There’s always something rather nice about being able to welcome an author I’ve actually met to Being Anne. I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Colette Kebell – author of The Retail Therapist and Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) – back in January at the launch party for Jill Mansell’s You And Me Always (here’s my blog post about that lovely evening).
I’m really delighted to welcome Colette as my guest… over to you!
I am currently sitting at the kitchen table in our French house, with the sound of either my two little doggies barking at passers-by or bird song, and am thankful that I have this little piece of France to escape to. So I thought it might be nice to write a little about that. The village is picturesque and peaceful though not without its’ own events, such as a Christmas market, a 500 stall Brocante in October, fireworks and parties to celebrate Bastille Day, to name but a few. The villagers, due to a strong historical connection to the British during Norman times, are friendly and very accepting of us Brits, even to the point of airing a film in English at the cinema once a month.
All that having been said, the best people I have come across are our immediate neighbours, Monsieur and Madam Le Chevalier. They are in their 90s and so full of life it almost seems as though they will be a permanent fixture. They maintain their house, garden, vegetable patch and still find time to turn on our power and water when we are due to arrive, to save us the trouble. They’ve even, on occasion, mowed our lawn. I have, however, learned a lot from them as they don’t speak a word of English and so the conversation is entirely in French.
Fortunately, I have been coming to France since my youth and so can get by, but it is tough sometimes trying to understand each other when having a conversation, as I know for a fact that my French grammar is terrible. We get by though and have had some wonderful conversations about everything from their grandchildren, children, gardening and even on very rare occasions, politics. They also love to talk about the British Royals. What is so endearing though is the embarrassment they show when I bring them little gifts, be it food from the UK, chocolate eggs at Easter or whatever else may have jumped out at me when preparing for a trip. I hasten to add, I don’t give them these to make them blush, but purely as thanks for you all the things they do on our behalf, despite their age.
France is where I thoroughly enjoy both reading and writing. At some point I may well write a book that includes some of my experiences. I’ve included a couple of pictures of the village just to let you see just how idyllic it is.
As far as my books are concerned, at this point there are just two out there in the ether, though I am working on my third. Don’t look at the date of publication in respect of them though, as Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) was written first, but then, I felt I needed to backtrack a little, and so wrote The Retail Therapist as a prequel.
These books are most definitely Chick Lit, but having said that there have been comments that they are also inspirational so, if you decide to read them, I would love to hear your views. They’ve been likened to the likes of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Devil Wears Prada but if nothing else, they should make you smile. I had a fantastic cover designer in Lizzie Gardiner who just got what I wanted from the relatively small brief I sent across to her.
If you’d like to keep track of what I have been up to, you can follow me on Twitter, through my author Facebook page or my website. Should you decide to give my books a try, please do leave a review as these are more important to an author than most know about. I have to say that just about every review I have read of my books reduced me to tears and they still do. At the least I learn from what others have to say, having read them, that my writing is being enjoyed in the way it was intended to be.
Thank you Colette – and I’m not (very) jealous really… here are some more details on Colette’s books:
The Retail Therapist
Window shopping! Don’t you just hate the term? It is like going into a sweet shop and not being able to buy anything, or not knowing what to buy first. That is exactly my line of business, helping people make the right choice.
I’m one of those fashion consultants that are so popular nowadays amongst the upper crust, although I started ages ago. Choosing the right clothes for the right occasion is not an easy task: the dress has to match your personality and, if it can, enhance it.
This story is about how I abandoned the rat race, spending days in a legal office, and followed my dream of becoming a fashion consultant. I believe I’m something more though, I’m a Retail Therapist…
Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says)
GiGi (well, Griselda Griswald actually, but everybody calls her GiGi) is a woman with a mission: to help people improve the way they look, increase their self-esteem, and eventually, make them happier. Being a personal shopper is a dark art, with few tangible rewards. Spread by word of mouth, her clients would never admit they needed her assistance. Not even if they were put under torture. Let us be honest, who would admit to being in need of a style consultant?
It is like being an alcoholic: the first step is to admit you need help, and acknowledge that that pair of leggings, now that you are in your mid-fifties, do not suit you anymore. When you have recognized it, you are on the path to recovery, and GiGi’s services will help you, despite her mother nagging that what she is doing is not a “real” job…
A powerful enemy is lining up ready to make a meal out of her, knowing very well that GiGi’s approach, eventually, will make her a force to be reckon with. Whilst she invents new ways to make her consultancy firm successful, she finds who could be the love of her life, thanks to some of her best friends.
The business is eventually expanding and they take onboard new partners along the way, making them one of the most influential fashion consultancy firms in London. But, with a very demanding job, hours and hours spent working, will she be able to balance her career and her private life?
(Both books are available through Amazon, in paperback or for kindle.)