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An Afternoon with Louise Penny

Last Saturday Dale and I had the privilege of attending an author talk with Louise Penny, the creator of the fabulous Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series. The event was hosted by Titcomb’s Bookshop and the Sandwich Public Library and held at Sandwich High School in a sold out auditorium of 1,000 people.

It was stupendous.

Louise Penny is charming and delightful and very funny.  She described herself as a sloth, loving to lay about and do nothing, which I find to be pretty amazing considering she has now written 14 best selling books set in the idyllic (well, other than those murders that happen) community of Three Pines. She told stories about her childhood and her desire to be a writer because writers create magic, she told stories about her late husband Michael, and she told stories about her real life friends who inspired different characters in the series. It became very clear to me, while listening to her, that Armand Gamache (rhymes with mashed as in potatoes, by the way) is very much modeled after her husband. And the relationship between Armand and Reine-Marie sure seems to be infused with the love that was shared between Louise and Michael.

I think one of the truly beautiful things she said was about Three Pines, commenting on the fact that even though it’s fictional people want to visit it. Louise Penny said that Three Pines is really a state of being and that whenever we are kind to someone instead of cruel, whenever we reach out and make a connection with someone instead of turning away, whenever we act out of friendship and love, we are actually IN Three Pines.

Amazing, right? I was blown away.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. How wonderful to meet the author we all admire so much! I loved the book and would love a chance to meet her. She has made my life better.

  2. Jealous!!! What a treat to go to that event. I had heard previously from others who have met her that she is absolutely charming. So glad you had the chance to go. I love her saying that Three Pines is a State of Mind – that’s perfect.

  3. Lucky you! I’ve only seen one author – James Patterson – a very long time ago. It was a great evening as clearly yours was too!

  4. SO jealous. I just recently discovered this series and am currently reading Kingdom of the Blind. I found her remarks in that book about the loss of her husband and the impact on her writing very touching.

    Wikipedia says one of her first jobs was as a radio broadcaster, making me curious about her voice! How does she sound?

  5. This is so very wonderful! I only read the first two and then kind of dropped out, but I definitely need to return to a series that has been written by such a charming and delightful author.

  6. I saw her speak at the National Book Festival this fall and was impressed, too. Also, she’s the only author I’ve ever seen in my decade plus of attending that event whom I’ve seen get a standing ovation. The moderator said it was a first for her, as well.

  7. OMG!!! I am green with envy. She writes fabulous books, and in the interviews and documentaries I have seen her in, she has been delightful. I am like most of her readers, I want to live in Three Pines, even though I would have to deal with Ruth. My husband dreams about the food that they serve in the bistro – LOL!

  8. I’ve never read any of Louise Penny’s books, but methinks that might change!! Sounds like a wonderful afternoon, Carole!

  9. I’m delighted to hear that Louise Penny is not so different from the characters who live on her pages. And I absolutely LOVED Kingdom of the Blind!

  10. Based on you raving about this series of books, I read the first one, then the second, then … Thank you so much for introducing me to Three Pines. That is so wonderful that you got to hear the author in person!

  11. A Saturday well spent. Louise Penny sounds just lovely and inspirational in person. She is one of my favorite authors. Thank you for sharing how to escape to Three Pines. Now do tell, who is Ruth modeled after?

  12. What an experience to treasure. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some author’s in person and it just makes the books more special. Thank you for sharing

  13. I was at Louise Penny’s event in Sandwich too. I was amazed at the size of the crowd who had come to see her. I could have listened to her for hours. How wonderful it would be to sit across the table from her in a little bistro and just chat. Titcomb’s bookstore is also a gem. One of my favvorites.

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