What an honor to be asked to be a judge for the anthology Best Paris Stories! By turns humorous, bittersweet, historical or surreal, each story in the collection invites readers to explore different facets of life in Paris. Over the coming weeks, I will be interviewing writers whose work was included in the collection. Today, I’m delighted to interview Jane M. Handel. She was born in England in 1958, grew up in Birmingham and the Isle of Wight and studied English and French Law at the University of Kent. She has two children, now grown up. She lives with her husband near Paris where she teaches yoga.
Why do you think Paris fascinates and inspires?
I think Paris’ ability to fascinate and inspire people reached new heights at the beginning of the 19th century, because the city and its architecture were so modern and harmonious. All the major art styles from the 1850s to the 1920s were born, or well-represented in Paris – the impressionists, Nabis, Fauves, Cubists etc. This then drew writers, artists and people and they created and perpetuate ‘the Paris myth’ of magic and romance.
Can you tell us a little about your story?
My story is about a young woman adjusting to the new codes of behavior in a foreign city – Paris, of course. At first, she is indifferent to its charms…
What books are on your nightstand?
I currently have eight books on meditation and Buddhist psychology next to my bed but I have just finished ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My best advice is drawn from the ‘The Serenity prayer’ –
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I am working on a novel and it’s killing me!