Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Author Interview
Juliet Young Author Interview

An Accidental Parisian is a memoir chronicling your journey from Toronto to navigating the challenges of being a French national and citizen of three countries while unraveling the forces and circumstances that brought you to where you are today. Why was this an important memoir for you to write?

In order to fully understand how and why I got here, I needed to reach back and trace the trajectory of my life from a happy child, rebellious teenager, and questing adult to the European citizen and resident of France that I am today. I needed to see how circumstances and family events dictated my choice to settle permanently in Europe (and not in my homeland of Canada). In this respect, I wrote the memoir for myself.

The second reason that motivated me to write the book was the other Parisian memoirs I had read, written by British, American, Canadian, and Australian women like me. While very good and hugely entertaining, I concluded that my personal story was just as interesting as theirs … even more so!

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The death of my parents and the void it has left in my life. I miss their presence and integrity; their benevolence and emotional support. But writing about my mother and father brought them back to life (and evoked happier times), so it wasn’t entirely painful.

What is one thing about Paris that you feel is little-known or underrated?

The diversity and charm of the different neighborhoods and arrondissements of the city. Throw away your tourist map and get lost; there are hidden gems to discover when one dares to stray off the beaten track. Leafy parks, gardens, and squares; small museums; churches, canals, and quiet residential boulevards. Admire the elegant Haussmann architecture and pop into boutiques, bistros, and boulangeries frequented by the locals. Currently, my two favorite arrondissements for wandering are the 12th and the 14th.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

To be adventurous. To have faith in the universe. To step out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new experiences; hopefully, you’ll be rewarded.

Also, to be your own best friend. Life is full of surprises, good and bad, and unexpected detours. You might lose friends and family along the way … people will betray you … and you’ll have only yourself to fall back on. So, self-reliance. You need to be there … for you. You need to be your own cheerleader and support system.

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Carefree, confident and curious about the world around her, Juliet takes leave from her comfortable life back home and embarks on a journey to Paris. Her goals are to perfect her French, find a job and have exhilarating adventures in Europe for a year or two.

Chronicling her story from an idyllic childhood in a Toronto suburb to France where she lives and works today, we follow Juliet—first to Montpellier to study French at Paul Valéry University only to end up in the role of French housewife at the age of 24—and onwards to Paris where she discovers the city and its residents, hunts for a job and an apartment, works in an advertising agency and then at Reuters, all while rollicking adventures—romantic and otherwise—are thrust upon her.

A feminist, Juliet finds France to be a deeply patriarchal and sexist society, and the women acquiescent.

At the book’s core are Juliet’s loving and successful parents. She plans to return home and to them, and settle permanently. But when her father suddenly dies, and her mother six years later, her world comes crashing down.

The book is called An Accidental Parisian because it was never the author’s intention to live abroad for so long. In an endeavor to understand how this happened, she must cast back to her beginnings—and her parents’ beginnings—and piece together the forces, choices and circumstances that brought her to where she is today: a French national and citizen of three countries, still living and working in Paris.

Posted on May 1, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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