Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Interview with Andre Phillip-Hautecoeur, author of 'One Exquisite Night in Paris' & Giveaway!

We're thrilled to have Andre Phillip-Hautecoeur, author of the romance/travel novel, One Exquisite Night in Paris, here today!  We asked Andre questions about his book and his writing life and he gave us some pretty darn interesting answers.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of his review!

Andre Phillip-Hautecoeur defines himself as, “…not a writer really.” He simply had an urge to write something about Paris.

It’s the city exactly at the intersection of romance, history, fantasy and enchantment; everyone faces Paris in some form of a dream. He came to know and love Paris hanging onto the hem of his wife’s skirt. She’s Parisian, she’s everything French without constraint; she makes understanding all of Parisness a pleasure. An understanding which made him want to write.

Together they make home between New York and Paris. Shuttling back and forth continues to be the ultimate dream.

His latest book is the contemporary romance, One Exquisite Paris Night.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done?

Take a moment, close both eyes, summon your most exaggerated fantasy, and multiply by 1000.

Feel the extraordinary moment for a minute…then multiply it all by 1000 again.

That’s this story. It’s your story too.

If you were ever a little girl, or even a little boy with a romantic soul, you would have known very early on, that someday love would require you to do wonderfully ridiculous things.

And so, I’m going to explain to you, why the most intriguing thing you will ever want to do, is get on a plane and fly to an exotic dinner, at some elegant trois-Ć©toiles across the ocean in Paris.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Can you tell us what your book is about?

The book is about describing the perfect fantasy day that is quite elaborate but actually within our reach with some extra effort.

It describes the unexpectedly wonderful relationship between Eff and me. We met when she came to New York on vacation and that radically changed both our lives.

As an extravagant lark I decided to plan the most amazing night of our lives as an anniversary outing. Paris and all its fantasy was the perfect place, the only place. I have the advantage of having often been to Paris so I knew exactly what, when, how and where to go to create a dream night.

Imagine flying through the deep night into Paris, filling your day with every storybook element, staying up all night; and just when you’re exhausted with exhilaration and can’t go anymore, it’s time to board the flight back home.

Most people live their whole lives without ever having an amazing day. Well this is it with instructions.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote the book because I’m thoroughly in love with Paris; the history, the fantasy, the cuisine, the romance, the nightlife and the architecture. Everything! The entire place is a fantasy land.

I’m stuck on believing that the wildest fantasy trip a couple can make is to jet into Paris and take advantage of all its extravagant luxuries; all within a twenty four hour period. What a perfect dream that would be.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

My main character is Eff Phillip-Hautecoeur. She innocently flew into New York from Paris, on vacation and to visit her daughter. Two days into the trip she accidentally stumbles into a romance which turns into marriage and living in New York.

The supporting character is “the guy” who went out of his way to turn both their worlds into a perfectly ongoing romance. The adjustments of living between New York and Paris make for a difficult learning curve for them both.

The actual third character is Paris and attempting to make all its wonderful elements come alive.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I have to confess that I started the novel with the fantasy of the title. It then became a troublesome matter of deciding that I absolutely did not want to write a travel book; there are enough of those on the market and they make Paris seem more of a travel destination than the fairyland that it is.

To avoid the “travel book” format, I attempted to develop normal characters, middle-Americans, who would dream of such a fantastic night of their lives. Halfway through the first chapter it seemed preposterous that John and Suzy homemaker could even have a real appreciation for Paris without ever having visited.

Without first hand experience the fantasy night would have necessitated a travel agency to weave the dream. That too could have been romantic, however, only in a limited fashion.

I was compelled to report from first hand experience.

Your book is set in Paris.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

There is no other city which can support such a fairytale night. Paris is the most wonderful city in the world. I’m not just saying that. It was actually planned to be exactly that. The entire city was deliberately destroyed and reconstructed and Napoleon III issued that exact mandate. I’m sure it was unimaginable even back then but the benefit is that the city is balanced and beautiful.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Nice question. Page 69 romanticizes the experience of the most discreetly extravagant shopping alley in the world. Avenue Montaigne is Paris’s outwardly understated offering of the worlds most elaborate fashion creations. The entire street seems like a modest string of small boutiques, however, inside the shops there’s a dizzying world of couture hand made and ready-to-wear fashions from all the very best designers and fashion houses; a world which most of us may only experience from the pages of glossy magazines.

Is it hard to get a travel/romance book published?

Honestly, I don’t know. I made no attempt whatsoever to engage a publisher. I had read about the extreme difficulty of having a book reviewed, accepted and published. Self publishing has been on the rise over the past several years. The process is relatively easy to learn and navigate. I took that route.

Is it hard to promote a new travel/romance book and where do you start?

Yes! Yes! Yes! Writing the book, though already difficult and usually requiring a minimum of perhaps a year of research, writing and many edits is perhaps 20% of the effort. Promoting the product is a gargantuan exercise of engaging every aspect of social media, personal promotion, and word of mouth to have it looked at. Then, if one is excessively fortunate it may be possible after many attempts, to find a tipping point which would result in a flow of interested readers.

Experienced writers and promoters suggest that you start engaging social media once you are sure of the premise of the book; build anticipation (and an email list) then through social media gradually diffuse and connect with media mavens as the material develops. That way, once it’s done you have an audience ready to purchase. I think that’s correct.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I think anyone who writes anything goes through that. Once the “block” happens, you do anything; have a shower, take a walk, stare at the ceiling, or write, write, write till you find a thread again. The best is to keep writing knowing full well you have the power of editing out the rubbish. I find too that going to sleep with a notepad next to the bed helps. Sometimes you wake up with an idea fully formed and ready to exploit.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I would do anything possible to find 10 other social influencers who would purchase and read the book in the hopes that they would like it and spread the word.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

I don’t like holidays! They are a waste of time and turn people into monkeys. Most people schedule their fake expression of affection depending on what holiday it is; Thanksgiving – fake family, Valentines – fake lover, Christmas – fake everything.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

We would buy the perfect sandwich (and that changes from day to day and season to season) and a beverage and sit on a quiet park bench.  Or we could eat the sandwiches quickly then go to the New York public library where we could see and smell books.

What do you like the most about being an author?

Discovering the power of words. It’s wonderful to make up stuff then try to find the perfect words to express the idea using as few words as possible.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Be aware that being an author also requires you to be a marketer. Being a marketer demands that you like and care for your audience and become a people person. You may be writing because you love it but you’re not writing for yourself. Writing aught to be a conversation where unfortunately the reader doesn’t get to respond in real time. The writer though, should be caring and considerate not to be boorish, but respond to all the questions the reader might have, before they know they have them.

I don’t know if that helps.

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