I’ve written before about the give-and-take between novelists and characters. I not only try to enter into the lives of my characters, but I also give them pieces of myself. Today I want to talk about this old watercolor painting I gave to Victorine: I painted it the summer I was sixteen. Not for any […]

I recently redid my website. In the last moments of finishing the design, I decided I wanted to add a line of text to my home page. At first I thought of saying, “When an artist meets his muse,” but when I typed it, something didn’t feel right to me. I’ve written before about how […]

Thursday, October 30, 2014 is the publication date for Rouge Paris, the French translation of Paris Red. Christian Bourgois is the publisher. Cécile Deniard translated. I received copies the other day and I went through the same thing I always do. I opened the package and slipped out the books—and then I couldn’t think. I […]

I have a secret. Ever since I received the advance copies of Paris Red last month, I’ve been carrying one with me everywhere I go. I don’t mean that I show it to everyone (though I have shared it with friends), I just mean that I always have a copy in my bag. I guess […]

This is another collage I made from a 1908 postcard I found of Mlle Rochet, a young dancer and performer. In this card, someone has tinted her shoes a brighter blue than in postcard #1, and they’ve given her a candy-pink body stocking. I love the thoughtful, unsmiling expression on her face, and I love […]

Sometimes I wonder how a person like me came to write a novel about Victorine Meurent and Édouard Manet. I live in a meadow and see more wildlife than I do museums. I wear jeans every day, and belts with big, rhinestone buckles. (See above.) Though I lived in NYC from 1980 – 1987 and […]

My main character in Paris Red is poor. When Victorine Meurent meets Manet, she’s working as a brunisseuse, or a silver burnisher, and she has very little money to live on. She eats as cheaply as she can, buying her meals on the streets, and many days she gets by on bread and soup—soupe aux […]

I always get intimate with my characters. Since it takes me years to write a book, that’s bound to happen—I live with my characters day in and day out. But I also mean that I experience great physical closeness with them. I know what their faces and bodies look like, and I often know how […]

I haven’t blogged for several weeks because I’ve been busy working on the final editorial changes to Paris Red. In a couple of instances, I had to examine the key relationships in the book and bring a little more clarity to them, and to do that, I had to go deeply back into the novel. I […]

Last week I wrote about how Marville’s old photographs of Paris allowed me to enter Victorine’s world. I needed that gift from the past, the history provided by Marville. But the flow goes both ways: there are some things of mine, from the present, that I gave to Victorine. It’s what novelists do:  we give pieces […]