I am thrilled that my friend Corine Gantz has published her
first novel. Corine is an inspiration to all of us aspiring
writers–she found the time to write despite being a full
time wife and mother. Corine’s been entertaining us for
years with her blog “Hidden in France”. Some people
say I feng shui’ed myself out of California but in fact,
it’s Corine’s fault that I moved—she introduced
me to my mate six years ago and I consequently began
a new life–Hidden in High Point and the sequel, Hidden
in Stonington– on the east coast with my delightful life partner.
My exclusive interview with Corine reveals her wicked
sense of humor. See my review of her novel and then
go out and get it for your summer beach reading–you
won’t be disapppointed.
CORINE: Ahem… my husband has already bought domain
names for ‘hidden’ followed by a dozen cities and countries,
and I appreciate his enthusiasm but definitely no.
“Hidden in France” was the original title of the novel,
I started a blog with that name, then realized that oops,
there already was a book by that name. You can’t copyright a
book title but I did not want to step on anyone’s toes, especially
the toes of someone who survived the holocaust by hiding in France.
You know what I mean, one does not mess with holocaust survivors,
it’s just plain bad feng-shui.
FSBF: You have 2 sons and your main character
Annie has 3 sons. Coincidence?
CORINE: Absolute coincidence, see she has 3 and
I have 2. I’m perfectly disguised!
FSBF: One of my favorite–and hilarious– passages
in “Hidden in Paris” was the way Annie’s young
boys got away with the “no swearing” rule by using
the popular internet expression of spelling out
the letters WTF. Did your boys help you with that?
CORINE: No one bothers with acronyms at my
house, I’ve long lost this battle.
FSBF: You seem to have a deep understanding of how
many women lose themselves in relationships.
Not just relationships with their partners but also
with their parents, for example. In the book all 3 women
have lost sight of their authentic selves
through their codependence on others.Why did you
choose to focus on this particular issue?
CORINE: I’m interested in women and the kinds
of limitations we put on ourselves, and how we
manage to break free of them. The breaking free
and the strange forms this takes is the interesting
bit for me. In the past it was true that society
and men conspired to limit women, but this is
no longer the case. Yet modern, smart, functioning
women often take every (unconscious) step to impose
limitations on themselves. It’s as though it is so
anchored in our collective unconscious that we
cannot help but reenact it. We can so easily become
our own jailors out of love, fear, guilt, anger. And
when we realize that we own the key out of
that jail it’t a beautiful moment.
FSBF: Do you have a lot of close female friends
or are you a loner like Annie?
CORINE: I’m definitely an introvert. It doesn’t mean
I don’t want to be with people, but that I need
far more alone time than I need together time.
I’m not the easiest of friends, which is perhaps
why my close friends happen to be very
tolerant women (and especially tolerant of me).
FSBF: Another important character in the book is
food and French cooking. What’s cooking in your kitchen?
CORINE: Everything is cooking in my kitchen at all times.
I get a bit obsessive about food. A few days ago
I met a woman on a school field trip who said
that—how did the conversion lead to this I will
never know—she prepared meatballs by boiling them
in water first. It sounded disgusting, this visual of boiled
animal flesh, but she was from Morocco, home of
some of the best cuisine in the world. I had her detail
the recipe step by step. She probably thought I was a
mad woman. Once I got home I had to try it–had to!
At 7 pm I was shopping for ingredients and at 8 we
had Moroccan boiled meatballs on our plate. By that
time we were so starved no one cared if it was
good or not, we wolfed it down.
FSBF: What authors dead or alive would you like
to have a dinner with over your kitchen table?
CORINE: An alive one, definitely.
FSBF: You took the unusual route of self-publishing
and requested your readers to help you improve
your book by sending in any typos or grammatical
errors so you can update the next printing
of your book. Was publishing a less than perfect
manuscript a risky decision or a wildly clever
marketing scheme on your part to engage your
readers with interactive participation—much like
comments posted to a blog–so that they would be
more vested in passing the word out about your book?
CORINE: Oh this wasn’t done out of cleverness,
but rather out of sheer need. My only regret was
that I did not start this edition with the disclaimer.
Finding typos in a book is like finding sand
in your oysters, it can really ruin an otherwise
enjoyable experience. I just hope that my first readers
will be as kind and supportive as my blog readers
and that they won’t resent my asking for their help
and forgiveness. I priced the kindle ebook version
of Hidden in Paris at 2.99. When the typos are
gone maybe I’ll charge more!
FSBF: Anyone who reads your blog knows about
your infatuation with President Obama. Do you
have any ideas for catchy phrases for his 2nd term
campaign speechwriters or for his bumper stickers
CORINE: Let’s Obama-copter Out of this Mess!
Click the picture to find out where you can buy “Hidden in Paris”.
And do come back to post your own reviews in my comments
section! PSSST: Corine you are welcome to share your Moroccan
meatballs recipe with us anytime!