Interview: Juliette Sobanet – 1
Episode 1: Writer, teacher and francophile.
How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
I am optimistic (most of the time), passionate about everything I do, and extremely independent. My husband and my mom would definitely insist on a fourth – stubborn.
What are your interests outside of writing?
I love practicing yoga, dancing, reading a book that I can’t put down, eating chocolate, hanging out with my husband, cuddling with my huge cats, and, obviously, traveling to France.
What inspired you to start writing romantic fiction?
I spent a year in Paris completing my Master’s degree and accumulating all sorts of fun, exciting, and sometimes bizarre experiences that I knew I’d want to write about one day. Once I’d finished my classes, I had a month to write my thesis. Every day, I slept in until nine or ten (okay, sometimes even eleven), then woke up and wrote for five to six hours in my pajamas, showered, and went out in Paris with friends. I completely fell in love with that very unrealistic lifestyle, and thus the writing seed was planted! I thought, “I can spend my days in my pajamas writing about topics I love!” It was then that I formed the basic concept for my first novel, Sleeping with Paris (which is now available on Amazon). So, when I returned to the States, I read loads of romantic women’s fiction as well as books on how to write, then I dug right in. Haven’t looked back since.
You are also a French professor. What is it about France that really captured your interest? How do you balance teaching with fiction writing and blogging?
Ever since I took my first trip to France at the age of 15, I’ve been hooked. I immediately fell in love with the language and the culture and decided that I would become fluent so that I could teach at the college level one day. So, I majored in French in college, studied abroad in Lyon for a semester, then completed my Master’s at New York University in Paris so that I could become a professor.
Juggling writing and blogging with all of the responsibilities that come with teaching can be very stressful at times. I’ve cut back on my teaching schedule this semester to have more time to write, and luckily I have an amazing husband who supports my decision to do this. I squeeze blogging in when I have the time, but writing my books always comes first.
What is it about France that captured my interest? I adore the language, the pastries, the interesting friends I’ve made there, the cobblestone streets, the cheese, the wine… all of it! It’s the most charming, romantic, gorgeous country I’ve ever visited, and I feel so lucky to have lived there. Now to get my husband (who doesn’t speak a lick of French) to move over there with me…
You recently introduced a weekly post by Charlotte Summers on your blog. Charlotte Summers is the protagonist of Sleeping with Paris. Can you briefly describe the novel and Charlotte?
Charlotte Summers is a sassy, young French teacher who is two days away from moving to Paris with the love of her life and from fulfilling her dream of studying at the prestigious Sorbonne University in France. But when she discovers her fiancé’s online dating profile and has a little chat with the busty red-head he’s been sleeping with on the side, she gives up on committed relationships altogether and decides to navigate Paris on her own
Determined to stop other women from finding themselves in her shoes, Charlotte creates an anonymous blog on how to date like a man in the City of Love – that is, how to jump from bed to bed without ever falling in love. But, with a slew of Parisian men beating down her door, a hot new neighbor who feeds her chocolate in bed, and an appearance by her sleazy ex-fiancé, she isn’t so sure she can keep her promise to remain commitment-free. And, when Charlotte agrees to write an article for a popular women’s magazine about her Parisian dating adventures – or disasters, rather – will she risk losing the one man who’s swept her off her feet and her dream job in one fell swoop?
Sleeping with Paris is a story about mending broken hearts, making a few bad decisions along the way and ultimately following your dreams, with or without a man by your side.
How does blogging help your novel writing?
Since writing can be such a solitary profession, blogging has been a wonderful tool to connect with other writers and consequently to realize that I’m not the only person with characters, plots, and crazy stories swimming around in my head all day long! It’s also a fun release to write something other than my novels, and now that my first book is out, it’s a great way to spread the word as well.
How do you describe your writing style?
My style is light-hearted, humorous, honest, and fun. I want my readers to be able to relax with my books at the end of a long day, laugh out loud, fall in love with a sexy French hero, romp around France, crave a little chocolate, and fall asleep with nothing heavy on their minds.
Thank you Juliette for doing this interview with My French Life™. Click here for the second episode of this interview, in which Juliette shares her French favorites.Image credit: Portrait © Juliette Sobanet