Oh, la, la!This week, Lynne Shelby has dropped in to tell us all about how her travels to France inspired her romantic novel, French Kissing.
Banks of the Seine
Welcome, Lynne. First, can you tell us a bit about where you live.
Apart from three years in Leicester when I was a student, I’ve always lived in London. I love the energy and vibrant atmosphere of a city like London, with its many theatres, museums and art galleries, its beautiful parks, fascinating history and lively night-life, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else!
Do you like to travel? What is your favourite means of travel?
I love to travel, and especially enjoy exploring a foreign city on foot, with a map, a camera, a guidebook and a writer’s notebook. Visiting a city in another country often means I have to travel by air – I’ve had fabulous trips having flown to New York and Seattle - but I’m not a great fan of flying, and my favourite means of travel around Europe is by rail. Last summer my DH and I flew from London to Basel, but from there took the train to Berne and then Thun, spending a few days in each place, before continuing our travels to Milan, and then on to Verona, Bolgna and Siena.
On the first leg of our journey from Switzerland to Italy, the railway ran alongside the Thunersee, the clear blue sky reflected in the lake, the green slopes of the surrounding mountains dotted with clusters of chalets. As the train took us through the Alps, our view through the window changed to high, jagged peaks, still covered in snow. Once we were in Italy, the landscape became brown fields of maize and sunflowers and walled towns clinging to hillsides covered in dark cypress trees and umbrella pines. We would have seen nothing of this if we’d been in a plane, and it’s surprisingly easy to navigate the European railway network – although I’d recommend booking your tickets on the internet before your journey, and allowing plenty of time to find your platform at Milano Centrale, one of the busiest stations in the world!
Can you tell us how your travels to France inspired your work?
One of my favourite cities to visit is Paris, which is where the second half of my debut novel, ‘French Kissing,’ takes place (the first half is set in London). In the book, my English heroine, Anna, accompanies my French hero, Alexandre, to Paris – which gave me a brilliant excuse to visit it again for research. A stroll through Paris, with its leafy boulevards and pavement cafes, and the stone quays that run alongside the Seine, is a perfect way to explore the city and its iconic monuments, like the Eiffel Tower.
Anna and Alex approach the Eiffel Tower from the opposite bank of the Seine, walking across the Pont d’léna – which I think is the best place in Paris for photos - and taking the lift to the top of the tower, the view from the top being a must-see for any first-time visitor. From the Eiffel Tower they walk along the left bank of the Seine – and like many art-lovers, take a look at the masterpieces in the Museé d’Orsay, mine (and Alex’s) favourite Parisian art gallery, with its many Impressionist paintings. On their second day in Paris, Alex takes Anna on my favourite Parisian walk, starting at the Arc d’Triomph, strolling along the broad, tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Élyseé, to the Place de la Concorde, and then on to the Jardin des Tuileries, and the Louvre. Anna decides that everything she’s heard about the City of Light, that it is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, is true - and I have to agree.
Avenue des Champs-Elysees
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary romance, because that's what she likes reading the most. In 2015 she was thrilled to win the Accent Press & Woman Magazine Writing Competition with her debut novel 'French Kissing.' She loves travelling and is inspired to write by the many wonderful foreign cities that she’s visited - Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, New York, Copenhagen, Berlin and of course Paris, the city which inspired her to write 'French Kissing.' Lynne also enjoys visiting the theatre, and is currently writing a series of novels set in the world of showbusiness.
You can find out more about Lynn at
French Kissing Blurb
Anna Mitchel has been writing letters to her French penfriend, Alexandre Tourville, for fifteen years, but hasn’t seen him since an exchange trip when they were at school. When Alex, now a successful photographer, comes to work in London, Anna offers to put him up, but is astounded that the small, geeky boy she remembers is now tall, broad-shouldered and gorgeous. Anna s female friends are soon swooning over Alex s Gallic charm, and Anna s boyfriend Nick is soon extremely jealous of her friendship with an attractive single man. Then Alex has to return to Paris to oversee the hanging of his photographs in an exhibition, and invites Anna to accompany him so that he can show her the city he adores…
French Kissing is available on Amazon and from Accent Press
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your travels, Lynne.