Author interview Posted by Literary Titan May 1, 2023
An Accidental Parisian is a memoir chronicling your journey from Toronto to navigating the challenges of being a French national and citizen of three countries while unraveling the forces and circumstances that brought you to where you are today. Why was this an important memoir for you to write?
In order to fully understand how and why I got here, I needed to reach back and trace the trajectory of my life from happy child, rebellious teenager and questing adult to the European citizen and resident of France that I am today. I needed to see how circumstances and family events dictated my choice to settle permanently in Europe (and not in my homeland of Canada). In this respect, I wrote the memoir for myself.
The second motivating influence were the other Parisian memoirs I had read, written by British, American, Canadian, and Australian women like me. While very good and hugely entertaining, I concluded that my personal story was just as interesting as theirs … even more so!
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The death of my parents and the void it has left in my life. I miss their presence and their integrity; their benevolence and emotional support. But writing about my mother and father brought them back to life (and evoked happier times), so it wasn’t entirely painful.
What is one thing about Paris that you feel is little-known or underrated?
The diversity and charm of the different neighborhoods and arrondissements of the city. Throw away your tourist map and get lost; there are hidden gems to discover when one dares to stray off the beaten track. Leafy parks, gardens, and squares; small museums; churches, canals, and quiet residential boulevards. Admire the elegant Haussmann architecture and pop into boutiques, bistros, and boulangeries frequented by the locals. Currently, my two favorite arrondissements for exploring are the 12th and the 14th.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
To be adventurous. To have faith in the universe. To step out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new experiences; hopefully, you’ll be rewarded.
Also, to be your own best friend. Life is full of surprises, good and bad, and unexpected detours. You might lose friends and family along the way … people will betray you … and you’ll have only yourself to fall back on. So, self-reliance. You need to be there … for you. You need to be your own cheerleader and support system.
This is a very stirring interview, Juliet. I, too, lost my parents and miss them deeply. I have read your memoir and was very moved by it. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for commenting, PC.
Bravo, Juju. Je suis fière de toi. 🙂 🙂
Thanks, Cordy. Don’t forget next week!