Monday, March 16, 2015
Provence Chose Me ... by Phyllis Gobbell
It’s been several years now since I made my first trip. I wasn’t there for research. As an architectural student, my daughter had traveled with a college group to the region and had provided me with all the information she’d been given. “You just have to go!” she’d said.
Online research has its place in my writing, but I can’t get my mind around a particular setting unless I’ve been there, walked among the inhabitants, experienced the ambiance. That’s just me. Other writers may find their online research sufficient. With the world at our fingertips, we can find out most factual information about any location. What’s the weather like at a given time? Check weather charts. What would you eat in a local restaurant? Pull up menus from the restaurants’ websites. What’s the distance? What’s the cost? All of these details are essential in making a setting authentic and easy to gather from Internet research.
Dialogue, given the language issues, was a challenge, but after having spent time in Fontvieille, I could hear the voices of the inhabitants, the thicker accents than I’d encountered in Paris. In my journal I noted the occasional odd turn of phrase and later used that material in creating my fictional proprietor, Jean-Claude, of the fictional hotel, L’hôtel du Soleil.
My editor had to remind me at times that the book was a mystery, not a travelogue, because I was so immersed in the setting that my descriptive passages wanted to go on and on. Point well taken. I paid closer attention when writing Secrets and Shamrocks. It’s true: setting alone can’t carry a mystery, but it is oh so delicious! And there’s nothing quite like being there to get a feel for the real thing.
Phyllis Gobbell writes a little bit of everything – books, short stories, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She has received awards in both fiction and nonfiction, including Tennessee's Individual Artist Literary Award. An associate professor of English at Nashville State Community College, she teaches writing and literature. After co-authoring two true-crime books based on high-profile murders in Nashville, she has turned to traditional mysteries. First in the Jordan Mayfair Mystery Series, Pursuit in Provence will be released March 18.
You can learn more about Phyllis and her books at her website and her Amazon.com author page. She can also be found on Facebook.
Phyllis has received wonderful reviews for Pursuit in Provence:
BOOKLIST is giving ePursuit in Provence a STARRED REVIEW, March 15: “Gobbell brings the Provence backdrop to vivid life while dropping enough clues to keep readers focused on the mystery involved.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Feb. 20: “Seasoned with humor and evocative descriptions of magnificent historic sites, this whodunit should appeal to fans of both cozies and traditional mysteries.”
KIRKUS REVIEW Jan 1: “Gobbell’s debut, first in a planned series, combines mystery, informative travelogue and enjoyable characters . . .”
LIBRARY JOURNAL Jan. 1:”Gobbell’s debut shows the deadly side of the pursuit of art and how family and friends may not always have your best interests at heart.”