What inspired you to write your memoir?
Moving from Wales to Provence was a leap into the unknown that needed some kind of record, my very different take on ‘A Year in Provence’. It was also the start of a love affair with a little village called Dieulefit and who can resist a good romance?
About your Book:
Humorous travel book about moving to France
‘Jean Gill’s spiky humour makes you feel as if she’s caught you on barbed wire and yet makes you smile about it’ – Mike Sharpe, Haverfordwest Journalist
The true scents of Provence?
Lavender, thyme and septic tank.
There are hundreds of interesting things you can do in a bath but washing dishes is not one of them, nor what writer Jean Gill had in mind when she swopped her Welsh Valley for a French one.
Keen to move out of the elephant’s stomach, that stew of grey mists called weather in Wales, she offered her swimming certificate to a bemused Provencale estate agent and bought a house with good stars and its own spring-water. Or rather, as it turns out, a neighbour’s spring-water that is the only supply to the kitchen, which, according to the nice men from the Water Board, is emptying its dirty water directly and illegally onto the main road… and there’s worse …
But how can you resist a village called Dieulefit, `God created it’, the village ‘where everyone belongs’.
Discover the real Provence in good company …
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I had sections from the book published in France Magazine along with my photos so I knew the book would have a readership. It didn’t suit the list of any of my previous publishers so I started once more to submit to suitable publishers. After four or five rejections including a couple of near-misses (personal follow-up along the lines of ‘we are publishing something very similar’ or ‘we chose one on Italy instead’) I decided I could market it myself so I self-published via lulu’s POD service.
How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
I wrote this as events were unfolding and it was nerve-wracking to have no control whatsoever over the story and structure. There are also decisions to be made over what you say about the real people appearing in the book. I did change the names of some of my minor ‘characters’.
I’m a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a very big white dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. I taught English in Wales for many years and my claim to fame is that I was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. I’m mother or stepmother to five children so life has been pretty hectic.
I’ve published all kinds of books, both with conventional publishers and self-published. You’ll find everything under my name from prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, to a cookery book on goat cheese. My work with top dog-trainer Michel Hasbrouck has taken me deep into the world of dogs with problems, and inspired one of my novels. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, I can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.