Mastodon The Writing Desk: Book Launch Guest Interview with Gillian Harvey, Author of The French Chateau Escape

8 November 2023

Book Launch Guest Interview with Gillian Harvey, Author of The French Chateau Escape

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

It seemed like a good idea. Selling everything we owned. Just Mark and me, swapping our tiny, little, terraced London home – and the heartbreak of not being able to start a family – for an entire chateau in the middle of France… It’s everyone’s dream. And now it’s coming true for us.

I'm pleased to welcome author Gillian Harvey to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book 

My latest book is called ‘The French Chateau Escape’. When Emma begins struggling at work, Mark suggests they try something brand new – sell their home and buy a chateau in France. At first, she thinks he’s joking. When she realises he’s not, she decides to throw caution to the wind. After all, a damsel in distress is just waiting to be rescued, right?

But the problem with running away is that you tend to bring your issues with you. When Mark takes a tumble on the chateau stairs and is out of action, will Emma be able to find it in herself to be the rescuer, and save the chateau and their French dream?

What is your preferred writing routine? 

I have five children, so the first step is getting them off to school! Then I prefer to write for an hour or two in the morning. I’m fresher then, and my brain seems to work more efficiently.

What advice do you have for new writers? 

Just keep at it. Especially if you’re trying to write a novel for the first time. Remember that first drafts don’t have to be perfect. Many writers race through the first 10,000 words or so, then get stuck. Pushing on anyway is half the battle. Remember – you can always fine tune things in the edit.

When I was first writing novels, I used to abandon drafts to chase my shiny, new ideas. But persevere. There will always be new ideas – write them down but make sure they wait their turn!

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books? 

To be honest, having a great publisher makes all the difference. My current publishers are great at championing my books and I feel brilliantly supported. I’m also indebted to the blogging and reviewing communities on social media and for people who have shared my books through word of mouth. It all helps and I’m so grateful.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research 

My current reads are set in France, where I’ve lived for 14 years – so a lot of ‘research’ has simply been observing and living my life! As someone who’s still perfecting her French, I’ve had quite a few surprises through language faux pas made during conversation, and some have made it into my books to create humorous moments and culture clashes. 

On one occasion, over lunch, I wanted to tell our French neighbours about some plumbing my husband had been doing, particularly how he’d been using pipes. I didn’t realise that one of the words I used meant something completely different in French slang, and ended up telling my neighbours my husband had been up to something that made them both laugh and blush (I’ll leave you to guess). 

What was the hardest scene you remember writing? 

In my recent novel ‘A Year at the French Farmhouse’ I had to write a romantic scene when a character proposes to the main character, Lily. I wanted the reader to both sympathise with the man proposing, and simultaneously hope that Lily would say no. Getting the balance right was tricky, but hopefully I got there.

What are you planning to write next? 

I’m currently working on a humorous novel abut a woman who decides to start taking more risks after realising she’s played it safe all her life – I’m having great fun with the premise. And of course, it’s set in France.

Gillian Harvey

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About the Author

Gillian Harvey studied English at university and spent eight years teaching before moving to France with her husband Ray in 2009. In 2012, she began her career as a freelance writer. Her first novel ‘Everything is Fine’ was published by Orion in May 2020. She has since gone on to publish four further novels. Her internationally bestselling novel ‘A Year at the French Farmhouse’ published by Boldwood Books in 2022 marked a change in setting – and Gillian has published two further novels set in France. Her novel ‘The French Chateau Escape’ is out with Boldwood Books on 8th November. Gillian is currently a columnist for the popular ‘Writing Magazine.’ Find out more about Gillian here:,
visit her website and find her on Bluesky and Twitter @GillPlusFive 

Ellen Alpsten interviews Gillian Harvey:

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