Belgian Waffle, a then anonymous blog written by an English ex-pat about her life in Brussels, the job she hated, 'lesonfons'; her adored small children, and a menagerie of animals, including tortoises and a morose whippet called 'Weepette'. What became immediately clear was that whoever Belgian Waffling was, she wrote utterly superbly - funny, wry, satirical, often confessional, she could turn three hundred words on house dust into the most beautiful and gripping prose, taking one from laughter to tears and back to laughter again in a single post.
She and I became proper friends in actual non-online life and have been firm friends ever since. Back then, she and I were writing novels - Emma finished hers, ditched it and wrote a brilliant memoir called 'We'll Always Have Paris' (I'm still crunching the gears on the novel I began in 2009... I may finish it one day - I'm in awe of Waffle's productivity as well as her talent.)
We'll Always Have Paris, trying and failing to be French, was published last week and you can still, I think, read the first five chapters on The Pool. I challenge you not to want to buy it the minute you've read the first paragraph.
Anyway, Emma very kindly let me interview her about the book and about writing. I distracted her terribly with a conversation about Emma Bovary, which I've mostly edited out, but you can read it here on my Books That Built Me website. And Emma is joining me for her own Books That Built Me on 21st June. Every ticket comes complete with a copy of We'll Always Have Paris and a glass of Bollinger with which to toast Emma's continued success.
We'll Always Have Paris: Trying and Failing to Be French, Emma Beddington is published by Pan Macmillan, price £12.99