You've read my review of The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein and now you can get to know the author, Libby Schmais.
1. I know you work as a corporate librarian-what's that like?
I work for a large accounting/consulting firm where I do research on a variety of topics, mostly financial, from bios of bank executives to research on talent management to finding data on the hedge fund industry. Working as a corporate librarian is a good profession for a writer, because it uses an entirely different part of your brain than writing fiction. At work, instead of trying to create a fictional world, I’m trying to uncover facts and data. And one of the highlights of my job is that I have a flexible schedule, which allows me time to write.
2. Have you ever traveled to Paris? What would you suggest visitors do on their trip?
Oui, I have been to Paris, but not in many years, sadly. Writing this book made me really long to get back there, although much like the characters in The Pillow Book, the closest I’ve gotten to Paris lately was a recent trip to Montreal, where they have the most amazing farmers market, and these great bakeries, excuse me, I digress. Back to the question. If I was in Paris, what I would recommend is to wander around aimlessly, getting lost, drinking tons of café, eating delicious food and seeing the occasional historic site or museum. I might take a pleasure boat down the Seine, like they do in that movie Before Sunrise, see a lot of French movies, maybe rent an apartment for a week or two, going out for baguettes every morning as if I really lived there.
3. Lotus tries to eat lots of French foods. Do you have any French favorites?
Like Lotus, j’adore French food. Luckily, I have a great bakery near my house where they make amazing croissants and pain au chocolat. One of my biggest food weaknesses is cheese and French cheeses are amazing, especially all the raw milk cheeses that you can’t even get here. But then again, everything tastes better in France. I remember the first time I was in Paris, and I had the most amazing plain omelette in a restaurant that here would probably be considered a diner. The omelette was thin and golden and perfectly cooked – and delicieux! There is just such care that goes into the cooking, even for a dish that is very simple. Wow, now I’m really getting hungry. I think I may have to run around the corner for a croissant.
4. What can we look forward to from you? Will we be seeing more of Lotus?
I’m not sure what Lotus will be up to in the future, but I can kind of imagine her coming back for a second act, perhaps pursuing her serious international fashion journalism career. In the meantime, while I’m waiting for her to figure out her next move, I’ve been working on a novel about a teenager who is obsessed with Tudor England and starts dressing and acting like Anne Boleyn to improve her status in high school.
5. What is the French word de jour?
Today’s French Word du Jour is bises (kisses). If you collect all the French words du jour on the Blog Tourapalooza, you can enter a contest to win fabulous prizes (A $25 Sephora gift card and a personally autographed Pillow Book!). Once you’ve visited all the blog tour stops and collected all the words, email the list of words to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “French Word du Jour Contest.” The deadline for entries is December 20th and a winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2009. The complete My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have-a-Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza schedule can be found at lotuslowenstein.com. Our next tour stop is Pop Culture Junkie on December 7, 2009. See you on the road, mes amis!
Not only is Libby hosting a very cool contest, but you can enter to win an ARC of The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein. Just leave a comment below (with a way to contact you if you win, blog, e-mail, etc.). Must be US resident and13 years or older. Contest ends Friday December 11 at midnight (central time)