Engaging author, instructor and happiness expert Jamie Cat Callan was inspired by her French grandmother to return to France and discover the secret to joie de vivre - at any age. She shares those secrets in her latest book, Bonjour, Happiness!, which serves up the latest adventures of one woman on a quest to rediscover her ooh la la through all things French and some things not so French. Bonjour, Happiness! will be released on March 29 by Citadel, Kensington.
AMA: You already lead a well-traveled, experiential life. What was the most influential lesson you learned while researching your prior book, French Women Don't Sleep Alone?
JCC: The French taught me how to let go of the sometimes debilitating idea of perfection.
AMA: That's a tough task in a demanding world. What's the secret?
JCC: I've learned the art of the French shrug! Rather than apologizing (something I used to do for a lot - often, for no real reason), I will now lift my shoulders, look heavenward, smile slightly, even mysteriously, and pronounce "c'est la vie!" This tiny gesture has truly changed my life. I believe I am a kinder and more forgiving person - to myself, to my friends, to my family and to the world at large.
AMA: Sounds like a great approach, especially to the writing life, and very French. How do they embrace life in general?
JCC: Things happen. We live. We learn. C'est la vie!
Living, learning and life - not a bad way to embrace Valentine's Day, and the rest of the year.
Jamie Cat Callan is also an expert in drawing out the writer's creative side with The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your Brain.