Saturday, 13 February 2016

Guest Post - Mark West talks about Paris - Paris Weekend

Paris, ‘The City Of Love’, was somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since I was in my teens and discovered the Left Bank and French cinema (starting with “Diva”, “Pauline a la Plage” and, of course, “Betty Blue” which was essential viewing for a teenager in the 80s).  

I finally got my chance ten years ago when I began working for an American company who decided to have us, the UK branch, manage the French office.  Luckily, the French manager was very friendly and loved his city so after the working day was done, he showed us around, took us to places we wanted to see and fed us in fine restaurants.  On one such visit, I said I’d like to see Notre Dame but the road was clogged with traffic so I got out and walked alongside the Seine to the great Cathedral and waited for them to catch up.  I took lots of pictures and enjoyed the sensation of wandering in the Latin Quarter, listening to the people and music around me and realised the Left Bank was everything I had always hoped it would be.

A couple of years ago, a colleague & I had to go for a meeting which we managed to wrap up by lunchtime.  After a very nice meal, we said goodbye to our hosts, took the metro to Notre Dame, had a drink in the brasserie on the corner and then walked alongside the river to the Louvre, taking in the Bouquinistes (book-sellers) and the Love-Locks on the Pont Des Artes bridge.  It was a gloriously sunny afternoon and my only regret is that I didn’t explore it with my wife (yes, as it turns out, I have never been to the City Of Love with my wife, a fact she occasionally mentions).

When I came to write my novelette “Polly”, which will be published in April, my female lead needed to get away for a while and I chose to send her to Paris.  She then took the same walking tour I did on that afternoon and, as well as my own photos, I retraced the route on Google Maps and it was glorious.  I wanted to go back and do it all over again which I think I will, this summer, with my wife and son along for the experience.

One of my favourite films is “The 400 Blows” (which I would urge everyone to see) and since that’s set in Paris, I decided to mine it for “Polly” - she stays in l’Hotel Truffaut and lots of the characters are named for either characters or actors in the film.  Most people won’t notice of course but I’d like to think a fan of it might read my story and make the connection.

In real life, Paris was everything I wanted it to be and more - a working city, certainly and as beautiful and grimy as London can be - but the architecture, the atmosphere, the wonderful restaurants and the sense of all who’ve gone before is just wonderful.

About Mark West
Mark West was born in Northamptonshire in 1969 and now lives there with his wife Alison and their young son Matthew.  Since discovering the small press in 1998 he has published over seventy short stories, two novels (In The Rain With The Dead and Conjure), a novelette (The Mill), a chapbook (What Gets Left Behind), a collection (Strange Tales) and two novellas  (Drive, which was nominated for a British Fantasy Award and The Lost Film).  He has more short stories and novellas forthcoming and is currently working on a novel.  

Away from writing, he enjoys reading, walking, cycling, watching films and playing Dudeball with his son.

His Paris-set novelette “Polly” will be published in print, ebook and audiobook editions in April 2016 by Stormblade Productions

His novella “Drive”, which was nominated for a British Fantasy Society Award, is available in print and digital editions.

Mark can be found online at (a blog Sue Moorcroft called “eclectic and interesting”) and he’s on Twitter as @MarkEWest

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark, a few weeks ago at a blogger/author meet up. When he mentioned the setting for the upcoming Polly, I knew I need him on this blog for part of this Paris weekend. Sorry about the short notice Mark and thank you so much for taking part. 


  1. Great post! I've been lucky enough to read Polly already - I'd recommend it.

  2. Thanks for having me Rachel!

    And thank you too, Sue!


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