I’ve been so excited to share this story with you, friends!
It took me a while to put this post together because all my writing time has been devoted to finishing my next book, EVERY LAST WORD (which I’m incredibly excited about, so time for brief and not-at-all-subtle plug: Please add EVERY LAST WORD to your Goodreads TBR list! If you loved Anna and Bennett, just wait until you meet Sam and A.J.!)
Now… back to our regularly scheduled post.
Who wants to hear about this?
It’s a fun story.
You may have heard this recent news: A portion of the railing on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris collapsed under the weight of all the “love locks” that have appeared over the years (luckily, no one was hurt).
It’s not that surprising. I’ve seen this bridge and the sheer number of locks is an incredible, mind-blowing sight.
As soon as the news hit, I started getting messages from readers, asking if I’d heard what happened. If you haven’t read Time After Time, you might be questioning why I would have anything to do with news about the bridge’s collapse. But if you have read the final book in the Time Between Us series, you’d know immediately.
See, Anna and Bennett may have started “the whole lock thing…”
This is one of the many reasons I love writing time travel stories. No one knows who hung the first lock on Pont des Arts, so Anna and Bennett get to travel back to 1995 start the trend.
I love my job.
In Time Between Us, I set up the idea that Bennett would eventually take Anna to Paris, so I knew it would be one of their destinations in the sequel, Time After Time.
It had to be. Because I love Paris. It’s so romantic. And if your significant other was a time traveler who could hold your hands and immediately transport you anywhere in the world, wouldn’t Paris be at or near the top of your list? It was always at the top of Anna’s.
While I was writing the first draft of Time After Time, a friend of mine told me about the “Locks of Love Bridge” (read the full story here) and I got hooked on the idea of the two of them visiting this spot. I started researching and discovered that there are quite a few lock bridges around Paris.
Pont des Arts was the original one, but I wasn’t sure it was the one for Anna and Bennett until I learned about its connection to the French film, Amélie.
I’ve always loved this movie, but I didn’t remember that Amélie is on the Pont des Arts when she makes the decision to start changing people’s lives for the better.
It seemed like a sign. In Time Between Us, Bennett starts out sticking to his code: He’s an observer. He doesn’t interfere. When he travels to the past, he’s careful not to change things. But in Time After Time, he begins to question this. He starts experimenting, going back in time to alter a few small moments in the lives of seven total strangers. Each one has dramatic results.
I love to write when I travel. I wrote major portions of Time Between Us in little cafés in Amsterdam, Bruges, and London (and on trains between those cities), but I wrote all of Time After Time at a desk in my office.
Until the very end.
When the book was nearly complete, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Paris chapters were missing something. I hadn’t been to Paris in years, and Google Maps and photos weren’t doing the trick.
I had a trip to Paris planned, but it was after my final deadline. I asked my editor if I could have a little more time to refine those important Paris scenes, and I was delighted when she agreed.
Now that was magical. I got to write in Paris (a dream come true), and I got to see that incredible city through Anna’s and Bennett’s eyes.
Where Anna & Bennett first arrive…
Time After Time, Chapter 15
Anna’s view when she turns around and looks over the shrubs. You’ll have to pretend it’s nighttime and the Eiffel Tower is all lit up.
Anna was terrified when Bennett left her on the second deck of the Eiffel Tower. But he needed to go to the gift shop for one of these…
I was able to walk through my scenes and answer some burning questions. Like this one: Can you walk along the banks of the River Seine to Pont des Arts? Is there a staircase that leads up to street level? I’d written it that way, but couldn’t I be sure.
Now I know. Yes, you can!
Just doing some fact checking on the banks of the Seine River, en route to Pont des Arts.
AT PONT DES ARTS
I spent hours on this bridge, reading the locks, taking photographs, and thinking about all the people who kissed a padlock key and threw it into the River Seine.
And it took me forever, but I finally found the lock Anna and Bennett left there in 1995:
Anna & Bennett have a real love lock on the Pont des Arts.
Can you find it? Look in the lower left for the red combination lock. Anna & Bennett’s lock is to the right.
Can you find it now?
Okay, and get this. I’m not usually in the habit of taking photos of complete strangers without their knowledge or permission, but as we were leaving Pont des Arts, I spotted this girl across the street, window shopping.
Hello, Anna hair.
Le Temps Contre Nous — the French edition of Time Between Us — released in Paris the week we were there, so I stopped by this cute little bookshop to say bonjour!
Bonjour, Le Temps Contre Nous!
But the best part: Getting this reaction from my editor when I got home and submitted the final draft of Time After Time…
Happy editor = Happy readers? I hope so!
… because if I’m making her happy, I’m probably going to make readers happy, too! And happy readers make my world go ’round.
And as far as I can tell, the section of Pont des Arts that fell was on the opposite side of the bridge, so Bennett & Anna’s love lock is safe. Phew!
In honor of that lovely lock bridge and the story that brought me to Paris, I’m giving away a very special edition of Time After Time.
- An annotated “Paris Edition” of Time After Time, including handwritten notes in the margins about the Paris scenes (and some of my other favorites)
- Notes and photos about real locations that inspired some of the settings, like Bennett’s school in San Francisco and his rock climbing locations.
- Postcards from Paris!
- Postcards from a few other Time After Time destinations, placed in key spots throughout the book.
- A Paris journal
- Paris notecards
What do you think — do you want this one-of-a-kind edition for your bookshelf?
- A hardbound copy of Time Between Us
- A Paris journal
- Paris notecards
ENTER TO WIN HERE:
If you could hang a lock on the Pont des Arts in Paris — declaring your love for anyone or anything — what would YOU write? Leave your mark in the comments.