Bonjour Marie, and thank you so much for having me on your blog! When I found out that a fellow Muse author was actually from the city of Lyon, I was thrilled. It has long been one of my favourite cities, and forms the wonderful setting for my first novel, The Silk Romance.
I am very intrigued...Why did you choose Lyon for the setting of The Silk Romance?
You must be curious to know how someone from a small town in the north of England came to have this love for your city. Well, when I was a student – many years ago now! – I spent a few months in Lyon working as an au pair. (And by the way, I wish I had known you then, Marie. It would have been lovely to visit you in your home town J )As an au pair I lived with my family in the most romantic location, right on the banks of the river Saône, overlooking Lyon’s old town. Right beneath my window was a large, colourful market, full of beautiful fruits, and bustling with sounds and smells.
You can imagine the contrast for a young girl, coming from a bleak, grey town in England, to this wonderful, bright, sun-filled and vibrant city. Everywhere there are cafés and people spilling out into the streets, and for a young girl, the night-life was wonderful. The evenings were warm and it was possible to sit outside the bars and restaurants and relax with friends, in a way which is rarely possible in my chilly part of the world.So you can understand that when it came to writing my first novel, I wanted this beautiful city to be the setting. I also had another interest in Lyon. Some time after I left university, I started work at a woollen mill in Yorkshire. My home county of Yorkshire is famous for its woollen weaving industry, in the same way that Lyon is famous for its silk-weaving.
In fact, silk-weaving is literally built into the fabric of Lyon. All through the city you will find little covered stone alleyways, called traboules. These shadowy alleyways were used by the silk-workers, so that their rolls of cloth were protected from the rain. You can walk through many of the traboules today, and they are a fascinating reminder of Lyon’s past.
I decided to set my novel in a silk-weaving mill – a mill which is owned by the gorgeous hero of my novel, Jean-Luc Olivier. If you’d like to know more about silk-weaving in Lyon, I have written a post on the subject here on my blog: http://helenafairfax.com/2012/12/04/silk-weaving-in-the-historic-city-of-lyon/.
And if you’d like to find out more about Jean-Luc, and my charming heroine Sophie, here is the blurb to The Silk Romance:
Jean-Luc Olivier is a courageous racing driver with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.
Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.
Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.If you’ve enjoyed my taster of Lyon, please come and visit me some time on my blog www.helenafairfax.com, on my Facebook page, on Goodreads, or you can find me on Twitter @helenafairfax I always love to meet new people J
The Silk Romance is available from the Muse bookstore, or from Amazon and most major e-tailers.
Merci beaucoup, Marie! Thanks very much for inviting me to your blog. It’s been great to meet you here, amongst so many reminders of my happy time in your home town.
À bientôt!Thank you for being a guest today Helena and 'bonne chance' with The Silk Romance. I really enjoyed your novel and I must say that I fell in love with Jean-Luc...