I moved to France the first time. I was welcomed by an incredible host family (I still keep in touch with them all these years later) who treated me as part of their family, not merely a boarder, and slots me right back into their lives when I go to visit now. I ate dinner with them, watched TV with them, helped the girls with their homework and was helped with mine in return, and I fell in love. I fell in love with a graceful jewel of a city where medieval architecture blended with Renaissance and Classical buildings to create a downtown area full of life and history and culture. I fell in love with a café where the owner knew me by name—and welcomed me back two years later when I moved back for a second time… and still buys me a drink when I come back to visit almost twenty-five years later. I fell in love with a little restaurant where I could get a three-course meal for 60 francs (about $16 at the time) and spend all evening talking with friends, never feeling rushed to vacate the table for a second group of people.
I also (possibly not coincidentally) met and fell in love with the man I’ve been married to for twenty years this July. He’s actually Indian, not French, though, so he’s a footnote to this story, as much as the love of my life can ever be called a footnote.
Anthony, the American in At Your Service, shares many of those experiences. He too was an exchange student. He too retains close friendships with the people he met as a student. He too appreciates the different pace of life France offers. He too appreciates the ineffable style that seems to surround French men. (Google Olivier Martinez if you don’t know who he is. Seriously.)
At the same time, he isn’t French, so he can take a minute to smile over the bathtubs with a shower head but no curtain (you have to sit down in the tub and hold the nozzle between your knees) or the shutters that actually open and close so you can block out the sunlight if you want to keep from waking up at sunrise. He can comment on the array of specialty shops that dot the streets rather than the big-box stores so common in America. He can bring to life and consciousness the little secrets that tourists may never see but that make France such a vibrant place for me.
Come take a walk with me and see a side of Paris and of France you may never have seen before.
Special thanks to Lisa and everyone at The Novel Approach for hosting me today as well as to all the readers who’ve taken the time to read my post. Comment below with your favorite place to visit for a chance to win your choice of any of my backlist titles.
(**Contest deadline is 11:59pm Pacific Time on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. One winner will be drawn at random on Thursday, the 24th, and notified by email for prize delivery**)
Blurb: When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.
Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.
Author bio and links: When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.
She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).
The Fine Print:
*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law