Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris by Evie Gaughan - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

About Evie Gaughan


Hi, my name is Evie Gaughan and I am the author of The Cross Of Santiago, a fusion of historical and contemporary fiction set in Ireland and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, a magical story about a French boulangerie.
 
Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, I escape from the inclement weather into my converted attic, to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, I developed a love of storytelling and all things historical. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, my stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

When not writing, I also work as an artist, creating stories on canvas. I am currently working on my third novel.

Interview

1. Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m a bit of a dreamer really. From a very young age, I used to bore my family and any visitors that came to the house senseless with long meandering stories. I would take a stool and place it in the middle of the room and proceed to tell them fantastical tales (as least they were to my ears!) that poured out of my head without any kind of filter. Despite years of trying to find ‘proper jobs’, I’ve always been drawn to creative expression. I love to laugh – that’s my secret weapon in life, trying to find the funny side to everything.

2. If you could go back in time which era would you like to visit?

All of them! Writing historical fiction definitely gives you a hankering for the past. The pre-industrial age was so much simpler. Sometimes I think our progress has come at a price – opportunity has turned into expectation, so you feel guilty if you’re not doing a million things at once and posting about it on Facebook. I would like to go back to the Medieval Times, when Ireland was ruled by chieftains and we lived by Brehon laws. I come from the O’Malley clan on my mother’s side – descendants of the great Grainuaile (Grace O’Malley) or the pirate queen as she was known. Women had greater freedom, independence and rights to property than any other European societies of the time. I sometimes wonder if we were closer to gender equality then than we are now!

3. I can read on your website that you are also an artist. What kind of stories do you create on canvas?

Oh yes, my other love! The artist Renoir once said, “There are enough ugly things in life for us not to add to them.” He was from a working class background and his world view was an ideal one, a mythic reality. I suppose I share that outlook and so I paint the world the way I choose to see it. For me, it’s all about bright, vivid colours. I paint scenes that are vibrant and warm and hopefully give the viewer the same feeling of warmth I feel while painting. Art is a lot like writing – the germination of an idea, preparing rough sketches and first drafts. Then you have to walk away, step back and look at the whole before getting back in and creating light and shade, definition. I couldn’t see my life without one or the other.

4. Where do you get your inspiration?

Usually it’s just a snippet of an idea, something I’ll have read or heard about that just strikes a chord with me. My first novel, The Cross Of Santiago, was all about past lives and the idea for that came from a book by a psychologist whose patient started having visions from other lives. The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris was inspired by a French cookery show on TV! The presenter mentioned a bakery that was very secretive and no-one knew who was baking the bread. These little ideas just take root and everything else flows from that.

5. What do you do for fun if you are not writing?

Or if I’m not painting?! I just enjoy simple things, being in nature, having picnics, swimming in the Atlantic, being with family. Good food, good books, good music.

6. Could you tell us about some of your own favorite authors?

The list is changing all of the time. I don’t like to stick too closely to any author or genre, because I think you need to grow as a reader. I am a fan of Joanne Harris, a writer who defies genre and she’s just so damn intelligent! I just finished ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr and would highly recommend it. Anne Enright is another fantastic writer and I’m currently reading ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ by Nina George, which is right up my street – magical, touching and bibliotherapy for the human condition.

7. How do you do your research for your stories?

I always start off by going to the library – a seriously underrated resource these days! When writing historical fiction, it’s very important to get the facts right, but that’s only the beginning. After doing all that research, it’s so tempting to impress/bore the reader with all of the amazing facts you’ve unearthed, so you’ve got to hold back and find interesting ways to weave your knowledge into the story. Research is like an iceberg – you might have to learn an encyclopedic amount, but the reader will only ever see what’s visible above the waterline.

8. Can you tell us something that's typically Irish?

Gift of the gab – it’s not just about talking the face off someone, but charming them too ;)

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep reading, keep writing, keep going! If you don’t tell the story, no-one else will.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m very excited about my third novel, which I am currently in the process of editing. It’s set in Ireland and is also inspired by an historical figure who came here in the early 1900’s and wrote a beautiful book about his ‘unusual’ experiences. I don’t have a publication date as yet, so I won’t say too much more about it, but it is full of charm and magic ;)

Book review
 
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Review by Tanya

35 year-old single Edith Lane is in the middle of a mid life crisis after the death of her mother and she makes a massive change in her life. She leaves Dublin and flies to Paris to take up the role of manager in a little bakery in Paris, or at least she thinks it is in Paris. The bakery is artisan, where the baker makes everything from scratch, but there is a mystery to be discovered about the bakery and a past to uncover. There are friendship bonds to make and love to dispute along with some great music and history.

I can say that I really enjoyed this book, it was a breath of fresh air and I actually learnt a few things about interesting subjects. You find yourself wanting to laugh at the antics of Edith and how she lands herself in a place she was not expecting. At the same time I respected her for making the change. I really like how Edith’s character was shown to get stronger and more independent as the book continued. You can see that the friendships she forms mean a lot to her and that they are the start of great network of people who believe and support her.

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris has parts where you want to cry. At first I did not like Madam Moreau, Edith's boss, but I really warmed to her as the story continued. When I learnt more about her background I began to understand her attitude. In the end I could see her as a mother figure to Edith. Her story is intriguing and very well researched. The knowledge the Evie Gaughan has about the area and French lifestyle shows in the information that is given and it made me want to visit the area. Although I have to say it was not good to read this when trying not to eat bread and cakes, as wow the descriptions are fantastic. 

I did worry that the French language which occasionally appeared in the book would put me off, but you find that the phrases are explained in the responses and I liked that I started to understand it a little. The French added to the book makes you appreciate how it would feel to suddenly live in another country.

I have a request for Evie Gaughan, please write a follow-up to the book as I want to see more of the characters. I think Edith’s dad should move over and bake the cakes and there could be some sort of celebration about the events in the area along with of course a scandal. This book sparked my imagination and I absolutely loved it.

Giveaway
 
3 very lucky winners will receive a digital copy of The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.
 

17 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting and fun read. thanks for sharing. love the interview.

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  2. Love reading books about cooking and/or baking, especially if they take place in Paris!! This book sounds wonderful and I'll be adding it to my TBR list. Enjoyed the interview and review. Best of luck with the book! If I don't win a copy, I'll definitely buy it! :-)

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  3. interesting inspiration

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  4. Question for the author: What does your writing process look like?

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  5. Thank you for the chance to win your book. Interesting review and interview

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  6. Hello everyone - First of all I want to thank the 'With Love For Books' team for featuring my novel. I really enjoyed the interview and I'm delighted to read such a lovely review. As for my writing process, I'm afraid to say it's not very structured! I have begun using NaNoWriMo (the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month) to get my first draft started. With those kind of wordcounts, you need to be very disciplined! Once the first draft is done, I'm much more relaxed with the process and I allow the story to grow organically from there.

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    1. I can't wait to read your next book! Thanks for explaining your writing process :).

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  7. Evie, you books sounds wonderful! I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  8. looking forward to reading the book, it looks great!

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  9. Good luck with your book it sounds fab

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  10. Thanks for the competition - looks like a great book!

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  11. The book description sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the interview too.

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  12. thank you sooo much for this giveaway!

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  13. Great post and giveaway, thanks! :)

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