Saturday, 6 August 2011

Taste of the sun


Saturday is market day in Apt. It’s hot and the streets are thronged. The locals keep to the southern end of town where the fruit and vegetable stall on the edge of the big car park gives the best value. The further north towards the Hotel de Ville you go, battling all the tourists of August, the steeper the prices and the prettier the displays.

Provence is the land of tomatoes and olives and garlic and olive oil, and if it’s possible to combine these health-giving ingredients in any way, you will find the result here. You can buy them mashed into unappealing-looking but delicious pulps, or preserved pure, like these delicious sun-dried tomatoes with whole cloves of garlic that are lightly pickled, crunchy and slightly sweet.


Black olive paste - tapenade - is the staple to eat on tiny crispy toasts as an accompaniment to the first drink of the evening. Or there’s anchoïade, a purée of preserved anchovies, olive oil and garlic, to eat with crispy raw vegetables. There’s a stall about halfway down the Rue des Marchands that offers the best you will ever taste.


I’m trying to relax and eat well in the sun this weekend. What do you mean, “try!?” you’re asking. Well, I get very nervous before big events, and next Tuesday is one of the biggest of my writing life: The Lantern is published in the USA and Canada. It’s been going pretty well in Britain, and over the past few weeks the Italian and the Croatian rights have been sold to add to the other foreign territory sales. But this is the big one, the first time I’ve been published in America.

The thousands of free ARCs sent out by HarperCollins to introduce a new author into the book marketplace have produced some lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and some not so good. Some readers don’t know what to make of it: too descriptive; too frustrating to have dual timeframes. Not the easy, genre Gothic read they were expecting. Fair enough. I’m very at ease with the idea that no book will work for everyone: that’s the magic of reading. I don’t enjoy every book I open and neither does anyone else.

But Oprah’s organisation likes it (yes, the legendary Oprah!) - here – and yesterday it reached the dizzy heights of a mention in the Short List in the Wall Street Journal - here. So cross your fingers for me, and hope there aren’t too many rotten tomatoes next week… 

17 comments:

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

It's funny you mentioned your advanced press in the US today. A few days ago, I was flipping through "Redbook," an American magazine, and saw "The Lantern" mentioned in an article about new books coming out. Sort of an "If you like this, you will love this" piece. Your book was right on top, with them saying if you liked "The Thirteenth Tale," you will love "The Lantern." It also said "This haunting tale is everything you could want in a Gothic mystery that doesn't also include a heroine named Jane Eyre."

Very exciting. Congratulations on all of this wonderful advanced press. Oprah? I bow before thee.

By the way, thanks for the virtual trip to the market. It is only morning here in Chicago, but I am already thinking of tomatoes, olives and wine. Maybe I will serve it on my not-as-scenic-as-yours front porch this evening. :)

Spangle said...

Wow how exciting to be liked by the Oprah organisation! I wish you every success with your book in America and Canada.

I hope to read 'The Lantern' very soon.

Your photos look delicious!

Richard said...

Le marché de Apt est vraiment typique. Qui aime la Provence s'y sent bien.
Et puis, le petit cours d'eau, les bons restaurants contribuent à sa bonne réputation.
Tiens, j'irais bien y passer ma soirée!

Jennifer O. said...

There were a lot of complaints about the slow plot unfolding in The Thirteenth Tale. Criticism I just didn't "get." It turned out to be one of my favorite novels and is what finally got me to read Rebecca, which I loved. Some people are so used to speed reading that they can't appreciate a real novel when it hits them in the face.

Nancy MacMillan said...

Deborah - Congratulations! And Oprah, how grand. I'm thrilled for you. I joined SheWrites in April and know I saw pictures of your crumbling house, which I loved. Fell in love with Paris, but was never to Provence. Can hardly wait to read your book! Reading other comments: Rebecca is one of my favorites! Must join your followers!

BookGeek said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book here is the US. Your teasers have me so excited. I already love your writing style on your blog and am anxious to see how your words will appear on the printed page.

vanessafrance said...

I can almost taste those tomatoes and olives. Very best of luck with The Lantern in the US and congratulations for getting in with Oprah!

Samantha Sotto said...

Oprah!!! WOW! I am OFFICIALLY GREEN WITH ENVY ;-) Congratulations!!!!!! :D

(And those tomatoes...YUM!)

Julie Farrar said...

Congratulations on the US release. And thanks for you market place. I will miss the marché here in Dijon when we head home. Nothing is more beautiful and delicious than the just-picked fruits and vegetables we've been eating for the past month.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

How exciting, and I think that I remember my book will be shipped on the 9th so it will be here soon! You have a wonderful outlook with tempered expectations on the release. The book has your heart and soul and will be well-received by those it touches. I predict it will be a success here (USA) and we will be hungry for the next one.

Congratulations, mon amie! And... pass some of that tapenade!

Bises,
Genie

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

What a momentous occasion this week brings for you Deborah.
Surely the book will be very well received States-side and I can't wait to snag a copy.
As for the dual timeframes, I'm currently reading "The Map of Love," which takes place between two timeframes and I'm enjoying it immensely.
Best of luck and happy, sunny eats to you this weekend.
Cheers, Alcira

nerochronicles.com

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love your photos. Our tomatoes are just coming on, well worth the wait.

Congratulations on the mentions. That's HUGE!! I can't wait to read it and wish I'd been a lucky ARC recipient.

Fingers crossed....

Julia Munroe Martin said...

These photos transport me to that market! And I am quite envious that it's only in my mind. So happy for you that Oprah and the Wall Street journal gave you such favorable mentions. As you say, dizzy heights -- enjoy!! :-)

Beverly Diehl said...

Congrats - how very thrilling for you! On my wish list, can't wait to get to it.

litlove said...

I'm sure it will be a huge success! And to have thumbs-up from Oprah and the Wall Street Journal is hugely impressive! Do let us know how it all goes.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you all so much for your lovely words, and on-going support. I appreciate it very much indeed.

And if I don't manage to get around all your blogs to say so personally, I will say it again here - thank you, thank you! It makes such a difference to feel part of a big-hearted, generous online community of book lovers and writers.

Sara Louise said...

Apt - my favorite market!
My fingers are crossed for you, this is so exciting! Best of luck! :-)

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