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.
ELLEN SUSSMAN is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French 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