Friday Favoruites # 13: Laura Florand


Today's guest at Friday Favourites is the amazing Ms Laura Florand. She writes sensual romantic stories with complex characters exploring their emotions and desires set in the wolrd of top French chocolatiers. Her new series takes us to French rose valleys, La Vie En Roses, and the romance is just as delightful.

Friday Favourites

1. Favourite place 
I honestly have far too many to choose one. I love Paris, and many special places in it, the Seine at night, the special chocolate shops, the Luxembourg Gardens. And I love the south of France, where I’m setting the Vie en Roses series. I think you can tell both of those loves from the books! But I really love to travel, so there are also many other places I love—in Spain, in Italy, in Tahiti, in the U.S., in Belgium—that are beautiful and special but don’t make it into the books.

2. Favourite food and drink
That one is easy for me! Chocolate, of course. Very, very good chocolate!

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
I’m not entirely sure I have one. My playlists change so much according to mood or what I’m doing. (You want different music for a long plane ride than you do for a run or the gym, for example.) Let’s see—if people are looking for French music, I really like Zaz. That rough voice and jazz-rich music. “Je veux” and “La Fée” would be my suggestions for first songs to listen to from her.

4. Favourite movie/TV series
I usually do poorly with TV series. They drive me crazy. But one very brief series, which I loved and hope will be renewed, is Agent Carter. Very, very well done, much better than Agents of SHIELD, which, alas, I only managed to get 5 episodes into before it started making me too crazy. (I know, I know—everyone loves it. I’m sorry! My tastes are often weird.)

But for favorite movie? I am going to have to admit that it is, of course, Star Wars, like I think many of my generation. That was the second movie I ever saw in an actual theater—our father took us to exactly five movies as children, Snow White, Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and a French movie which I don’t remember well, but I believe he regretted it, because there was nudity beyond my years. 

For older films—some of the animated films that have come out in the past ten years or so are incredible. One of my standout favorites of those is actually Lilo and Stitch for the relationship between Lilo and her sister, but Big Hero Six won a big place in my heart just a few months ago.

And I love black and white romantic movies with great dialogue, such as Bringing Up Baby.

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
I definitely don’t consider writing a hobby. It’s a full-time career, and as I juggle two full-time careers right now, between writing and Duke, and have a small child, I often feel I don’t have any time left for hobbies.

The closest thing might be exercise-related. I used to do a lot of dance (I co-led a semi-professional dance group, in fact) and then triathlons and now weight-lifting. I’m not sure if hobby is quite the right word for any of those, as they’re pretty demanding, but the physical exercise helps me a lot with stress and balance, which is one of my challenges right now.

I do love to travel, though, and travel a lot. And I love food, so one of my hobbies is actually searching out all kinds of new foodie places, particularly chocolate, and trying them. 

Favourite books
It is very hard for me to answer this question. I have so many books that I love. I’m going to just look at my iPad, where my Kindle app is set to organize books by most recent reads, and tell you the last five books I read that I really loved. They’re in all kinds of genres!

1) Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night and Busman’s Holiday. (Strong Poison starts the Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane arc, so a new reader needs to start there, as it’s the whole arc that interests me, but the last two were the best.) I had never read these, and people had recommended them to me frequently, and it’s true—they’re wonderful books.

2) Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm. (A re-read for our course we taught on the Romance Novel at Duke. I love Kinsale’s writing so much.)

3) Sage Blackwood’s Jinx and sequels. This is a middle grade fantasy, and it’s just delightful—the main character, the setting, the author’s use of language. I highly recommend it!

4) Ilona Andrews’ On the Edge. Another re-read, also for our course. Ilona Andrews (or Ilona and Gordon together) write such fantastic stories. I recommend anything they write. 

5) Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight. Also a re-read. I went on a re-reading stint of Terry Pratchett’s books after his death—it just consoled me to know I could always read his books—and so the next ten recommended reads after this would be just more of his books. I Shall Wear Midnight is the last book about Tiffany Aching, one of my favorite characters. (I strongly recommend that everyone read Pratchett’s books about Granny Weatherwax and then go on to Tiffany. The books about the witches are works of wit and art.)

Those are my most recent stand-out reads! What about the rest of you? What are you reading right now? What do you recommend?

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you, Elena, and thanks to all of you for reading! I’d love to learn some of your favorites, too.

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About the author

Laura Florand is the international bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen books, including the Paris Hearts series (All for You) and the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief) where sexy Parisian chocolatiers woo the women they love with what they love best – romance you can taste. Her books have appeared in ten languages, been nominated for RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book of the Year, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and been recommended by USA Today, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal. 

She was born in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman, a story told in her first book Blame It on Paris. Now a lecturer at Duke University, she is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate. For a glimpse behind the scenes of some of that research as well as recommendations for US chocolate, make sure to check out her website:

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Laura Florand's latest release is A Wish Upon Jasmine, book 2 in her La Vie En Roses series. This time we follow the fates of a family of French perfume makers in the Valley of roses/jasmine near Grasse, France. I'm just finishing the book and will review it shortly. 


Ruthless. That was what they said about Damien Rosier. Handsome. Wealthy. Powerful. Merciless. No one messed with his family, because to do so they would have to get through him. No one thought he had a heart. Not even the woman he gave his to.

Cynical. That was what they said about Jasmin Bianchi. A top perfumer of her generation, Jess had achieved commercial success by growing a protective shell over a tender heart. The one time she cracked it open to let Damien in, he crushed it—after a night of unbelievable passion.

Lovers. That one magical night couldn’t survive the harsh light of dawn. When Jess woke up to discover the man in bed beside her had stolen her company, she fled.

Enemies. Now she’s come to the south of France with a threat to his family heritage. If he wants to reclaim both it and the woman who walked away from him, he’s going to have to fight as dirty as only Damien can.

But Jess knows how to fight dirty, too. And these days, she has nothing left to lose.

Certainly not her heart.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iTunesKobo

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