Mystery writer Cara Black will take two groups to Paris this fall for Politics & Prose Bookstore. (Photo credit Laura Skayhan) Mystery writer Cara Black will take two groups to Paris in the fall for Politics & Prose Bookstore. (Photo credit Laura Skayhan)

Cara Black, author of the popular Aimée Leduc mysteries, knows her work isn’t done when she turns in a manuscript. Her publicist describes her as “the hardest-working author I’ve ever seen.” She once signed 14,000 copies of a new novel. And then sheepishly confessed that she had a problem with her wrist.

In the world of tireless touring and manic tweeting, most authors know they’ve got to take an active role in connecting with their readers.

But how about taking them to Paris?

In October, Black will escort a group of her fans to the City of Lights for a vacation experience arranged by Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington. P&P has sponsored trips before, but this will be the store’s first trip with an author. A few weeks ago, when the “Parisian Experience” was announced, the response was so enthusiastic that all the available spots — $3,950 a piece — sold out quicker than Aimée Leduc can solve a murder.

But now there’s hope for one more fan. . . .

(Courtesy of Soho Press) (Courtesy of Soho Press)

In celebration of her upcoming mystery, “Murder on the Champ de Mars,” Soho Press has announced a raffle to give away a free spot on the upcoming Politics & Prose trip. (Details here.)

For Black, who took a similar group to France two years ago, these adventures are a fun and creative way to get to know her readers.

“I love that people want to travel with me to Aimée’s Paris,” she said. “They want to go down the cobbled backstreets, see where Aimée lives on Ile Saint-Louis, visit her haunts and follow in her steps on an investigation.”

Touring museums and enjoying French food sounds like a dream, but Black will be thinking about her next novel, too. “When I’m in Paris, I’m always working,” she said. “Everything is fodder: finding a route that Aimée would take, a place to put a body (that’s always crucial), going to the archives and historical libraries, finding a turn-of-the-century Paris phone book at the flea market and lugging it back on the Metro, chatting to the bus driver when I get lost.”

Black still sounds a little amazed that readers want to visit the haunts of her characters. On one of her earlier trips to Paris, she remembers searching out the office of Georges Simenon’s famous Inspector Maigret. “I only wish Georges Simenon had been there to have a coffee with,” she said.

If you don’t win the raffle, don’t despair. Politics & Prose tells me they’re already planning a second trip to Paris with Cara Black in November. (But, of course, you’ll have to pay your own way.)

Good luck!