Monday, April 28, 2014

Ella Carey - Blending Fact and Fiction

Please welcome Ella Carey to the blog today!!

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Ella Carey’s novel ‘The Paris Time Capsule’ is fictional, but inspired by the incredible true story
of an apartment in Paris that was abandoned for seventy years … but how does working around a true story affect the writing process?

I think the answer lies in that very word: ‘truth.’ The main consideration for me as a writer was to ensure that I respected the original story, and that even though my novel is a work of fiction, I still wrote with a sense of truthfulness in mind.

I will come back to that later, but, for now, let me tell you about the abandoned apartment in Paris that inspired ‘The Paris Time Capsule.’ The story was reported in online articles, and then in hundreds of online blogs.

A woman died in the south of France in 2010, but it wasn’t until after her death that the heir
s to her estate discovered that she owned an apartment in Paris that had been abandoned for seventy years. The woman, who was only known as ‘Madame de Florian’  (she became Isabelle de Florian in my novel), fled from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion in 1940 but never returned.

Now, this abandoned apartment was not your usual flat. It was filled with the sorts of exotic treasures from the Belle Epoque that would make specialists gasp, and leave the rest of us in shock. The assessors said it was like walking into Sleeping Beauty’s apartment when they first entered.

But that was not all. There was a stunning portrait in the apartment of a woman in a pink dress, her head turned to the side, almost as if she were throwing herself out of her own portrait. Art experts were called in. They discovered after reading love letters that were found in the apartment, that the painting was by none other than leading Belle Epoque art expert Giovanni Boldini. The woman in the painting was identified as Marthe de Florian, a famous courtesan, or demimondaine. Marthe was the owner’s grandmother and the previous owner of the apartment.

But, the question still remained unanswered. Why did the owner of the apartment never return to Paris? Why did she keep it a secret for seventy years?

I was working on a novel about a mystery surrounding valuable art when I read about this story. My novel involved a love story, and a family that had been torn apart. But I adore Paris. I speak French; I love history and art. I abandoned my previous novel, and started researching this.

The process involved much research, of course it did. In fact, at one point in the novel, it seemed as if I was double-checking every word on the page.

But the one thing that I had to bear in mind, the one thing that I wanted to do above everything else, was to write something plausible. The last thing I wanted to do was write anything that appeared contrived. My story had to seem real to my readers, it had to feel just as real as the incredible story of the woman who left her famous ancestor’s past buried in dust for seventy years.
Here is the blurb for ‘The Paris Time Capsule:’

New York photographer Cat Jordan has fought hard to free herself from the past, but when a stranger dies, Cat finds herself the sole inheritor of a treasure filled apartment in Paris that has been locked up and abandoned for seventy years.

A stash of love letters belonging to Marthe de Florian, one of the Belle Époque’s most famous demimondaines, and the appearance of the mysterious and beautiful Isabelle de Florian’s grandson leads Cat in search of the reasons why Isabelle kept her Paris apartment a secret, and why she left her entire estate to Cat.

As Cat unravels the story, she too begins her own journey, realizing that the secrets in the apartment may finally unlock the future.

Now, can you tell me if a true story has sparked your imagination?

I have a free copy of ‘The Paris Time Capsule’ on kindle to give away.

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That's an awesome story! Truly amazing. I think for me it's more bits and pieces of the real world that blend together to form a new whole. But one day I'd like to try something like this! Definitely fun! What do you think??

48 comments:

  1. That is really wild the apartment sat there untouched for so long. Maybe the woman thought that she'd lost it during the war?

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  2. Wow! That's an amazing story about the apartment. Glad you could use it in your story. Please let someone with a kindle win your book. Good luck with i.

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  3. Hi Alex, it is amazing that the apartment sat there untouched for so long! Yes, there are so many possibilities as to why the owner never returned. It is fun to speculate!

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  4. Hi Natalie, so glad that you find the story interesting! It did fascinate me! Good point about having someone win this who owns a kindle. The book is out in print form as well, but we will have to take your idea on board! Thanks for posting here. xxx

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  5. I love the idea of this apartment of treasures with a mystery and a romance! The best ideas come from true life!

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  6. That's quite the amazing story. I love finds like this. I can't imagine first walking into that place with all those old items just staring at me. Ooh ... I'm a history buff, so I'd definitely have a blast. Thanks for sharing this!

    Sheri at Writer's Alley

    Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
    Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

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  7. Hi Dianne! Thanks for calling in here. Yes, there is romance, mystery and it all revolves around beautiful treasures. It was easy to be inspired. xx

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  8. Hi SA Larsen, I agree. Imagine walking in. Just imagine it. I adore history too. Thanks for posting today and I hope you enjoy the novel!

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  9. Hi Jemi! Just to say thank you for having me here today. I agree - I usually find inspiration from life and put things together, but this story ... was exceptional for me. It was great working from a base - a little more research required, but my imagination was allowed much free reign. xx

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  10. Ella - thanks so much for dropping by today. It's a fascinating story!

    Alex - that's a good point - I wonder!

    Natalie - it really is amazing!

    Diane - they do!

    Sheri - being the 1st one in that apartment would have been incredible!

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  11. That is really fascinating, and your book sounds fun! I'm really into abandoned buildings and places (especially abandoned amusement parks, for some reason), so this has my interest. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Ella, WOW! Sounds like you've done an amazing job blending your story with the true story. I can see how the true story changed the path of your story. Wishing you much success.

    Hi, Jemi!

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  13. I won it already. This book is everywhere! I can't wait to read it.

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  14. Hi Shelley! There is something about abandoned buildings - and especially theme parks - something magical about them. Perhaps it is the ambience created as so many people enjoyed themselves there. Once the place is abandoned, you can't help but wonder what fun was had, who fell in love there, all sorts of things ... thanks for posting! x

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  15. Hi Mason, thanks for your kind comments! The true story did change the path of my writing. I have become so immersed in the world of Paris and the apartment, that I am writing a second novel in a series of three set around the abandoned apartment. I'm not ready to leave it yet! Thank you! x

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  16. Hello there Stephanie! So lovely to see you here today; I hope you enjoy the novel! :) xx

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  17. What an interesting mystery! I bet the apartment was like a time capsule. Lots of fun to think about.

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  18. Very cool story. IMagine the retro treasures in there!

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  19. Thanks Elizabeth! Yes, I think the Time Capsule description fits the abandoned apartment so well. Everything sitting in there untouched for seventy years just did it for me. xx

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  20. Hello Kelly! I agree. The treasures were so unique because the previous owner of the apartment was a courtesan - so the treasures were from all over the world. They were extremely exotic and wonderful. x

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  21. Shelley - it is fascinating isn't it! :)

    Mason - hi! it would be fun to blend the facts in with the fiction

    Stephanie - me too!

    Elizabeth - exactly! I can see Myrtle having a ball in there! :)

    Kelly - I know! It looks like a lot of art deco - lots of fun! :)

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  22. I've seen this floating around bloglandia. I'll definitely be digging in.

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  23. Hi Leslie, Yes, there have been hundreds of blogs about the story of the apartment that was abandoned in Paris. I think it struck so many people as it is poignant, sad, as to why you would leave your home, never to return again. So pleased you like the idea and I hope you enjoy the novel. xx

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  24. I was fascinated with news of this apartment awhile back. I still am.

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  25. Leslie - me too!

    Medeia - it is amazing :)

    Thanks again Ella! :)

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  26. Blending fact and fiction - it sounds like an incredibly exciting way in which to construct a story... especially given these particular circumstances... an apartment abandoned for 70 years... filled with exotic treasures! Wow.

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  27. Ooh! I love the premise for this story :)

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  28. Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for your kind thoughts. The circumstances of this story were of such interest to me too. I agree, it is the combination of factors surrounding the story that are so intriguing. xx

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  29. Michelle - I agree - makes me want to try it!

    Marcy - agreed!! :)

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  30. Hello mshatch, I'm thrilled that you love the premise for the story! Thanks for posting and I hope you enjoy the novel! xx

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  31. Hello Medeia! So lovely to see you here! I love that you are captivated by the apartment in Paris just as I am. Thanks for calling in here today. xx

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  32. That's an amazing true life story-- almost like a novel in itself!

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  33. Hello D Biswas, I know! I thought it was like a novel in itself too. I think the original story contained the perfect mystery, and enticed me ... xx

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  34. Hi there Jemi! Thank you too! :)

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  35. Damyanti -it is! Fascinating stuff!

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  36. Hi Ella, Hi Jemi

    I agree, this book is a treasure. Hopefully, not hidden, though!

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  37. Wow. What a super great premise and an amazing story. I love the story behind the story, and would love to know what actually did happen. Guess I'll have to settle for fiction, eh? ;)

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  38. Hi Crystal! The story behind the story is fascinating. I agree - it would be fascinating to know what really happened in that apartment! Hope you enjoy the fictional account and thanks for calling in here today! xx

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  39. Maria - love that! We need it out and about :)

    Crystal - me too!

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  40. I like any story about Paris, and this one sounds like a special read. Thanks for making my TBR list grow one book longer. :D

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  41. Pat - you're very welcome!!! At least it's a fun to-do list!

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  42. Hi Patricia, I am with you regarding Paris! So pleased the novel is on your list and I hope you enjoy. xx

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  43. Yup, my curiosity about the story behind the story just jumped off the chart.

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  44. Hello Linda! Oh, that's wonderful, and so kind of you leave such a lovely comment. I agree, I was curious about it! Hope you enjoy the story. xx

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  45. I love this cover and the story behind the book. I was so intrigued when I saw this news article and I think it is wonderful that Ella took the idea and went with it. Wishing Ella the best of luck. I can't wait to read this one! It's already on my list. :)
    ~Jess

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  46. Jess - I just finished it and it's a great story - I know you'll enjoy it! :)

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