Tuesday, April 9, 2013

#BookChat Make That Deux by Julia McDermott #romance #travel

MAKE THAT DEUX is the story of Jenny Miles, who spends her junior year of college studying in the south of France in the late 1970s. Jenny leaves behind her boyfriend Phil in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the two met and became a couple almost a year before the novel’s opening. Jenny has studied French for years and is ecstatic to be able to realize her dream of participating in UNC’s new year-abroad program, and to see Europe. But she’s anxious and uneasy about being separated from the person with whom she’s been madly in love for many months.

Phil and Jenny manage their long-distance relationship via handwritten letters and a few very expensive phone calls, and Phil plans to come see Jenny over the winter holiday break. But in the fall, when unexplained issues force Phil to renege on his promise to visit, Jenny begins to suspect his feelings for her. Later, an accidental incident fuels Jenny’s doubts about their relationship and whether they are meant to be. Then, as her friendship with French-speaking (but not French) Lucas develops in romance, Jenny is forced to make some decisions.

From the Author:
A new world of adventure and romance opened up to me during my junior year of college when I was exchange student in the south of France. Instead of living with a French family, however, I shared a beach apartment on the Mediterranean Sea with two other American girls, and I left my boyfriend behind in the U.S., unsure of whether our relationship would survive the time apart. We three girls bought mopeds (mobylettes) to drive to and from our college campus in Montpellier, France, and we spent the year learning French, traveling and doing everything else that college girls do…

The year we shared made a big impact on me, and the three of us have stayed in touch since, even as our lives have taken different turns. When my children began growing up and moving out, I considered my long-held dream to become a writer. I decided to draw on my memories of my experience in France and write a novel set in the time I was there. I felt that Jenny – with her innocence, naiveté and idealism (and that of her two roommates) – could be a fresh character in a literary world sometimes crowded with cynicism. While not everyone would identify with the girls' belief in "The One," many would relate to Jenny's feelings dealing with a long-distance relationship, especially when other appealing men enter her life. Through Jenny's story, I wanted to show that even (and maybe, especially) for young people on the threshold of adulthood, love is possible and important…and that it's okay not to want to "do life" alone, and to want to go through life with – and to love – another.

Readers' Reactions:

"I absolutely love this book! I studied abroad my junior year of college and reading Make That Deux brought back so many fantastic memories of my own study abroad experience. The joys, triumphs and tribulations that Jenny experiences are similar to what I felt while abroad - "Can I be away from home for this long? Will my boyfriend and I stay together? Will I master the language?" etc. are all fears I had too but in the end managed to find the answers to all of them. Jenny, Lisa and the rest of the characters are so true to life and really draw you in. The changes that Jenny goes through are very realistic and made me like her more and more as I continued reading. I hope the rest of the readers enjoy the book as much as I did!"

"This is a well written tale of a young woman's year abroad ... it brought back many memories of my college days even though I did not study abroad. I know I met some of the same people Jenny did and suffered some of the same awkward experiences as I navigated through those first years on my own.

The author is particularly adept at dialogue especially when she portrays french-accented English. The words resounded from the page! I might have been at a cafe eavesdropping on Jenny and her friends.

I'm hoping Jenny has a similarly convoluted and dilemma-ridden adulthood in the sequel!"

"I enjoyed this book! It took me back to my own college years, and how hard it is to figure everything out! Trying to live and learn in a beautiful setting, the main character Jenny struggles with missing her boyfriend back in the States, while immersing herself in French life, not to mention French men! A great young-adult novel about trying to find yourself in a foreign country while being pulled in many different directions."

Behind the Scenes:

Lots of things happened while I wrote the book…

I got lots of feedback on different drafts of the story from my Writers Critique Group, several beta-readers, and some interested literary agents. I took all their advice to heart and revised the novel many, many times. I connected with one of the readers, who turned out to be the most helpful, through the friend of a friend.

Before I finished the novel, though, I took a break from writing/revising because one of my sons, age 19, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May 2010. He had two surgeries and 5 weeks of radiation therapy and was able to go back to college as a sophomore that fall. His second surgery was performed at Duke University Hospital by the renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Allan H. Friedman. My son faced his illness with courage, strength and hope, and cheered me on in my writing. He is now cancer-free and involved with raising funds for cancer research at his university, and he will graduate later this year.

Just before I published MAKE THAT DEUX, I traveled to France to celebrate a milestone anniversary with my husband. We did a tour of the south of France, visiting Montpellier and Palavas, where I had studied and lived, as well as other lovely spots, then spent several days in Paris. I was thrilled to go back to visit the place where I had spent my year in France and to show it to him.

When we returned, my mother was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. She moved in with us and had chemotherapy and radiation last fall, and she shared my excitement about publishing my book. Her cancer responded to treatment and she moved back home (a few miles away) and she is now cancer-free.


You can find Make That Deux at Amazon and B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Copia, Sony [see www.makethatjulie.wordpress.com for links]

My real name is Julia, but everyone calls me Julie. I was born in Dallas, Texas, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I spent my junior year as an exchange student in the south of France, studying French and traveling around western Europe on a shoestring budget. I’m a wife and mother of four children, and serve as the family chronicler. I love to read almost all types of fiction and non-fiction.

When I’m not blogging, tweeting or writing stories, I’m either studyingfrançais, attending writers group sessions or spending time with my family and friends. I love le football américain, Christmas, reading, most kinds of art and all things French.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Rachelle, for introducing me to another author. We have a lot of good ones out there, and it's more enjoyable to read a book when you know something about the writer who created it.