Hon­ey­moon is at heart of de­but novel

Ayrshire Post - - THE TICKET -

A hon­ey­moon in Paris was the start­ing point for a ro­man­tic his­tor­i­cal novel by Scot­tish writer Mag­gie Ritchie.

Mag­gie took five years to re­search and write her de­but novel and she will be talk­ing about how she got her pub­lish­ing break at the Tide­lines Book Fes­ti­val in the Har­bour Arts Cen­tre, Irvine this Sun­day, Septem­ber 13.

“At times I thought the book would never get into the book stores but I kept plug­ging away and even­tu­ally an agent took me on and got me a pub­lish­ing deal,” said Mag­gie.

“I had to re­write the novel sev­eral times be­fore it went on sale but all the hard work was worth it. It’s a lovely feel­ing to see the book in peo­ple’s hands and I re­ally hope they en­joy it.

“I had lots of valu­able sup­port with­out which Paris Kiss would still be only a dream in a notebook. And, so far, the feed­back so far has been hugely pos­i­tive.”

Paris Kiss trans­ports the reader to the stu­dio of the leg­endary sculp­tor Au­guste Rodin in 1880s Bo­hemian Paris and in­volves the reader in a com­pelling drama.

At the cen­tre of the story is young English sculp­tor Jessie Lip­scomb, who joins her friend Camille Claudel to be­come a pro­tégée of the great Rodin.

Jessie and Camille ex­plore a life of work, love and play in a vi­brant city, meet­ing artists such as ToulouseLautrec and the boldly un­con­ven­tional Rosa Bon­heur.

But when Rodin and Camille em­bark on a scan­dalous af­fair, Jessie is cast as their un­will­ing go- be­tween and their close bond breaks down.

Years later Jessie tracks Camille down to an asy­lum for the in­sane where Camille re­veals an ex­plo­sive se­cret: can their friend­ship sur­vive the be­trayal?

“I worked on the book for sev­eral years af­ter the idea came to me on my hon­ey­moon in June 1999,” said the mum- of- one.

“I did deeper re­search on our re­turn but went back again to Paris for our first an­niver­sary so that I could delve fur­ther into what I wanted to write, not that you need an ex­cuse to visit the French cap­i­tal.

“I de­vel­oped the book fur­ther when I un­der­took and com­pleted an MLitt in Cre­ative Writ­ing at the Univer­sity of Glas­gow. Fel­low stu­dents on the course and our lec­tur­ers en­cour­aged me all the way – so I stuck at it and even­tu­ally wrote the fi­nal page in 2012.

Mag­gie, who won the Curtis Brown Award for the novel in 2012 dur­ing her Univer­sity course, and was run­ner up for the Scep­tre Prize 2012 and longlisted for the 2014 Mslexia First Novel Com­pe­ti­tion, has two more books in progress.

Her pub­lisher, Sara Hunt of Sara­band, said: “This is sump­tu­ous his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, writ­ten with pas­sion, drama and flair. Mag­gie im­merses us in glam­orous Belle Époque Paris, ex­plored by two young artists with the world at their feet.

“By any stan­dards it’s a tremen­dous achieve­ment – and it’s all the more im­pres­sive from a first- time au­thor. The pub­li­ca­tion of Paris Kiss her­alds the ar­rival of an ex­cit­ing new tal­ent on Scot­land’s thriv­ing literary scene.”

Mag­gie Ritchie will be at the Tide­lines Book Fes­ti­val this Sun­day, Septem­ber 13 at 4pm at the Har­bour Arts Cen­tre in Irvine.

Au­thor Mag­gie Ritchie will talk at Tide­lines Book Fes­ti­val in Irvine this Sun­day

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