Thursday, February 27, 2014

Imagining Paris by Cerella Sechrist


Patisserie in Disney Epcot's France pavilion

With only a few days until the release of my second Heartwarming novel, The Paris Connection, I found myself on vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida and knew I had to make a stop at the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. If you all are the type to read the dedication and acknowledgments in the front of a book, you'll know that my sister, Carissa, is a die-hard Francophile and was a tremendous help when it came to researching the book. She was right beside me on my day's visit to Epcot.

Together, we drooled over a variety of French pastries in the patisserie, where I chose a delicious confection similar to a croissant but layered with a sweet and nutty almond filling. Carissa chose a rich, whipped cream dessert with a variety of berries folded in. The rest of our group chose other, delicious items, and for a moment, clustered together at a table with French signs and facades all around us, we were able to experience a fun imitation of Paris.

Since I've never had the opportunity to visit the City of Light, I employed my writer's imagination to picture my hero and heroine, Cole and Emma, at a nearby table, heads bent close over a cup of cafe au lait.

Next year, I'm hoping to take my first-ever trip to France, and when I do, I’ll appreciate it all the more for the research that went into telling Cole’s story – a story I never expected to write in the first place until the editors at Heartwarming said they’d love to read more about Cole and see him in Paris.

But until I’m actually walking along the Champ de Mars, I figure a French pastry in Disney’s Epcot is the next best thing – because as all readers know, your imagination takes you places you might never visit otherwise. And that’s the next best thing to being there.

If you’d like to experience a taste of Paris, travel virtually with me during my upcoming blog tour to promote the release of The Paris Connection. I’ll be giving away several prize packages with Parisian themes, including a Bon Appetit! giveaway featuring food items imported from France that I picked up while visiting Disney’s Epcot. For more details, check in to begin your journey on Sunday, March 2 at Seasons of Humility. I’d love to have you travel with me through Paris!

26 comments:

  1. I love Paris! Because of an excellent high school French teacher, I was able to find my way around the city in the dark, the first day and night I visited it. (I can barely navigate my own neighborhood.) And, oh my gosh, the food. The art. Vincent Van Gogh. The sound of that beautiful language. I have so been looking forward to your book, Cerella! Can't wait to take a read! ;-)

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    1. Oh, Anna, I'm the same way when it comes to getting lost. My family calls me "directionally dysfunctional." (I inherited this trait from my mom, who is worse than I am.) So I'd probably have to find a guide in Paris. Then again, getting lost there might not be so bad. :)

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  2. I so badly want to go to Paris. My husband was just there in September loved it. It helped that the croissants are to die for. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law currently live in Belgium and travel to Paris quite often. In fact, my SIL took a croissant making class in Paris last year and said you will never believe how much butter is in one croissant! No wonder why they taste so good. Can't wait to read about your hero and heroine in the City of Light!

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    1. Amy, after writing this story, I cannot wait to go to Paris! I also work part-time at Starbucks, and we just got this new line of French pastries - the croissants are are supposed to be A-MAZING! But I bet they still don't compare to eating them while one is actually in France. ;)

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  3. Harlequin stories are so wonderful because they do give readers an opportunity to imagine themselves in places they may never see. I grew up in a small town and reading let me travel through books I read. When I actually was able to visit some of the places I'd read about, I truly felt as if I'd been there before. I'm sure your book will take us all to Paris.

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    1. Roz, I feel exactly the same way! I love being a writer because I feel like I'm getting to live multiple lives and visit so many places I might never see otherwise.

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  4. Love seeing new places through books. Last year, my brother took two of my kids and his daughter to Paris. They had a wonderful time. I told Mr. Curtis our Paris time would be without kids...

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    1. LOL! Well, Mel, I think that's fair! I hope when your time comes to see it that it's absolutely perfect! :)

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  5. One of those countries I still have to hit--although I've done it at Epcot . One of my dreams is to spend days at the Louvre and soak in all the art and history. Great post! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. I'm with you, Anna - a day spent just enjoying the art and history would be fine by me. And the food. I wouldn't want to miss any of that!

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  6. Bonjour, Cerella! Okay - the oatmeal I had an hour ago was perfectly fine, but now I've just pawned my husband and the dog so I can get to those pastry trays at Epcott! How wonderful that you got to 'live' in Paris while writing your book. I think it was Gertrude Stein who said something like, "America is my country, but Paris is my hometown." It looks so inviting and inspiring. Can you tell us about your name and your sister's? They're lovely and unusual.

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    1. LOL! Muriel, it was so hard to choose just ONE pastry while I was at Epcot. :) I have a totally new appreciation for Paris, too, after writing this story. As for my name and my sister's - they're both just from baby name books! My mom liked them and has a thing for unusual names. Since I was the firstborn, my dad let her have her way, and then Carissa (their second-born) is a tad less unique, and my brother (the youngest) ended up as Caleb. (My parents did keep the "C" theme!) :) Cerella is Latin for "of the spring" (though I was born in the fall.) And Carissa's meaning varies from "beloved", "dear", or "loved one." It's fun to have such an unusual name since it's a great conversation starter! Thanks for asking about it! Maybe next time, I'll do a post on it. ;)

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    2. And your readers will remember it and know whose name to look for.

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  7. Love the pastries at Epcot! Your pictures are making me hungry. LOL. Paris is a beautiful city. The Eiffel Tower is awesome. It really is a city to enjoy the culture. Look forward to your book.

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    1. Thanks, Tara! And btw, I loved Orange Blossom Brides when I read it a few months ago! :)

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  8. Cerella- you are killing me with these pictures!!! In a couple of weeks, I'll be visiting Epcot for the fourth time and my husband, Danielle and I always grab pastries in the French section and watch the lights show. It's such a treat and the area really makes you feel as though you are in Paris! Have fun on your trip next year. I've only been to Paris once, but I'll never forget it!

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    1. Disney really does make it magical, don't they? Since my sister lives in Florida, I've gotten to visit there more times than I can count, but this one, of course, was extra special with the book coming out! I can't wait to see Paris for real, though. :)

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  9. Paris is definitely on my list of places to visit. What awesome photos. Made me wish I were with you.

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    1. Pamela, it would be so fun if we could all just have a day in Epcot, munching on pastries and talking about our books. I'd love that! I guess we can dream. ;)

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  10. Paris is an incredible place to visit and french pastries are the best. Now that I'm strictly gluten free, I suffer heartache at the sight or smell of them lol. Mmmm.

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    1. Rula, I've been going gluten and dairy free this year - for general health reasons but not celiac's so I can still eat them if I choose, which is what I did while I was in Epcot. But I can't imagine not being able to eat gluten while in Paris! No macarons! :( Maybe one day, they'll have gluten free ones. :)

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  11. I haven't been to Paris OR Epcot, but both of them sound wonderful. So does your book!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I think reading about a place can be the same as visiting it - without the travel headaches! ;) I hope you enjoy The Paris Connection!

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  12. I visited Paris for 3 days when I did a semester of study abroad. The reality of the trip didn't quite match my fantasy (especially since I was a poor college student), but I still made a lot of fond memories in my short time there.
    And though Epcot isn't quite Paris, where else can you visit more than a dozen countries in a single day? My sister and I treated my nieces to pastries from the patisserie when we were there, and as my niece Megan sighed, "I love these Paris donuts."

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    1. Syndi, yes! I think it's got to be the next best thing to sitting in a real Parisian patisserie! Next time I'm there, I want to try the macaron ice cream sandwiches. I was too stuffed this time around. ;)

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