Monday, May 25, 2009

Why I Loved My Trip To France So Much - Part Two (The Last)

I got to tell you, I'm still floating around with French music in my head. I think Gudrun's getting tired of hearing me talk about it. I really should move on. And I will. It's just that I had such a good time over there. (Not TOO GOOD a time, if you're worried about it. Just the perfect amount of good.)

Anyway, in an effort to move on, this will have to suffice as my concluding Imaginales/Paris post. (Until next year, hopefully.) I'll just give you a collage of high points, interspersed with photos of some of the people I spent time with. I'm not even going to try to mention everybody, cause I did meet a lot of people. But here's a few of them...

Other authors! Some of the foreign guests included Patricia Briggs (see photo), Bruce Holland Rogers and Hal Duncan. I had great fun meeting all of them. Patricia and her husband, Mike, made for great company. I think Patty is probably the nicest New York Times Bestselling author that I know. (And I do know a few.) Bruce impressed me with his European ways. Dude read a story of his... in French! (He's from Eugene, OR.) Hal is... always great fun. He may be embarrassed by my mentioning that he and I couldn't hang with the French contingent of revelers one evening. We got as far as 2am. Our hosts apparently kept it going until 8am. Slept for an hour, and then all of them were up about for another day by 10am. I was impressed. And if you happened to have read Vellum and were a bit confused, you may be comforted to hear that Hal doesn't have any idea what it's about either. Oh, and I briefly met Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams, the Tunnels authors.

Some of the many French authors I met included Pierre Bordage, Sire Cedric (That's the guy pictured to the right here. He wears only black and lives a life much like David Dochovny in Californication. He's terribly cool, in a band, and darn near perfect, in a goth way. About all I can say against him is that he's from Toulouse and has the region's accent. For some reason the Parisians found this very amusing. Here's a video of him fondling a stuffed sheep.), Johan Heliot, Jean-Philippe Jaworski (His debut novel, Gagner la guerre - To Win the War - sounds incredible. It won the main Prix Imaginales this year. I'd love to read it, but it's not translated into English and it might be awhile before my French is up to the task. Alas, such in the case with most French authors. So few of them get translated, and almost none have been able to move on the English), Carina Rozenfield, Meneas Marphil, Edouard Brasey (Wonderful guy that knows an awful lot about an awful lot), Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian, Bernhard Hennen (Actually a German writer that's sold tons of books about elves), Jean-Louis Trudel, Pierre Bottero, Thomas Day (Whose name is not really Thomas Day. Mysterious.)...

So that's the authors done. They were fun and all, but the trip wouldn't have been the trip without all that spectacular people that made it happen. Surely this starts with everyone at Le Pre aux clercs. My editor, Carola Strang, fed me snails. Aurelie Streiff dragged me around Paris at Jungle Speed, yelling "Bon!" often. Isabelle Lerein got me to rethink a major plot feature of the third book (!). Benedicte Lombardo... well, she's the one that first read Acacia and proposed Le Pre aux clercs publish it. Lots of great people there, and, honestly, it's quite humbling to see the work they do getting my work to readers. Thank you all.

Oh, time for a photo. Here's Aurelie to the left...

...and to the right is Annaig Houesnard. She's also in this image. (Might as well get them from both angles.)

Annaig was one of the translators (along with Sylvie Miller, Lionel Davoust... oh, and Heloise and Katrina... and most everyone else at some point) that allowed me to communicate. Kinda cool. Imagine... I'm in a panel with several distinguished French authors. I get asked a question in French, and one of these lovely people (Lionel included) leans in and whispers the translation in my ear in accented English. I respond, and then they instantly make me sound more sophisticated by transforming my thoughts to French. I could get used to that. For that matter, I should have a translator for speaking in English, somebody that can both make sense of what the moderator asked and then make sense of what I said in answer. I should look into this...

It was also nice meeting Thierry Arson, the book translator who is working on The Other Lands right now. I got to meet Didier Graffet, the artist that did the French Acacia cover, and got an early sketch of the next one. Very nice. Go check his site out. He does good work.

I also did a couple of book store visits and met a couple of Xavier's - Dollo and Vernet. Thanks for having me out. And thanks also to Christine and Damien for being good company in Rennes as we did an interview for I'll let you know when that's up.

And, of course, Stephanie Nicot gets a big mention for coordinating so much of the Conference - and for reading and like Acacia so much! Thank you.

Okay, so at this point you may be wondering a couple things. Like what's up with that yellow cat? And, hey, David, did you win that award? These are linked questions. The yellow cat is the award. That's right, no fancy gold plaques or shiny towers for the folks in Epinal. They opted for a colorful collection of plastic cats as the award. Frankly, that's cool by me. I rather wanted one of those cats.

Alas, it was not to be. Ian McDonald won. Congrats to him. He wasn't at the conference, and this lead to considerable temptation as I schemed up ways to make away with the trophy. But I play fair. I'll just have to write more books! Good things come from writing books, as I'm sure is obvious by now. And, yes, this is what it looks like. I've been caught on film publicly caressing the plastic cat. It just felt right at the time...

There were other highlights as well. I had dinner one night in Paris in this private club that you had to whisper the password to get into. Nice. Plush inside. All old books and rich crimson colors. I half-expected to find a coven of vampires ran the place, but nobody bit.

I rode a high speed train.

I drank all sorts of things and ate such good food! I had these mouth watering scallops for lunch one day, and then about an hour later the chef showed up at the convention, sporting his Harley Davidson gear. He actually bought a book for his daughter. She is like eight years old. When I pointed out that it might not be ideal for younger readers, he said she'd grow into it. Which I'm sure she will.

I met up with Pat Rothfuss and Sarah and had a drink at a sidewalk bar. Not the type of thing that happens every day. Pat took a picture. If I can get it from him I'll post it.

I ate sushi in an underground grotto in Paris...

I could go on, but I've been too lengthy already. If you've read this far thank you. I trust you've no doubt that I really did enjoy this trip. I want back. And soon. With the family, too. My kids would look too cool speaking French...

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Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Sounds like you had a great time, David, and reading the account of your adventures was quite pleasing :)

I especially like the yellow cat.

8:34 AM  
Blogger dwalan said...

it's a pleasure to to have meet this great Fnatsy author ;-)

9:45 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yeah, I liked that cat, too. My daughter would have loved if I'd brought it home. I don't suppose that's fair leverage to use on the judges, though...

9:49 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Dwalan,

Thank you. The feeling is mutual.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Luigi said...

And you didn't mention the brie -yes, I read until the end- I was waiting for a mention of it ;o) :op Probably for next year, I suppose :o)

10:17 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Ah, the brie de meaux! How could I forget?

Actually, I didn't forget. I loved it. I wrapped it very tightly in several layers of plastic, placed it in the center of my luggage, and hoped the smell wouldn't alert the American authorities...

I got through, of course, and the brie did too. It was gratefully consumed the next day, largely by my kids. They have a love of stinky cheese!

Believe me, the brie was much appreciated. :)

10:23 AM  
Blogger Kate Elliott said...

The one thing I've always wished I had since I was a kid is the special magic power of languages.

Anyway, the convention and trip sound utterly cool. I've never been to France, so I am madly envious now.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Cyrielle said...

Thank you for the wonderful time I spent with you at Scylla in Paris. I will cherish my dedicated copy of Acacia!
You're right Aurélie and Benedicte are just amazing. Maybe we'll meet again somewhere in France :)

4:56 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Well I've never been to Hawaii...


Yes, I'll remember that visit to Scylla's for a long time!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Kate Elliott said...

I've been to Europe a couple of times, just never yet to France.

That's the problem with the world. It has all these cool places.

1:39 PM  
Blogger slkcivil said...

Your trip looks amazing! I am just now starting to catch up on blogs, so I'm looking forward to see more from the past couple of weeks.

I'm sure you know this, but if not; Did you know that you were in SPOTLIGHT last weekend around state town? My husband and I don't take out the Bee, but my parents do and brought me a their copy (and were quite excited they had found it since I guess they were listening to some of my writing/reading talk). It was pretty cool.
Just wanted to let you know, if you didn't, and say thanks for adding to our town. ;-)

2:23 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hey Kate, I forgot to mention that a person at one of my signings in Paris had just bought a copy of your book as well. English language versions in both cases. (Actually, a lot of the folks that came out had British or US editions of my book.)


I just discovered that article in the Fresno Bee a couple days back. It got me noticed at the Savemart, at the library, at the dentist's... Funny, here I was thinking about being a known in foreign lands, just to come home and find my Fresno Famous status has jumped considerably!

8:29 PM  
Blogger slkcivil said...

Ha, that's awesome! The dentist too, huh? Cool! And yes, Fresno IS usually a bit slow on the draw, but usually... eventually... recognizes talent! (I'm a borne and raised Fresnan so I think it's okay if I say that... I hope.)

Which reminds me of the one summer I got OUT! To Cambridge, MA, where I worked at a french coffee shop near the Curious George Bookstore in Harvard Square, which was and always will be my favorite bookstore (brought home a stuffed C. George)! AND, I will always remember there was a writer that I served coffee to one day, who had his manuscript out, cover and all, fresh off the printer... Even back then, 11 years ago, that was an awesome moment! Now I wish I knew that author's name, but it was way cool that he was so willing to share it with the 20 year old waitress who quite honestly had never served coffee before that summer. I loved that job and the place, but family was and for the most part still is, here. Wow, now there I go, missing Boston all over again...

So, to get off my Fresnan yet lovin' Boston soap box... Fresno is just starting to see what you have brought us (even though you are now leaving, they still get it!) So, THANK YOU from me, my family, and FRESNO (not that I am Fresno, but I think you get what I'm saying here, and it sounds like they are thanking you too!) ;-)

By the way, how long are you in town? I have a little something to say thanks only I couldn't make it to your office hours and then got sick. If you're totally on your way out, no worries, I can stick it in the mail too (I'm assuming you have a mail address on your website?).


p.s. I just got to take the one class from you and didn't get to meet your wife, so I guess I'm one of those Fresnans JUST getting it... but, I did make it to your wife's blog one time through one of your posts and I saw that she knits! Please tell her that, THAT IS AWESOME! I also knit and crochet (not as much now with all the reading and writing, but still some) and I know some other avid knit/crochet-ers!

Okay, I better go, sorry so long here (and for my writing, don't judge, it's late!)...

Cheers & best wishes!

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Stephe said...

Thanks for taking the time to post all of this good stuff. Sounds like a heavenly time was had.

That Yellow Cat Award is so cool, I would seriously mud-wrestle someone for it.

Welcome back. :)

4:09 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I should have proposed mud wrestling! Next time. Next time...

10:48 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


I'm around for about two more weeks. Drop me an email at my Cal State address if you want to either connect before I go or get a better mailing address. The one on the website will be obsolete very soon...

8:17 PM  
Blogger Kate Elliott said...

David -
hey, thanks for the book sighting report!

3:39 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Yeah. It was fun. Felt like spotting a friend's work far from home...

1:00 PM  

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