A few years ago in the Medieval walled city of Carcassonne, I found a wonderful cookie shop La Cure Gourmande with beautiful decorations of yesteryear.
It was a bit of magic.
Never did I go to the city without stopping there, and anyone visiting that city I told them to go there.
I've been writing Murder in Schwyz which involved a cookie factory. I love the research I do for my novels, which is usually historic, but I had no idea how to portray a modern cookie factory.
Then I found a store in the train station at Montpellier. I'd route myself through there just to buy the cookies.The clerk at Montpellier told me the headquarters were in nearby Sete and they give tours in the summer. I hope to have finished the novel by then, but harm would it to do to ask for a private tour? I wrote.
M. Berlan wrote back and set up a date. Apr. 24. Rick and I drove up leaving Argelès about 7 for a 9:30 for meeting.
M. Berlan arrived a few minutes after we did. He is not just the PR person, but the creator of this enterprise that went from a shop in the town to stores, some franchises, all over the world. The main store is now in the old train station and also has the same magic as the one in Carcassonne. Every detail to the molding on the ceiling to the border on the plasma screen taking away the too-modern feel is brilliant.
The next hour was great for my novel as his talented staff showed me how the cookies are made. I picked up tons of little details to sprinkle through the novel--slippery blue slippers to keep dirt out, cookies in revolving ovens, quality control methods, shipping methods, interchangeable molds weighing hundreds of kilos. Because my novel has happy employees based on the way the factory is set up, I was thrilled to see my imagination in reality here.
What a sense of marketing! The little girl on many of the boxes is his daughter.
Rick will be doing a blog on this. http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/ He filmed the tour and equipment so I will be accurate in the novel but I love the pictures he took.
Sometimes magic is destroyed when we know how it is done. In this case, the magic became better.