Surprise! I've written a book – but not the one that people are expecting. I've actually written... a diet book.
Why, you might wonder, have I done that?
The answer is that when you first move to France – and I'm sure other expats will agree with this – you lose weight, thanks largely to the stress of moving.
And then it starts to creep back on again. Before I knew it, I'd gained ten kilos (1 stone, 8lb).
Last autumn, I decided that something had to be done.
The answer came to me while reading a biography of Marie Antoinette.
The French queen, I discovered, liked sweet things and ate cake (actually a pastry) for breakfast, along with coffee or hot chocolate.
But according to her chief chambermaid, Madame Campan, she ate very lightly in the evening – nothing but a bowl of broth and a piece of chicken.
The more I read about her eating habits, the more it seemed that the queen knew instinctively what science has recently shown: for example, if you’re going to eat cake, the best time of day to do so is early in the day.
I discovered many other things that Marie Antoinette did, and about the 18th-century diet in general, that are very conducive to weight loss – and possibly the real reasons why (most) French women don’t gain weight.
I didn't mean to write a diet book, but the deeper I delved, the more excited I became.
In addition to historical research, I read over fifty scientific papers while writing 'the cake diet' as one reader has called it.
The result is The Marie Antoinette Diet (MAD for short, yes I know!)
It is not your usual diet book. It's written, in part, as a memoir, but served up with a lot of science and sprinkled with some interesting historical snippets.
It explains among other things, the benefits of following a 12-hour night fast and the very unfashionable super-food that can help weight loss if eaten once a week.
It also contains recipes for delicious cakes and soups, including the 18th-century recipe for the broth that Marie Antoinette ate for dinner, which is believed in many cultures to have astonishing health benefits.
I’m not a dietician or a doctor, but because I wanted the diet to be as healthy as possible and safe for others to follow, I consulted someone who is: leading dietician Dr. Mabel Blades.
But does it work? Well, the book explains how I lost ten kilos in ten weeks, eating normally most of the time but following a few simple rules. And yes, I did eat (homemade) cake.
The Marie Antoinette Diet: Eat Cake and Still Lose Weight, is available in e-book format, at an introductory price of £1.98 until 7 July, from www.amazon.co.uk and on www.amazon.com. The print version will be published in January 2014.