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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The Arts  by Karena


therelishedroost said...

Yes I think I need this book but I will want to move to France after I am don with it! xo K

Thehouseofhampton said...

Now this looks like a great book. What would I do without you?
Have a great Karena!


Lydia ME Smith said...

I love this!! I'm getting a copy for my mother for her birthday! She always loved the French ways! :) and all of this makes me want to paint every single scene! How beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

MJH DesignArts said...

Hi Karena, Sumptuous interview. I'm off to get that hip done this am. Should be home in now time. xoxox Mary

Greet Lefèvre said...

Hi Karen,
Wonderful post! I ordered the book and can't wait to browse it!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Love Sharon's blog and how blessed is she to have such wonderful friends in her life that is more like extended family. While I have only been to France once, I can actually see beautiful relationships between people there. The editor certainly had a most wonderful idea to focus on this beautiful subject.
Another great interview Karena!

Mise said...

Oh at last, Sharon has written a book, and just the sort of book I like. How wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thank you, Karena, and I'll rush to buy it.

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Karena - thanks for this wonderful introduction to Sharon and her new book! Sounds like an idyllic life!

Linda Pakravan said...

Idyllic indeed! I have added it to my holiday book list! Thank you!

Stacy CUrran said...

Sharon's book looks gorgeous! Great interview!

noreen said...

I enjoy reading Sharon's blog, especially her love for gardens and flowers. Her book is on my wish list!

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

Hi Karena, I left a comment yesterday but it seems it didn't get through! Thank you so much for featuring my book, I'm thrilled to be seen on your very stylish blog! :)

Celia Becker @ After Orange County said...

I love Sharon Santoni and have been following her blog for many years. She is such an inspiration in so many ways. Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful interview with her. I'm going to order several copies of her book to share with my girlfriends.

Splendid Market said...

Is it out? I've been yearning for this book, thank you for sharing this great interview, it is always so much more interesting to ready a book when you have a little insight to the author!! Happy Labor Day Karena!

Dean Farris said...

What a magnificently beautiful post!
Your images and text are glowing!
Thanks for the trip to France!

Unknown said...

I feel like I just had a jaunt in the french countryside! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful interview and inspiring images. I will look forward to following Sharon's blog and book.
Sorry you had trouble commenting on my blog this week. Hopefully it's been resolved. Would love to have you share a link (like this one) on our Lifestyle Linkup that is live today. This would be a perfect post to share.
Happy long weekend, Karena Dear.
xx, Heather

The Buzz Blog said...

Sharon is so lovely and we've been huge fans of her blog for so long. When we lived in Paris we had so many stylish French girlfriends - it seems that all French women are born to be chic! We hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend, Karena.
C + C

LBDDiaries said...

Just the flowers alone are enough to cause me to order this book immediately (although the picture of her with her shoes helps, too smile)! Again you inspire me!!

Decor To Adore said...

Karena I absolutely loved this post. I read Sharon's blog and feel as though I know her a little bit better now.
I hope you have a happy Labor Day holiday and wonderful week!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Karena, I am in love with this book! My copy is already looking dog eared and well worn I have looked at it so many times! Sharon is so talented and inspirational!

La Contessa said...

LOVELY BOOK!I BOUGHT TWO........ONE for a GIFT for another blogger!I am a LUCKY GAL as I met SHARON and a couple of these women when I went on tour with HER last FALL.GOSH< has it been a YEAR?!Guess so......and her intern she had has settled down in my neck of the woods!
I ENJOYED THE BOOK VERY MUCH but wanted MORE when it ended!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS>I am not get my blog subscriptions to you and a few others once again!SO SORRY to have missed out!

Burlap Luxe said...

Karena, you did an amazing job on this post, as you do on all artist you feature but, something special about My French home blog that just grabs am and shakes me to the core as to why? Dore Who? Are you not married to a French Man and living the Life our dear Sharon lives here in France. :) perhaps you have often felt this yourself my dear?
Her home has always inspired me, not often enough we get to see the inside, and her gardens are amazing. I also love her home covered in winter, really who wouldn't want to purchase this book, who wouldn't want to fantasize that they too! are not one of Sharon's French friends?
I visit her often, not always leaving comments, but to take in a bit of French language in her rustic home life. Awwww! To breathe in all that she has at her access, and like her for years I have posted that it's the things around me daily that one may not take notice of, the smallest of things will inspire something in me that may be over looked by another.

I am sure in reading her book when it gets to me! I will feel like I belong in her group of friends, now isn't that what a good friendship book should call out to you? I am sure you feel the same way my passionate friend :)
Thank you dearest Karena, for your loyal FRIENDSHIP! And your beautiful comments when you visit my tiny little shoe box French cottage home, you always make me feel more then who I am, never less :)

I want to see more of your art, express yourself my friend, if I was writing a book on my friends you would be at the top of my inspiration list.

See you soon beautiful!
Ps. Sharon is a beautiful now Franch gal! Being that I am French and Irish, I feel this connection to my roots and I am sure Sharon's book will leave me soulfully taken.



Preppy Empty Nester said...

Great interview! Love her blog and will order her book.

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