Thursday, June 4, 2009

Write in France!

In my 5/23/09 posting on "revisions" I mentioned that I had invited friends to travel to France. Today I’m extending that invitation to my blog readers.

During the week of September 26 to October 3, 2009, my friend Nita Hughes, author of two acclaimed historical novels, Past Recall and The Cathar Legacy (see is leading a workshop and tour to an area in the south of France known as the Pays de Cathare. In her brochure about the trip, Nita describes the Pays de Cathare as: “a mystical and magical land full of ancient castles and bastide towns which 800 years ago were home to a fascinating people knows as the bonshommes (the “good men”). These enlightened Christians were later called Cathars, and were tragically massacred during the Albigensian Crusades in the 13th century. In the records of the Inquisition it is written that the Cathars possessed a treasure described as ‘…so powerful as to transform the world.’

As your guide, Nita shares her years of research writing her books about the Cathars. On the trip you will have the opportunity to explore the Cathar connection to the Templars, Rennes le Chateau, and the legends regarding Jesus and Mary Magdalene. At the same time, bring along your journal, sketchbook, WIP--this is also a chance to write, dream, and create in an atmosphere like no other.

To download the full brochure and to learn more about cost and deposit details (yes, there is still time to register!), please visit: and follow the “Montfaucon” link.

I met Nita through my writer’s group back in Carrollton, Georgia. Since then we’ve both moved to completely different parts of the country, but staying in touch with Nita’s exciting life and writing has always been inspiring. Altogether she has three books in print; the most recent, Safe Haven, is a romantic thriller set in the Philippines. Nita is a wonderful writer, with a special gift for bringing her characters and settings to life. Her high-tension storytelling combined with fascinating metaphysical and historical information is particularly impressive.

The other day I asked Nita a few questions:
Q. When did you first decide to become a writer?
A. I always loved to write since age 4, holding a pencil. And to speak-- communicating, stirring passions and prompting thought via words seemed miraculous.

Q. How did you become interested in the Cathars?
A. Cathar interest hit me out of the blue, literally, as I sat in the corner on a stool in a Melbourne bookstore, perusing books to buy. A book fell above me, landing in my lap, and opened to Cathars. Never heard of them and from that moment felt duty bound to bring them back to life.

Q. Do you have a writing schedule and if so, what is it?
A. 3 hours-between breakfast and lunch.

Q. What is your favorite book?
A. Many, but loved Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera (heavy on passions and magic realism).

Q. Any writing advice to share?
A. Write from your passion(s) –whether fiction or non-fiction.

Tip of the Day: Nita’s advice is invaluable. Are you writing from your passion? Quite often the real source of writer’s block is apathy toward your subject matter—trying too hard to fit into a genre or writing style you think is “popular” or “salable,” but not you. Sit down and brainstorm all the things that excite you—then choose one to write about.


H. Pinski said...

Oh, I studied Medieval Art in college. I wish I could go!

Ana V. said...

This sounds wonderful, I would love to be able to do this trip. Times like these I wish I had the extra money to do this.

I liked the sentence you wrote:
"Sit down and brainstorm all the things that excite you—then choose one to write about." This is something I need to do in order to start writing that romantic suspense novel I have been wanted to write.

Nancy Watts said...

This sounds wonderful...It would be great if it came in the summer. I'm a teacher (I teach world history) and would love to take a trip like this...or arrange a school trip. Is that doable?

If you like writing and poetry, you may like my blog.