Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ornament winner - and Paris

Mainly cloudy, cool, temps minmus 6

What a fun day, so far...

Heading off by train to Quebec City...on Via Rail. I'm always a little surprised by how dull the terrain is. Very flat, not especially pretty...we hardly see the St. Lawrence river...but as we get close to Quebec we cross it, and that's quite spectacular. It's a wonderful train trip...I'm very lucky that my publishers send me first class so I got a lovely large seat to myself, with meals. And a chance to just stare out the window and daydream. Heaven.

Once in Quebec City it was 4pm and dark. Sun sets so early these days. Took a cab up to the CBC-Radio Canada offices on St. Jean, which is just outside Les Portes St. Jean - the gates through the thick stone wall into Old Quebec. There are three gates, of which this is one.

Jacquie Czernin had me on her 4-6 show. What a lovely woman she is. We worked together briefly before I moved From Quebec City to Montreal back in 1990 (can barely stant it that it was 18 years!!!). We had a great time on her show - chatting to the whole province.

Then Guy Dubois, the owner of La Maison Anglaise bookstore picked me up. He's an old friend and he and his wife Christine have a 2 week old daughter - their first. Gabrielle. Michael and I got her the softed little bunny rabbit doll. I forget how tiny and pretty little ones are. And Gabrielle is adorable...I met her later in the evening. But Guy drove me across town to my hotel.

Now - if you need to go to Quebec City - or actually the neighboring suburb of Ste Foy - you must stay at the Hotel ALT. It's a fabulous boutique hotel, all re-done, with amazing bathrooms, and ?TV's and lighting, huge high loft ceilings, massive rooms, comfortable huge beds. Perfect. It was all I could do to leave it to walk to the talk and signing. One note about the Hotel ALT - do not stay there if your interntion is to visit Quebec City - it's too far out. Ste. Foy is like Brooklyn ()well, not really - but in terms of distance to the city centre. I imagine most of the people at the hotel were like me - there on business. Very few tourists would choose to stay in Ste. Foy. Too bad because it really is a great hotel.

The talk mand signing was such fun. I LOVE the people at La Maison Anglise. They're the QC equivilent of Brome Lake Books in Knowlton. Independent, smart, beautifully and sympathetically designed by people who just love books. It a read community hub.

Rana Bose, whopse book is The Fourth Canvas, was also there. He read from his work and I bought 2 books! It sounds great. Then I had a chance to read. Loads of people - feels like old home week. Very fun and comfortable, and successful.

Back at the hotel by 9pm, in bed by 10pm - alarm at 6am - and off to the train station for an 8am ride back to Montreal, and the Quebec Salon du Livres...which is the book fair. Except this one, unlike any I've been to anywhere else, is open to the public...and lasts a week (with one day dedicated to schools). It's a madhouse...all these grown men and women on the literary equivilent of a sugar high. Racing from booth to booth to get books signed by old favorites, and meeting new was just buzzing. My signing was 2-3. Kim McArthur (my Canadian publisher) was there in all her glory. As was Taryn Manias of McArthur, and Debra Schram, a book rep who helped organize that Hovey Manor launch.

One of the very few disappointments in my publishing career - and it's quite a large and mystifying one - is that while the series is translated into all sorts of languages (including Estonian for heavens sake) it has no French publisher. I'm genuinely baffled. Anyway, one day perhaps.

The book is #10 on the bedsellers list this week so you'd think a French publisher (hello, Quebec is French!!!) might be interested. But apparently not.

But we had a riot at the Salon, signed loads of books, met lots of people.

Then hopped a cab, came home, re-organized clothing and bags and we're off to the airport in 45 minutes where again...oh yes...PARIS!!! Did I mention that before? Surely not.

We've decided not to take a computer - to make this a complete vacation. Will try to blog from Paris at least once, give you an update...but I hope you understand if it doesn't work.

Oh yes - the winner of the draw for the Three Pines Christmas ornament, designed and made by my fabulous assistant Lise is....London Kate! Distance notwithstanding.

Now, Kate - you need to give us your address. Please write it privately through the 'contact me' page on my website. Thank you and congratulations! It really is stunning.

Thanks to everyone who wrote emails and messages on the comments section of the blog. We'll have give-aways every now and then - and some through the newsletter as well and the website. Big one beginning on the website early in December, so you need to keep checking the home page.

Thanks so much - a bientot.


London Kate said...

Dear Louise

How wonderful to be drawn first from the hat! And even more wonderful not to be thrown back in when you knew that was London, England not London, Ontario! Think of the postage....

Many many thanks - the ornament will have a very good home here.

Enjoy your computer-free time in Paris, it is well-deserved.

Very best wishes

Rebecca said...

Regarding the French. Just make sure they know you're tenth on the bedseller's [sic] list, and I think you'll crack the market. (Freudian or not, it'll pique their interest.)
Enjoy the chocolate - oh yes, and a few sites too.