Coming up soon on the Crime Cafe podcast is my interview with crime writer Ann Aptaker.
Along with her guest post, she’s giving away ebook copies of Flesh and Gold to the first five (5) people to message her through her author page on Facebook. Not posting on the page, but messaging her. Got that? 🙂
Having said that, let’s hear from the author!
THE ROOFTOPS OF PARIS
by Ann Aptaker
On the 3rd of March, 2020, I stepped off a plane at Charles DeGaulle airport for a three month stay in Paris. I’d planned this trip for a long time under rather challenging financial circumstances. But I was determined to make it happen by hook-or-crook. It was to be an adventure of a lifetime.
And it was an adventure. But not in the way I’d imagined. What I’d imagined was making my little AirBnB garret in Paris my home base while experiencing the city with my Parisian friends Claudine and Claude, travelling to other parts of France, taking side trips to Florence, Rome, Venice, maybe England, too. I had three months to be free as a bird. No plans other than making time to write amid all the adventuring.
That was the idea when I stepped off that plane on March 3rd. It remained the idea until the dark side of Mother Nature imposed her will with the arrival of Covid-19, and on March 17th, France and eventually much of Europe decreed nationwide quarantines.
A different kind of adventure began.
It was no longer an adventure of travel and exploration; it became an adventure of the mind and soul.
It was no longer an adventure of travel and exploration; it became an adventure of the mind and soul. For the next two months I had nothing but time on my hands and an intimate and romantic view of Paris rooftops out my garret window. It occurred to me that I could live the age old fantasy: writing in a Paris garret.
I wrote from morning ’til night, stopping for a bite to eat or when scenes in my courtyard or on the rooftops caught my eye. I began to see the beauty of Paris in otherwise everyday shapes: a roofline, a shadow, light across a neighbor’s curtain, birds, clouds, rain, night. As a storyteller, these scenes, and the pictures I took and posted on Facebook, became a narrative with as much drama, humor and passion as the book I was writing.
I began to see the beauty of Paris in otherwise everyday shapes: a roofline, a shadow, light across a neighbor’s curtain, birds, clouds, rain, night.
I’d get out of the garret occasionally to buy groceries, do laundry, or take the permitted one kilometer walk in the neighborhood every few days. On these jaunts, masked, with a bottle of hand sanitizer at the ready, I experienced Paris at a level of intimacy few tourists ever will. I was part of the Parisians’ shared crisis and a shared effort to survive that crisis. Everything in the street thus became more beautiful in a city which is already beautiful. Lampposts, subway entrances, curbside benches, revealed themselves as exquisite sculptures.
Everything in the street thus became more beautiful in a city which is already beautiful. Lampposts, subway entrances, curbside benches, revealed themselves as exquisite sculptures.
On May 11th the lockdown was partially lifted and I was able to see more of the city. The cafes, museums, theaters and nightlife remained closed, but Parisians flowed into the streets and retook possession of their city from the cursed disease which tried to steal it. I was part of the flow.
I flew back to New York on May 29th with my next book in my Cantor Gold crime series, Murder And Gold, more than halfway written, photos of my tiny but emotionally potent environment of courtyard and rooftops, and the experience of a creative adventure that often felt like a dream. I’m hoping to go back next spring. The book is finished, the adventure isn’t.
Ann Aptaker’s “Cantor Gold” crime/mystery novels have won Lambda Literary and Goldie Awards. Her short stories have appeared in two editions of the crime anthology Fedora, Switchblade Magazine’s Stiletto Heeled issue, and will be featured in the Mickey Finn crime anthology, releasing in the Fall of 2020 from Down & Out Books. She is one of only six authors invited by Down & Out Books to provide a novella for the second season their crime series, Guns & Tacos, releasing in October 2020, with another short story scheduled to appear in The Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Her flash fiction, A Night In Town, appeared in the online zine Punk Soul Poet, and another flash fiction is featured in the Goldie Award winning anthology Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars. Her next Cantor Gold book, Murder And Gold, will be released in Spring/Summer 2021 from Bywater Books.
Ann’s knowledge of crime, criminals, and criminal investigation results from her work as a report writer for a private investigations firm in San Rafael, California. Her work at the firm introduced her to the motives, methods, and milieus of the perpetrators of crime as well as the motives and methods of crime’s opposite numbers, law enforcement and the courts. This experience brings an authenticity to her stories and her characters.
In addition to her literary work, Ann had a long career as a curator, art writer, and exhibition designer galleries and museums across the country. She now writes full time.