Honeymoon is at heart of debut novel
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.