Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vicki Archer ~ Part Two

Sitting Room at Mas de Berard

Was the fact that you had this wonderful book in you a surprise or did you always want to write?
The publication of My French Life has been the biggest surprise of all - especially to me. I never imagined that I would or could write a book and especially a book about France. I still cannot believe I had so many words within fighting to get out!

The elegant subdued tones of Vicki Archer's vanity area.

Did the "house" lead you to the book or how did the idea evolve? What circumstances or people made this idea germinate? When did you know you were going to write about your French experience and the house you were renovating?
Finding and buying our property Mas de Berard has led to so many changes and writing My French Life is one of them. I found the house by chance and I rather like to think that my book happened by chance too. In 2005 I travelled to Florence with my daughter Emily to settle her into an Italian course as part of a gap year - at the same time I had arranged to meet up with an Australian friend, photographer Carla Coulson. Carla had been living in Florence for some years and during my stay Carla and I caught up on our girl chat. We had both moved to Europe in 2000 and started new lives - she in Italy, me in France - and over those few days I told her how I had fallen in love with France and how this had changed my life as I had known it. We talked, as old friends do, of the challenges and excitement of leaving home and starting afresh. The more we talked the more we felt there was an idea for a "french" collaboration between us and as a result she approached her publisher in Australia with the idea. The response was very positive: the proposal was accepted and My French Life was published in November 2006. It was true serendipity - extraordinary circumstances and timing brought about My French Life, but then that is how I came to fall in love with France in the first place.

The vibrant, youthful tones of her daughter Emily's vanity area.

You are almost finished your second book, do you stick to a strict writing schedule or when the mood (or words) hit?
I stick to a very strict timing schedule but I am much less rigid when it comes to ideas. I start with an overview and theme for the book and then I define these ideas by chapter. I never know exactly what detail I will write in each chapter until I sit down and start tapping away. I have a process that works for me: I like to think for some time about the beginning of each chapter - I will mull over thoughts and memories for as long as it takes until I find my first sentence. Once I have found that I am usually off and running. If the thoughts don't come, because sometimes they don't, then I concentrate on something else and hope I will be more creative the next day. The key to writing is to know that the words are always there and that they will eventually come.

Timing is different - once I start writing I don't stop and I can only concentrate on my work. Like all jobs there are deadlines, contracts and expectations so to be a writer requires self-discipline. Fortunately I love the writing process and find it very rewarding so I am happy to be locked away with my computer.

An image from French Essence ~ new book release in November 2009

Can you tell me about your new book subject? Release date?

My new book is about living life with ambience. I believe the French are true masters when it comes to ambience and I think that it is this "ambience" than has made me so enamoured with life in France. This book is about beauty and nature, interiors and landscapes in my Provencal world. French Essence (named after my blog) will be published in early November this year.

We can hardly wait!

All photo images courtesy of Vicki Archer - My French Life


  1. Life is truly not worth living with ambience. I have music playing, a candle lit, sun shining in, and now off to draw. I also just finished wrapping up some artwork to send off to a client and I am so grateful for an artful life. Love her work, cannot wait until her next book.

  2. Blessings I love all you share

  3. Sande,
    I can't wait for this next book. Thank YOU for sharing a sneak peek~ I bought her current one yesterday. I am sorry it took me so long.

  4. Sande,
    Well, I hate to admit it but I do not own My French Life yet!(and I really didn't know much about it until I read your post) I will have to purchase it and her new one in November! How exciting! Thank you for sharing! Bonne journee!

  5. Dear Sande! Thanks a lot for this 2 posts about Vicki Archer. I have seen her gorgeous book cover, over and over again on many blog pages and I wondered about the same questions as you. I'm so happy (thanks to you) I found Vicki Archer's blog and I can't wait to buy and read her book.
    Another thing: words can not describe how happy I was when I've seen your comment on my blog. I follow your blog many months now, and I adore your style, your shop and the way you write. I'm a huge huge FAN! I would love to make a delicious post about your shop (with a link back to your shop and blogpage). I need to use some of the images from your website, and I just want to know if it's ok(?). Please let me know. After I checked out your shop, all I can say is: Oh la la... With all my love: Evi

  6. Her daughters vanity.. I love that hidden laduree pink box. ;)

  7. Vicki, lovely interview and I can't wait for your second book!
    You are one blessed and talented lady!

  8. Sande, I found you through Vicki's blog - what a fab blog you have! I grew up in Toronto, lived in Paris for three years and am now a Montrealer. Got Vicki's book from Amazon and love it too. You are so right about her, she is one talented and gracious lady!

  9. What a wonderful and fitting tribute to an incredible woman! I can't wait for the new book as I have devoured every letter and image of her last. I love the thought of living with essence! Best wishes!!

  10. I, too, think Vicki is very gracious with her blogging comments and supporting everyone in blogland. She feels like a great friend and her comments are always so warm and eloquent.

  11. I can hardly wait for her next book!!!!

  12. Can't wait for the new book! Hope Vicki will do book tour.

  13. wonderful post of a truly wonderful woman. I am really looking forward to French Essence too...

  14. Thanks for this insight into Vicki's life. I'm a big fan of her blog and she is such an inspiring woman. And now I know what I want for Christmas!

  15. am just discovering your beautiful blog through Vicki...
    i love visiting her wonderful spot in Provence (i was born there so it makes it special to me).
    I haven't got her book yet but i will definitely!!
    thanks for this very inspiring post
    and will certainly visit you again

  16. Vicky gives us so much inspiration.She has such a good taste . Love your post

  17. I too loved the first book and can't wait for the next one!

  18. Lovely post about Vicky....I just received her book and so enjoy lingering through its pages. Great blog!


  19. The little mirror boxes are BEAUTIFUL you bought this in france? love it like my dream come true...


Your comments are such a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.


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