Today I’d like to extend a warm K&T welcome to Juliette Sobanet, bestselling Montlake author of Parisian-inspired romantic suspense stories. And in celebration of her latest releases, Dancing with Paris and Midnight Train to Paris, we’re chatting about Paris, romance, time travel, and, of course, murder. I am also honored to say that Juliette is my critique partner and one of my dearest friends. (But before we start, I have to pour the cafe au lait and serve the French pastries!)
JS: Thank you so much for having us on Kiss and Thrill!
SW (a little confused at the three beautiful women suddenly sitting in front of me eating my chocolate croissants): You brought friends?
JS: A funny thing happened on the way over here. Two of my heroines, Claudia and Jillian, heard you were serving pastries and just showed up!
SW (who didn’t need to eat three chocolate croissants anyway): Welcome, ladies. Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Claudia (sighing and looking bleary-eyed): I’m a marriage and family therapist from San Diego, and normally I’ve got it all together. But lately…not so much. I’m pregnant from a one-night stand, in love with a gorgeous French actor, and after a spill in my grandmother’s San Diego Dance studio, I woke up to find myself in a 1950s Parisian cabaret club. (And no, I haven’t lost my mind).
SW (slightly shocked): Wow.
JS: Well, if I had to time travel, 1950s Paris sounds pretty glamorous. What’s the problem?
Claudia (shrugging): Oh, I’ve got much bigger issues than the whole time travel debacle. When I woke up in the cabaret club, I was speaking fluent French, and I’m not me anymore. I’ve found myself in the voluptuous body of the star of the show—Ruby Kerrigan. Apparently, I was Ruby in my past life (still trying to wrap my head around all of this!), and it just so happens that Little Miss Ruby is under investigation for the murder of a fellow dancer. Apparently I have five days to figure out if Ruby (or rather, if I) actually committed the murder, or I’ll never make it back to my life in San Diego…or to my baby.
JS: I see why you’re a little freaked out about arriving in 1950s Paris! And I do hope you make it back to your baby–
Jillian (snorting): Stop whining, Claudia. At least you’re not on the brink of a World War.
SW (hoping to keep things peaceful): And who are you?
Jillian (nodding gracefully): Jillian Chambord from Midnight Train to Paris. I’m a reporter for The Washington Daily, and I was just about to break the biggest story of my career when I found out that my twin sister was abducted from a luxury train traveling through the Alps. And as luck would have it, the lead investigator on the case is my ex…my smoldering, former CIA agent ex. Ugh.
Claudia (rolling her eyes): At least you haven’t time traveled to the past with no obvious way of making it back.
Jillian: Um…actually we have. As soon as we stepped on the midnight Orient Express train, something crazy happened, and we ended up in the middle of the Alps in 1937, on the same night that another mysterious train abduction took place. Now it looks as though we have to solve that crime before we have any hope of making it back to the present day and saving my sister.
JS: Looks as if you’re both in a pickle. Jillian, at least you haven’t traveled back in time to a past life, though.
SW: And it sounds as if Claudia may have it a bit worse.
Jillian: In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve had three people try to kill me. Please don’t tell me my situation isn’t serious.
SW (cringing): Sorry, Jillian.
JS: But you’re a tough reporter with kick-ass self-defense skills. And with that sexy investigator by your side, I think you can handle it.
Jillian (slamming down her coffee cup): I don’t want to talk about the sexy investigator.
Claudia (with one of those hidden smiles pregnant women are famous for): Sounds like you’re repressing some serious feelings for this man, Jillian. Are you still in love with him?
Jillian: Please don’t go all therapist on me, Claudia. Samuel and I are doing what we have to do to find these innocent women, my sister included, and once we’ve found them, we’ll part ways. That’s all there is to it.
Claudia: You’re stuck in the middle of the Alps with your gorgeous ex, and you’re telling me nothing is going to happen?
Jillian: Why don’t we turn the tables, Claudia? How about that mysterious French doctor who recently came to your aid? Why don’t you tell us more about him? Antoine is his name, correct?
Claudia (clears her throat): Um…yes, Antoine. He approached me on my first night at the club…and he happens to be the brother of the woman I’m being accused of murdering. Really not someone I should let myself fall for….but….
Jillian (glancing at Claudia’s still-flat stomach): Let me guess. He’s tall, handsome, with a super hot bod which you couldn’t possibly fall for? Because you w
ould never do something like that.
Claudia (blushing): I feel like I’ve known Antoine for my whole life, even though we’ve only just met. And there’s something about him that makes me all tingly and light-headed every time we talk. But I couldn’t possibly tell him the truth about who I really am, or that I’ve time-traveled here! He’ll have me committed.
SW (smiling): Sounds like true love, Claudia.
JS: If I’ve learned anything from creating the two of you, I’ve learned that nothing is impossible. Both of you—and your sexy men—gave me some serious problems (can we say re-writes anyone??) but I never gave up on you.
Jillian: Are you trying to say that you set us up in these impossible situations, Juliette?
Claudia: And that you know how it’s all going to end?
JS (taking the last croissant): Before my characters try to kill me, I think we’d better call it a day! After all, Claudia and Jillian have murderers to catch, French pastries to eat, and sexy men to pursue.
Jillian: I’m in the middle of the French Alps in 1937. Where exactly am I going to find a pastry shop around here?
Claudia (smiling wide): The pastries in 1950s Paris are to die for.
Jillian: Oh, nice, Claudia. Rub it in, why don’t you?
JS: Ladies, ladies. You don’t have a lot of time to waste, remember? Now get back to your stories and keep my readers entertained!
SW: I agree! Juliette, can you please give us a short blurb for each story?
Dancing with Paris
In Paris, a past life promises a second chance at love.
Straitlaced marriage therapist Claudia Davis had a plan—and it definitely did not involve getting pregnant from a one-night stand or falling for a gorgeous French actor. She thinks her life can’t possibly get more complicated. But when Claudia takes a tumble in her grandmother’s San Diego dance studio, she awakens in 1950s Paris in the body of Ruby Kerrigan, the glamorous star of a risqué cabaret—and the number-one suspect in the gruesome murder of a fellow dancer. As past lives go, it’s a doozy…especially when an encounter with a handsome and mysterious French doctor ignites a fire in Claudia’s sinfully beautiful new body.
But time, for all its twists and turns, is not on her side: Claudia has just five days to unmask the true killer, clear Ruby’s name, and return to the twenty-first century. To do so, she must make an impossible choice, one that will change the course of both of her lives forever.
Midnight Train to Paris
When hard-hitting DC reporter Jillian Chambord learns that her twin sister, Isla, has been abducted from a luxury train traveling through the Alps, not even the threat of losing her coveted position at The Washington Daily can stop her from hopping on the next flight to France. Never mind the fact that Samuel Kelly—the sexy former CIA agent who Jillian has sworn off forever—has been assigned as the lead investigator in the case.
When Jillian and Samuel arrive in the Alps, they soon learn that their midnight train isn’t leading them to Isla, but has taken them back in time to 1937, to a night when another young woman was abducted from the same Orient Express train. Given a chance to save both women, Jillian and Samuel are unprepared for what they discover on the train that night, for the sparks that fly between them . . . and for what they’ll have to do to keep each other alive. Midnight Train to Paris is a magical and suspenseful exploration of just how far we will go to save the ones we love.
SW: Thank you so much, Juliette, for spending the day with us and for introducing us to Jillian and Claudia. And maybe next time we can meet Samuel and Antoine!
Juliette Sobanet earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in France, living and studying in both Lyon and Paris. She worked as a French professor before turning a new page in her career, penning romantic women’s fiction with a French twist. She is the author of Sleeping with Paris, Kissed in Paris, Midnight Train to Paris, Dancing with Paris, and the upcoming novel Honeymoon in Paris. Today she lives with her husband and two cats in San Diego, where she devotes her time to writing and dreaming about her next trip to France. You can find her on her website, Twitter, or Facebook.
All photos of Paris courtesy of Juliette Sobanet.