From a Paris Balcony
Heartbroken and alone, Boston art curator Sarah West is grieving the recent deaths of her parents and the end of her marriage. Ultrasensible by nature, she’s determined to stay the course to get her life back on track. But fate has something else in mind. While cleaning out her father’s closet, she finds a letter from the famous Parisian courtesan Marthe de Florian, dated 1895. The subject? Sarah’s great-great-aunt Louisa’s death. Legend has it Louisa committed suicide…but this letter implies there’s more to that story.
Determined to learn the truth, Sarah, against her nature, impulsively flies to Paris. There she’s drawn into the world of her flatmate, the brilliant artist Laurent Chartier. As she delves deep into the glittering Belle Époque to unravel the mystery, Sarah finds that her aunt’s story may offer her exactly what she needs to open up to love again.
Following Sarah in the present day and Louisa in the 1890s, this moving novel spans more than a century to tell the stories of two remarkable women.
Guys, Ella Carey is here to talk about her new book that releases today, October 11th. Please help me in welcoming her!
- Ella, many readers might not have heard about you or your books. So to start things off in today’s interview, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you for having me here again Amanda! It is a pleasure to be back with you. I have always been a story teller. It’s just something that I have to do. I also have a fascination with history, with personal stories that may not have been recorded in the history books, and with the nature of love, so it is no surprise that I write about these things. I also do like a good mystery- something that I cannot figure out easily, so the books are essentially a blend of all these things…
- So Ella, you have a new book – From a Paris Balcony – out now. Can you give us a premise of the story?
Sarah West is a Boston art curator who has just been through a divorce. Her parents have also died recently. When she is packing up her parents’ apartment, she finds a letter from the famous nineteenth century courtesan, Marthe de Florian, to her great-great-aunt’s husband, Henry Duval. Now, Sarah’s great-great aunt died at a party in Paris in the late 1890s, and her death has always been viewed by Sarah’s family as suicide, but Marthe’s letter implies there just might be more going on… so Sarah decides to go to Paris to investigate her aunt Louisa’s death. While there, she rents Marthe de Florian’s famous apartment, and she meets an artist called Laurent Chartier…and we rotate back to the past, we meet Louisa, and find out about her life as a debutante in England and Paris during the 1890s.
- What ideas sparked you to write this story?
I was inspired by the true story, told to me when I was young, of a young girl’s mysterious tragic death at a party in the 1930s, and I was inspired by my questions about Marthe, the famous courtesan- what was her life really like? I also wanted to explore the nature of love, of different types of love, as embodied by the characters in the book.
- What message would you like readers to grasp after reading your novel?
That an understanding of how hard it was for people to both follow their dreams and their hearts in the past can help up to realize how fortunate we are in our time and how we must make the most of our lives.
- What’s the hardest thing you’ve faced when writing From a Paris Balcony?
The hardest thing to face was Louisa’s tragic story, and how her predicament must have been the lot of so many women of her generation.
- What can readers expect from you in the coming months? Any new books in the works?
I’ve just finished my fourth novel…it is in the editing process at the moment!
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Not to give up, keep going, and above all, believe in yourself. It is finding your voice that matters. It is your unique ability as a storyteller that is what you should focus on, always.
Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music and English. Her debut novel, The Paris Time Capsule, has captured global attention and her second novel, The House by the Lake, will be released on March 29th, 2016. She lives with her two children and a pair of Italian greyhounds in Hobart.