vendredi 21 octobre 2011

The Perfume Lover, A Personal History of Scent... Yes, my book!



As the press releases are now going out, it’s about time I made the official announcement. My book, The Perfume Lover, will be published by HarperCollins UK on March 15th, 2012. You can already pre-order it on Amazon (click for the link), so even if you don’t live in the UK, it’ll be easily available. 
Meanwhile, because March is still a long time off, here’s an excerpt from the first pages. This is the story that starts it all...

I am in Seville, standing under a bitter orange tree in full bloom in the arms of Román, the black-clad Spanish boy who is not yet my lover. Since sundown, we’ve been watching the religious brotherhoods in their pointed caps and habits thread their way across the old Moorish town in the wake of gilded wood floats bearing statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary. This is the Madrugada, the longest night of Holy Week, and the whole city has poured into the streets: the processions will go on until the dawn sky is streaked with hunting swallows. In the tiny white-washed plaza in front of the church, wafts of lavender cologne rise from the tightly pressed bodies. As altar boys swing their censers, throat-stinging clouds of sizzling resins – humanity’s millennia-old message to the gods – cut through the fatty honeyed smell of the penitents’ beeswax candles.
Under the silver-embroidered velvet of her dais, the Madonna, crystal tears on her cheek, tilts her head towards the spicy white lilies and carnations tumbling from her float. She is being carried into the golden whorls of a baroque chapel, smoothly manoeuvred in and out, in and out, in and out – they say the bearers get erections as they do this – while Román’s hand runs down my black lace shift and up my thigh to tangle with my garter-belt straps. His breath on my neck smells of blond tobacco and the manzanilla wine we’ve been drinking all night – here in Seville, Holy Week is a pagan celebration: resurrection is a foregone conclusion and there is no need to mourn or repent. As the crowd shifts to catch a last sight of the float before the chapel doors shut behind it, the church exhales a cold old-stone gust. I am in the pulsing, molten-gold heart of Seville, thrust into her fragrant flesh, and there is no need for Román to take me to bed at dawn: he’s already given me the night.

73 commentaires:

  1. PROFICIAT!! (Flemish Version)
    Eagerly awaiting the rest!!

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  2. Wow, you had LOTS more fun in Sevilla than I did! I was stuck in a miserable heat wave and had to visit the tomb of the ghastly slaver, Christopher Columbus.... I didn't realize the book was an autobiography, it must have been quite an experience to write it. Looking forward to March!
    -Marla

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  3. Marla, it's only partly autobiographical, though the excerpt I put up is pivotal to the story. And I had so much fun in Seville there's another book in it, which might be the next one.

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  4. Nicolas Olczyk21 octobre 2011 19:28

    Congratulations Denyse,
    We're already waiting for the French version of your book !
    Best,
    Nicolas

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  5. Thanks Nicolas! I know there was interest at the Frankfurt book fair, so I hope a deal will be forthcoming. Of course I'll do the translation.

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  6. Congratulations, Denyse!!! Looking forward to reading it.

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  7. Karin, March seems like forever to me... I'll be posting more news as things go.

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  8. Bravo Denyse ! Je suis content :D !
    Maintenant, on s'attaque à la version française ;)

    A bientôt,
    Jicky

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  9. Jicky, merci! Je crois que des pourparlers sont en cours avec des éditeurs français, comme je l'ai dit plus haut à Nicolas. Mais ça, c'est mon agence qui s'en occupe, thank God!

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  10. Wow. What a great start to your book. Can't wait to read on.
    Spring seems a long way off but it's good for us to have to wait, isn't it? Patience is a virtue still:-)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

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  11. Anna, I'm not programmed for long waits, but writing a book certainly teaches patience!

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  12. I'm just about to dash out, so I'll have to read the extract when I return, but I had to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    And also... what a great cover! You must be so pleased with it.

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  13. Congratulations! I love it! I will certainly be buying a copy! Thanks for the preview - it was a lovely transportation on this cold and stressful day!

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  14. Félicitations Denyse. Ce doit être émouvant de voir son oeuvre achevée et prête pour le public. Et même si "don't judge a book by its cover, c'est une sacrément belle couverture de livre. Quant aux texte, vous nous donnez envie de le lire en anglais.
    Narriman

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  15. Persolaise, thanks! There's one idea of mine that's in the cover design... (I mean, apart from the title and tagline) if you can guess it!

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  16. Jared, this bit not entirely representative of the contents, but as I said above, it's at the core of the interweaving threads.

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  17. Narriman, pour l'instant, tout cela reste très abstrait puisque le livre n'est pas encore imprimé... Il n'en existe que des épreuves non corrigées en "dur". Je ne me rends pas bien compte!

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  18. Congratulations, Denyse! What a thrill it must be to put the cover and the excerpt up here after all your hard work. And of course, after reading the press release over on NST I'm eagerly awaiting your review of that Seville inspired perfume...

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  19. Alyssa, thanks. It's still feeling pretty unreal! I think it'll dawn on me when I actually see piles of books in a brick and mortar bookshoop. As for the perfume, it's way too early to discuss it. All I can say is that it's all I can do to keep from wearing it all the time.

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  20. Congrats! I'll be sure to get a copy.

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  21. Wow, I had no idea it was going to be so steamy. :-) Félicitations ma chère!! L'attente sera longue jusqu'en mars!

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  22. Dusan, I would certainly expect no less of you! ;-)

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  23. Tara, that's as steamy as it gets! The rest is about perfume, I swear.

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  24. Okay, I've now read the extract... and I'd like to read the rest, please.

    As for the cover... is it the bees?

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  25. Persolaise, I hadn't even noticed the little critters! But nope, try again!

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  26. Denyse, I'm so very happy for you and can not wait to get buried into this book when it's launched. Congratulations :)

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  27. Liam, thanks. I think you'll be more likely to rush to your vials and start tinkering on formulas!

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  28. I've been terribly neglectful lately, but the thoughts are always in my head. Should be stricter and apply myself more! I'm sure your book would be inspiring material to use in my tinkering :)

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  29. Liam, I think you'll find a few things to work on, though not actual formulas.

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  30. La Suite, La Suite .....
    Elise
    PS : la Couverture est superbe.

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  31. Congratulations - I will be sure to buy! Fabulous evocation of Sevilla, I remember the orange trees to this day and Semana Santa was unforgettable, even to a heathen like me. Happy memories of a lot of fun!

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  32. this is wonderful news! felicidades!

    xoA

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  33. This is so beautiful! March is indeed too far away. So happy they've done such a lovely cover, too. I'm guessing you suggested the particular flowers, but I can't tell what they are. Looking forward, nozknoz

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  34. OMG! You did it! Isn't that just wonderful. I'm so proud to know you. I don't know how many novels I've started... and then didn't finish them. I have such respect for people who say they'll write a book... and then actually do it!!! What a concept.

    Can't wait to read it.

    I'll buy my own copy... but I'm going to hound my librarian friends until they all buy a copy (or two) for their libraries.

    The best of luck with it!

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  35. YAY YAY YAY yes yes yes I cannot wait to have this...I know it will reflect my strange passion and guilty pleasure in just adoring perfume, from the time I have now been reading you Denise!! Congratulations, a huge accomplishment, something to adore in our esoteric art!

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  36. Okay, I'll take a cue from Nozknoz and say it's the orange blossoms.

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  37. Elise, merci. Je suis ravie de l'écho que rencontre la couverture. Ma grande peur était qu'on me colle un truc girly avec des écritures cursives, mais personne chez HarperCollins n'avait ça en tête, heureusement.

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  38. Sunsetsong, the Semana Santa celebrations in Seville *are* partly heathen, that's what makes them such incredible fun -- they're also intensely moving.

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  39. Nozknoz, in fact, yes, I did suggest the orange blossoms -- the very first design proposal had leaves and flowers that are not used in perfumery though they were pretty. I thought, might as well put in things I talk about in the book.

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  40. Thanks Normand. I've got a couple of unfinished books and a dozen projects in my drawers as well. This was a perfect storm of being sought out by an agent and getting a book contract: there's no better incentive to stick to it!

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  41. Anonymous, this esoteric art is actually a fabulous writing generator (as is proven by the millions of words in blogs and forums). What I love about writing about perfume, is that it allows you to cover so many aspects of the human experience -- history, art, science, love, religion, etc.

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  42. Persolaise, yes in fact I did suggest the orange blossoms, but my main contribution is something else!

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  43. Bravo pour ce travail qu'il me tarde de découvrir!

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  44. Merci Sandrine! Il me tarde également de le faire découvrir... Cinq mois d'attente, c'est une éternité!

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  45. Congratulations! :)

    I was impatient before to read it, but now I am even more so (love the excerpt).
    Well, March isn't that far away... :)

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  46. Congratulations, Denyse! I'm so happy to see this project come to fruition!

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  47. Ines, thank you, you're way more patient than I am! Anyway, the book will come out around the time of my birthday, so at least it'll give me extra reasons to celebrate.

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  48. Jarvis, thanks. Perhaps I'll need a minion again in London! ;-)

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  49. Oh, D! I absolutely clapped with delight!!! I am besides myself, I'm so happy for you!! Roll, on, March!!

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  50. Amy, I knew you'd chime in, and I certainly hope we can celebrate this some day in Paris!

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  51. Well, actually, I'm working very hard on my patience abilities. :)
    I'm not known for having much of it. :D


    P.S. But time, unfortunately, flies by rather fast.

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  52. Ines, tell me about it! I'm an Aries, so patience is just not wired into my hardware. But as you say, time goes by quickly, and I've got a few other projects that should keep me busy enough.

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  53. GalileosDaughter23 octobre 2011 02:05

    Brava! So happy for you! I can't wait to read it! Many many congratulations.

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  54. Oh, congratulations! Lovely, lovely, and the cover is absolutely beautiful. I'm so happy for you, and so looking forward to reading.

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  55. GalileosDaughter, AnotherPerfumeBlog, thank you both!

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  56. Okay, I give up.

    Is it the female figure? If so, I admit I don't see her significance.

    Or do the swirls and patterns echo the decoration on the exterior of Seville's bull ring? (I'm grasping at straws here.)

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  57. Persolaise, it is indeed the female figure, a famous sculpture in the Louvre representing a woman who has a strong symbolic role in relation to perfume... Sorry, I can't help being a tease about it! ;-)

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  58. I've had a mega high carb breakfast (pannetone and hot chocolate) so I'm up for a bit of teasing.

    It's Mary Magdalene, right? Patron saint of perfumers :-)

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  59. There you go! Spot on. The Magdalene, in a 16th century polychrome sculpture attributed to Gregor Erhardt, part of the Louvre collection since 1902.

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  60. Yayy! I'm giving myself a pat on the back.

    Is this a good time to mention that I'm not really very competitive?

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  61. Yay indeed! But don't pat yourself so much you cough up the panettone!
    Previous cover designs featured a little naked lady, so I figured we might as well go for one that is actually mentioned in the book.

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  62. Giovanni-FragranceScout30 octobre 2011 20:36

    I put my order on amazon one minute ago...
    I really appreciate your work on grain de musc and I'm sure the book will be great

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  63. Grazie mille for your vote of confidence, Giovanni!

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  64. This is thrilling! I can't wait to lap up the rest.

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  65. Katie, you'll have a chance to do that as soon as advance copies are sent to the online press, you're totally on the list!

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  66. Congratulations. Denyse. I can't wait to read the book!

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  67. I throroughly enjoyed the book and I will definitely buy the perfume. Bravo!

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  68. Thank you Trish, that makes me very happy!

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