Camille Aubray's new novel is Cooking for Picasso. From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your novel, Cooking for Picasso?--Marshal Zeringue
A: Ever since I was a writer-in-residence at an arts colony in Vence, I’ve returned to the French Riviera again and again, enchanted by the incredible light and the infinite shades of blue sea and sky—and of course Pablo Picasso. You can’t turn around here without bumping into a Picasso exhibit, and there he is with those dark eyes staring at you and daring you to ask him a question. Well, I started asking!
And while exploring Picasso’s story, I learned about a fascinating episode in his life: in 1936 he was in such turmoil (mostly from juggling too many ladies all at once!) that he stopped painting—until finally he sneaked away from Paris to the Côte d’Azur and, under a different name, rented a villa. No one really knows what he did during this mysterious interlude, but it inspired him to pick up his brushes again.
Furthermore, among the artwork he created during this interval, there are two paintings of an unidentified dark-haired woman peering into a mirror. All this fired up my imagination. Wandering past the busy fishermen’s boats, the inviting cafés, the farmers’ markets bursting with seasonal food, I visualized a young woman on a bicycle, carrying a basket of delectable Provençal specialties to the house of a mysterious patron who...[read on]