author photo 2010 hi resSo you just wrote a book about the challenges of committing to love when we all know how damn hard relationships really are. What do you know about love?

I’ve been in a marriage that didn’t work and now I’m in a marriage that works. I love love. It’s a great way to live in the world. But after spending two years writing a novel about love (and seventeen years living in love), I think that most of us dive into relationships with some kind of blind faith. We think: Ours will work. Ours will be different. There is no rule book. We make it all up as we go along.

Luckily I write fiction. Fiction is driven by questions, not answers.

 

In A Wedding in Provence, the bride’s 20 something year old daughters are looking for love in all the wrong places. You’ve got 20 something year old daughters. How crazy-making is it to watch your daughters find love?

When I started writing the novel, both my daughters were in relationships from hell. One was with a sociopath, the other with an ex-meth addict. So I grappled with all those tough emotions – can’t I save my girls from bad choices? Why are they making bad choices? Eventually they both ditched the guys (and it had nothing to do with anything I said or did) and are now in fabulous relationships. One just got married. Life feels much easier, for a moment at least.

All that became material for the novel. A Wedding in Provence isn’t autobiographical (nothing that happens in the novel happened to me or to anyone I know) but the emotional truth of it is very real.

 

You’ve been on book tour for two weeks now. What question has no one asked?

No one has asked me about the dog! I love the dog! Ulysse is based on a real dog my husband and I met at an inn in Provence about 4 years ago. We took him for a long hike one day and decided that there should be a Rent-a-Dog service for travelers. And so even that made its way into the novel.

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ELLEN SUSSMAN is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in ProvenceThe Paradise Guest HouseFrench Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies,Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave and Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes. www.ellensussman.com

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TNB FICTION is proud to showcase book excerpts and original short fiction from some of the finest writers in the world. Features have included work by Aimee Bender, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, Jennifer Egan, Bret Easton Ellis, Roxane Gay, Etgar Keret, Antonya Nelson, and hundreds of other internationally acclaimed and emerging writers. Spotlighting a recent book release each week, TNB Fiction helps bring awareness of new literary fiction, from both trade and independent publishers, to readers around the world, providing a global, free-access arena for spotlighting the genre in an era of shrinking coverage among mainstream print publications. TNB Fiction has its finger on the pulse of a vibrant new generation of writers, as well as established literary greats whose work continues to shape the future dialogue of literary culture. Fiction Editor Rachael Warecki lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere, and has received residency invitations from the Wellstone Center and Ragdale. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently at work on a novel.

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