French Ghost (Paris Ghost Writer Series)
by Corinne LaBalme
About French Ghost
French Ghost (Paris Ghost Writer Series)
1st in Series
Setting – Paris
Wild Rose Press (January 10, 2022)
Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1509239197
ISBN-13 : 978-1509239191
Digital ASIN : B09KK62XR1
Ghost-writer Melody Layne is stranded in Paris when the over-sexed but unloved French movie star who hired her to produce his memoir accidentally drowns before the interviews begin. It’s a major financial relief when his enigmatic Spanish son re-hires her, but the seductive Carlos Ortega is strangely silent about his reasons for funding a feel-good bio about a father that he clearly despised. There’s enough amour in the air for Melody to ignore this apparent paradox… at least until she uncovers a hidden cache of death threats addressed to the actor. For the French police, the sexy, secretive Spaniard – and sole heir to the actor’s immense fortune – is suddenly a prime murder suspect. Can Melody’s research into the Ghosts of Carlos-Past be enough to save her lover from prison?
About Corinne LaBalme
My first jobs after college (incredibly useful art history degree) were in the New York fashion industry (modeling, working for designers). When I gave up on my Greenwich Village walk-up (after realizing that I couldn’t bear to smoosh the cockroaches in my shower because they were a ‘family’), I cut out to Paris where I became Fashion Editor for the English language magazine PASSION.
I subsequently wrote and edited the gourmet destination guide LA BELLE FRANCE for fifteen years while freelancing for the NEW YORK TIMES Travel section, various in-flight magazines, and guide books (GAULT MILLAU, VIRGIN, ZAGAT). From 2011 – 2012, I wrote screenplays for the PBS travel series CUISINE CULTURE.
The cinema figures in FRENCH GHOST are loosely based on stars I’ve interviewed (and been groped by); the restaurateurs in Book 2 (FRENCH TOAST) are drawn from the lovely, often impractical, chefs I met through LA BELLE FRANCE.
I suspect that Book 3 will toss Melody Layne into the cut-throat Paris fashion scene. May the Gods of Ghosting have mercy on her soul…
Q&A With the Author
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
In 3rd grade, I wrote an excruciatingly painful poem about autumn leaves that was posted on the walls of the elementary school. The poem was lousy, even by 8-year-old standards, but it was my first brush with publishing and I was hooked. (I still know that poem by heart but as a humanitarian gesture, refuse to share it.)
What advice do you have for a new writer?
That’s a trick question, isn’t it? If you just want to write, grab the nearest crayon, clay tablet, keyboard and go for it! If you want to be published, come to grips with that odd, needy desire first. When I was at a fancy university studying (dry, academic) art history, I always wrote my papers to be fast and funny… not longwinded and erudite. I got A’s, but I was never taken seriously. Two years later, I was the senior food and fashion editor of a magazine in Paris (and food and fashion are art forms, right?) which was perfect for me. I’ve aiming at fast and funny ever since. In short, find your niche!
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
I absolutely LOVE writing the first page. ‘Chapter One’ always opens the door to an alternate reality… an alternate reality where I never know what’s gonna happen next. For me, the magical moments are when the characters are feisty enough to hijack the narrative and boss me around.
What is your favorite part of this story?
All of the French cities Melody visits are places I know well but I had most fun writing about the Cannes Film Festival which – let’s face it -- is just a snotty trade fair with celebs walking around in borrowed evening gowns in broad daylight. Taneesha (who freelances for a Hollywood studio) is based on a Belgian friend who babysits hapless American movie stars in France.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
I really enjoyed writing about Charlene Trent, the booze-challenged, silicon-enhanced B-movie actress who’s in Cannes to promote ‘Beach Zombies III’. Charlene is crude, class-less, but she’s a gas. I’m not sure she’ll make it into future books of the series, but Taneesha probably will and the designer – Joey Starr -- who provides their dresses for the festival – definitely makes an appearance in Book II.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
That would be the evil sex-aholic Charles-Henri Banville… but I killed him off fast! No regrets!
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