Pamela Boles Eglinski’s book Return of the French Blue is a thriller set mainly in the south of France. The tale of a diamond heist with a touch of romance, a dollop of glitz and glamour and two central characters of the good old-fashioned cool, collected and classy kind…
French Bookworm caught up with Pamela in her home town of Kansas USA…
You clearly love France and have visited many times to have such detailed knowledge of the places mentioned in your book, can you tell us about your first visit to France?
The first time I visited Paris I was traveling alone and was fresh out of graduate school. I had my handy tour book with me and I saw everything. I didn’t have a job so I had to keep expenses down. I stayed in a hotel with roaches [yes, that’s true], and bought fresh food from the markets. I remember telling myself that I must dine in a restaurant before leaving Paris – and I did. At a lovely restaurant on the Champs-Elysées I ordered the least expensive item on the menu, an omelette. I dined at a little table in the sun and savoured every bite.
Over the years my husband and I have travelled to France many times. Our favourite cities remain Paris and Vence, a little hill-town just above Nice. We stay in a small auberge which looks out over the surrounding valley and the beautiful Matisse Chapel.
I started writing because… My mother was blessed with a wild and rich imagination. She passed the qualities on to me. I often made up stories while traveling long distances in the car, but it wasn’t until fourteen years ago that I began writing novels and short stories for publication.
If you could have dinner with any French person who would it be? Jean Reno! I love the sound of his voice, the squint of his eyes, the quick accusatory glances, his wicked nose, and his powerful physique. I thoroughly enjoyed him in The da Vinci Code and French Kiss. If I were fortunate enough to have dinner with him, I’d probably never take a bite of food. I’d just feast my eyes on Mr. Reno. Watching him would be a meal in itself.
If you were to take them to a restaurant in France – where would it be and why? I would take friends to Auberge des Seigneurs in Vence. This is our favourite auberge and favourite restaurant. We love the owners, and have returned often over the past twenty years. The service is exquisite, the courses delicious and beautifully presented, and the ambiance delightful. There is a large hearth at one end of the room, with juicy capons revolving on a spit. The smell alone would draw you in off the street. I featured the Auberge in Return of the French Blue, where Catalina and Bonhomme have a very memorable dinner.
Desert Island book – if you could only take three books to a deserted island what would they be? Wow. Difficult question. Criteria: 1. Nothing short of 800 pages. 2. Inspirational and spiritual. 3. Humorous and multi-layered. 4. A survival manual. Books? Not enough time to research precise titles but rest assured, they would be precious and thought provoking.
My guiltiest pleasure is… Layering whipping cream on fresh strawberries, and into my coffee. Worse yet, I scoop freshly whipped cream right out of the bowl and lick it off the spoon.
Red or white wine? White most of the time, but red when I’m in Burgundy. Nothing but red there!
If Return of the French Blue is made into a film – who would play Catalina Syrah and who would play Nicholas Bonhomme? I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve mentally cast Return of the French Blue. Let me describe the characters: Catalina Syrah is gorgeous. She has long ebony hair, creamy white skin, large dark eyes, a dramatic but charming nose, and lips that scream “kiss me.” French and Italian blood course through her veins. She’s twenty-seven, worked for the CIA, and is an art history scholar. Nicholas Bonhomme is tall and sports a beautifully sculpted body. His hair is blue-black, and flips a bit at the nape of his neck. He’s what you’d call “ruggedly handsome,” sporting the unshaven look and moussed hair. He’s thirty-two, and a man every woman dreams of.
There was a time when Jean Reno would have been ideal as Bonhomme, but he’s a bit old for that role now. Likewise, Sandra Bullock could have played Catalina, but I’m afraid we’ll need someone younger. I’ll have to leave it to the movie director to find the best actors, but keep in mind that Catalina is an American, and Nicholas is French, and they are both seasoned spies.
The next book in the “Catalina and Bonhomme Series” is She Rides with Genghis Khan featuring the same wonderful characters and set against the backdrop of the ancient Silk Road. Treasured documents and secret histories guide Cat and Bonhomme deep into the heart of Mongolia where they seek the burial site of Genghis Khan, one time ruler of the known world and presumed guardian of the all-powerful Buddha Jewel. It’s an epic novel permeated with all things Asian and the exotic world of Buddhism.
The Third Knife is a prequel to my novels, due out late summer 2015. It’s a historical novel and is the story of Catalina’s grandmother and Bonhomme’s fathe, both Resistance fighters during World War II. It has all the requisite qualities of a nation torn by war including vengeance, espionage, and romance. Most of the novel takes place in and around Nice but it also reaches north to Vercours, site of the heroic Maquis battle against the Germans.