Friday, 15 February 2008

Better be tasty, it's a long way for dinner!

light snow, sun struggling through, breezy, highs minus 5

Had a lovely day yesterday. Peaceful, quiet. Went to the village briefly because Michael's computer at the office wouldn't stop sending this one email to McGill University. They wrote to say, 'Yes, they understood his request. He could stop sending it now.' Amazingly polite. So we shut down his computer.

We're not going in to the office a lot these days. Michael would, but I'm really enjoying writing this book at home. Each book is so different - like kids I guess. Just when you figure you have them figured out, along comes another one with totally different demands.

Still Life I wrote at my leisure at home, in fields, by lakes as I followed Michael and his eisel around. Took a few years.

A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold I wrote in the living room, and was so stressed I developed an antipathy to the room. I'm a homebody, so that was a sadness for me.

The Cruelest Month we decided to rent this magnificent loft space in the village. It's a former feed store, and we're upstairs with this huge, curved, vaulting roof. Stunning. We love it. Wrote in the morning, had lunch in the village, saw people. Felt so right and so free.

The fourth book was also written there, with great joy. But we also needed to travel, so it was also written on the laptop in the tiny fishing village of Newlyn, Cornwall, in a flat in Knightsbridge, London, in Seattle, in Vancouver. I learned writing book 4 that I actually could write anywhere. There was nothing particularly magic about the place. A great relief and freedom.

This book, for some reason, I really want to write back at home. In front of the fireplace. Cozy, comfortable, familiar. And the book is simply pouring out. Maybe it's also a bit like pregnancies (says she who has never been pregnant). Different cravings. With this book I crave home. But I know if I had to I could happily write it on a barge. Phew.

One of the unexpected gifts of being published is old friends reappear. That happened a few months ago when I got an email from Ian Crysler. A man I was a Lawrence Park Collegiate with (high school). He's a photographer now. And he's married to one of the most successful children's authors in Canada!!! Barbara Reid, who I also went to school with. She does amazing illustrations using plasticine to give them that three dimensional effect. Her works are simply stunning and if we had more than puppies I'd be buying boatloads.

They live in Toronto and we met up when I was there doing an event just before Christmas and invited them down here. Our local Brome lake books has a special Barbara Reid section, she's that popular and good. So they arrive today - an 8 hour drive from Toronto, poor ones. Staying in the guest cottage next door and coming for an easy dinner tonight.

I invited Lucy and Danny, the owners of the bookstore for dinner too. Lucy's coming but Danny's staring in the local Brome Lake Players amateur theatre production.

We'll have salmon, roast vegetables and rice. Fresh baguette, salad and ending with a Tarte Tatin and English cream. Not a NutriSystem pack in sight!

But first, writing by the fire. What a life.


Dee said...

Okay, here goes. I did not want to be the first to ask, but it looks like I will have to be.
Are you going to post your recipe for "tarte tatin" ?

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Dee,

Wish I could take credit for cooking up the Tarte - but I can't. It belongs to a local caterer 'Chez Matis'. However, Mike and Dom are coming down next weekend and Dom says he makes Tarte Tatin - so I'll ask mif he'll put his recipe on the blog.

Stand back - it's fab (and wicked)!