Traci L. Slatton is here today to talk about her new novel Broken – and why she set it in Paris in WWII…
Setting BROKEN in Paris
By Traci L. Slatton
It was a long-standing dream of mine to live and write in the City of Lights. Many writers feel that way. I had emerged a bit bruised and battle-scarred from a few heart-breaking years of tussling with my self-destructive middle daughter and litigious ex-husband. My shrink suggested I take some healing time for myself at a writer’s colony.
“I don’t believe in those,” I demurred. “Writing is part of life. Real writers don’t go apart and isolate themselves in a cabin to write, they structure their ordinary daily lives around their writing. What I’d like to do is go for an extended stay in Paris and work on the World War II novel. The novel is set in Berlin and Munich, but I speak French and I can use Paris as a base for research.”
“Then go write in Paris,” he said.
So I did.
I rented a tiny apartment in the Montparnasse area, not far from the cemetery and the ghastly black tower, the tallest building in Paris and one of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe. I set up my computer at a table by a window and intended to work.
But days are long in Paris in June, with honeyed light lasting until late in the evening and brightening the early morning sky. Sitting at my desk sipping coffee, I could hear children playing in a nearby école. As disciplined as I usually am, I couldn’t force myself to pen passages of a story set in another country. Paris wouldn’t let me. The city called me out of doors.
So I walked. I walked all over the city, from the Boulevard Montparnasse on the left bank to the ritzy Galeries Lafayette on the right bank. I walked through the green manicured lawns of Jardin du Luxembourg and kept moving east to visit a friend who lives near the bustling Gare de Lyon. I crossed on foot over the Pont St. Michel and didn’t stop until I reached the Centre Pompidou.
Every day, for hours, I found myself exploring the city on foot. Paris, for me, is a sensual city, with its white limestone buildings, historical churches and landmarks around every corner, plethora of art galleries and museums, and the lazy shimmering Seine curving through it all. I walked in a kind of heightened sensual haze of daydreaming and sightseeing. The walking was unplanned but delicious. It served to keep me fit despite the pastries and red wine I consumed with such relish, and it planted a seed for a story set in Paris, during the early years of the war.
BROKEN, about a fallen angel coming to terms with what it means to be human in a human body, is the fruit that grew out of all that walking. She lives in the very area where I did, for the sweet month I spent in the City of Lights.
[divider]Broken by Traci L. Slatton
Published by Parvati Press on September 15th 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Purchase at IndieBound | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Power is pornographic
Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?
Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all?
Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Traci L. Slatton approached me about reviewing her new release Broken, she called it “a sensual, heart-rending, suspenseful historical novel set in Occupied Paris during World War II.” And boy, is that spot-on.
I really enjoyed this story about a fallen angel who’s in mortal form because of her own heartbreak. While on earth, Alia Mercier hangs out with artists and musicians in a Paris on the cusp of German occupation. The archangel Michael shows up a few times, attempts to convince Alia to – well, I’m not quite sure what, exactly. But these scenes provide background so I didn’t mind.
Alia is such a bright character, even when she’s down on herself, on God, on humanity in general. She loves strongly, lives hard, and gives her all to save her neighbors – a widow and child, condemned for the trace of Jewish blood in their veins – from the Germans.
The most interesting part of Broken (other than the existential discussions!) are the cast of supporting characters Slatton populates between the pages. Edith Piaf, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and other notables share Alia’s table and her company. And yes, there’s sex in this story, though not so much that I would categorize this as erotica. However, Alia’s choices may not suit some, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Pick up Broken for a look at the artsy scene in Paris in the early days of WWII and the story of a conflicted young woman whose truth is so much more than she thought it could ever be.
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read Broken? What did you think?