Monday, August 31, 2015

My Stylish French Girlfriends by Sharon Santoni

Many of you are familiar with the blog, My French Country Home, where Sharon Santoni gives us personal glimpse into her life in Normandy,  France. A reflection on a life that is balanced, harmonious and very fulfilling. She has now written a book, My Stylish French Girlfriends, which is a wonderful journey through the lives and homes of many talented, unique women Sharon knows in France. 

Please enjoy our interview and some images from this inspired book that you must have for your library.

1) Sharon, how did you come to the decision to write your first book about your French girlfriends? I know that you have been encouraged to write a book for some time.

First of all Karena, thank you for inviting me over and for featuring my book, I am very honored.     Like many bloggers I dreamed of writing a book, and already had some ideas, but it was the editor Madge Baird of Gibbs Smith who suggested that my blog series about my French girlfriends would work well as a book.  They contacted me and asked if I'd be interested and of course I was thrilled, in particular when I thought more about the idea and realized that taking the photos could become a veritable tour de France!

2)  These ladies have such a variety of talents and careers. Did your friendships form naturally and easily? It seems some people have a circle of friends that are only in their own sphere of interests.

You are right, we generally connect with people who share the same interests as us, and that is certainly why there are so many creative women included in the book.  It was a complete privilege to be welcomed into the daily lives of these women, who opened up their homes to me and my photographer, Franck Schmitt.   We shared meals, we stayed in their homes and became part of their family life for a day or so.  I couldn't have written in the same way if there wasn't the connection of friendship and shared interest.

3) When you were young, did you ever imagine your life going in the direction it has taken? Making a move from England to France?

I don't think many people know how their lives are going to play out, but when I was little I know that I often told people I'd live abroad as an adult.  I love England,  and I spend time in the English countryside every month, but I was drawn to anything foreign:  languages, food, culture....    Today I have lived in France for longer than I ever lived in the UK, I am married to a Frenchman, and our children are all born here, but I still manage to see everyday living objectively, and that is what helps me write the blog.  And by the way, my house isn't a chateau!   It's just a family house. 

4) One thing that stands out to me in my French friends is the true balance they seem to have in their lives. How do you find balance in yours?

First of all I have a very patient husband, who never moans when I juggle several projects at the same time.  Like many women, I like to multi-task and to manage different activities simultaneously, it seems to make things more fun.

5) Who, what or where do you look to for inspiration? Where do you find creativity?

It sounds like a cliché, but I truly am inspired by all the everyday stuff around me.  My camera never leaves my side and I am happiest in my garden.  We are lucky here in Normandy because we are in the countryside but only an hour from Paris, so I can easily pop in to the city for lunch, or an appointment.  I firmly believe in the importance of everyday creativity, no matter which shape that may take.

6) Do you have a mentor or is there someone who has had a great deal of influence for you?

I have a couple of good friends who I can call on to talk ideas through, but for the bigger decisions it's always my husband who helps me think things through and sort priorities.  He is very pragmatic and clear thinking, and he's always ready to listen.

7) Where do you want to go next in this journey? Are there any upcoming plans, for a book of fiction, for book signings etc. 

The blog has always grown organically, and I am happy to be led in new directions when they present themselves.   I'd love to see the blog continue to grow and who knows, maybe another book in the not too distant future.

Author Sharon Santoni

Sharon thank you so much for the opportunity to have our conversation and to feature this very special book.

Readers please visit Sharon's blog My French Country Home and purchase her book, My Stylish French Girlfriends. It is so full of life, beautiful homes, the French countryside, a real treat! You will be thrilled that you did!

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