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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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The Bridge Club: A Celebration of Friendship

My BFF Patricia Sands just published the re-release of her novel, The Bridge Club. The book celebrates friendship shared with eight women over a half-century… and counting.

The Bridge Club: A Celebration of Friendship

Patricia and I met in Uzès  five years ago at the instigation of our mutual friend, Carolyne Kauser Abbott of Perfectly Provence. I expected a snazzy, chart-busting book star in a fancy limousine for our get-together. What showed up was petite Patricia piling off a crowded bus. We became BFFs instantly, and our friendship has only deepened.

I’m sharing this story about Patricia’s novel, The Bridge Club, for several reasons. For one, Patricia is a dear friend who opened up the adventure of guiding tours for me soon after we met. Her best-selling “Love in Provence” novels provide the roadmap for our “Memories You Promised Yourself” tours of southern France.

Second, I love stories about artists of all types and how they get their inspiration and start. In this post, Patricia shares her journey.

And last, I want to acknowledge the importance of friendship, especially when times are difficult. I am so grateful for my friends from the past and the new ones.

So let’s get on with the interview

How did your career as a novelist begin? What was your inspiration?

Patricia:  The Bridge Club was the beginning of a most unexpected career as an author. My inspiration was the friendship of my real-life bridge club and our stories that spanned four decades at that time. Ten of us were in the group, but it made more sense to have eight women in the fictionalized version of a bridge club.

I began writing the book just to share with our little group. As they and other friends read excerpts, I was encouraged to continue the story.

During that time, I took writing courses and attended writers’ workshops. Women commented that I was writing “their” stories. This was the kind of novel their book club would read.


Women in The Bridge Club were close friends. Did they all approve of your writing about them?

Patricia: Some of the women have known each other since kindergarten! Others met in high school and university and early careers. We all came together as a group in our early twenties. Playing bridge was always a part of our lives together.

I combined different aspects of the women’s personalities in some characters. Every woman is represented in the story, some more authentically than others.

The “real” women of The Bridge Club

The women of my real bridge club are still close friends, and we continue to be in contact. Five of us live close enough and get together when there isn’t a pandemic! Three live in western Canada now. They were incredibly supportive, and all signed waivers allowed me to publish the story.

The fiction is based on fact. Some of the depictions are very true, others not so much.

What message do you want readers to go away with after reading The Bridge Club?

Patricia:  As you know, The Bridge Club story culminates in a somewhat shocking and thought-provoking chapter. In many ways, the act might be considered the ultimate test of friendship.

I hope readers finish the story feeling a sense of understanding how deeply the bonds of friendship can go and appreciating the connections they have with women in their own lives.

One of the most satisfying responses I receive is when a reader writes to tell me she has gifted friends with the book, and it is even better when I hear that friends are reading the book simultaneously and discussing it as they go. These are tremendous rewards for an author, and I am truly grateful.

After the success of The Bridge Club, you switched gears. What motivated you to write about the South of France? 

Patricia:  Readers of The Bridge Club began writing me and asking what other books I had written. Um … well, none at that time. I realized that I loved writing fiction, and soon, I was working on another novel.

From this first experience, I learned I wanted to continue writing about mature women. Since my husband and I were spending extended time in the south of France each summer, I also realized that I wanted to set my next novel in that part of the world.

The publishing world was changing, and my timing was right for entering the world as an indie author. Soon, I discovered the collegial world of authors around the globe as we connected on different social media formats. This led to becoming involved in writers’ groups where we supported, shared information, and helped promote each other’s work.

After self-publishing The Promise of Provence and Promises to Keep, the first two novels of my Love in Provence trilogy, I received the greatest surprise. A senior acquisitions editor from Lake Union Publishing, Amazon’s women’s fiction imprint, contacted me.

They purchased the rights to the trilogy and signed me to a contract. A stand-alone novel, Drawing Lessons, also set in France, was published by Lake Union after the trilogy. I learned that I am not alone in my passion for the south of France.

 Memories You Promised Yourself Tour

The tour of the South of France that Patricia and I share will resume again when the world is safe to travel. I can speak for both of us when I say the tour is unique. It’s all about BFFs sharing our good times with like-minded women who become best friends. The emails, Zoom calls, and social media connections with alumni of our tours and reunions prove our lasting friendship.

Learn more about the tours from our BFF and destination planner, Nancy McGee, @ Absolutely Southern France. 


The Memories Tour “dream team” Deborah, Nancy & Patricia


Details on Patricia’s Publications and Contact Information

Patricia Sands lives two hours north of Toronto, but she can be found part of each year in the South of France. Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club, is a book club favorite. In December 2020, Patricia published The Bridge Club Tenth Anniversary Edition, with revised content and a new Epilogue. Book Title ~ The Bridge Club (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

Here is the Amazon link for The Bridge Club.

The Promise of Provence, which launched Patricia’s three-part Love in Provence series, was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award, an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, and a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance. Book Two, Promises to Keep, and Book Three, I Promise You This. This trilogy was published by Lake Union Publishing. Drawing Lessons, her fifth novel, also set in the south of France, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017, and was a finalist in the Chanticleer Somerset Literary Fiction Awards.

The Villa des Violettes, Patricia’s new 3-volume mini-series,  is now available on Amazon and Kobo, including a new Kindle boxset and paperback Complete Collection.

Patricia contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France and Perfectly Provence. Visit her online at and find all of her links there.



Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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