Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Writing Swiss Chocolate

A View of the Mediterranean from the Bluffs of Ibiza
I wrote Swiss Chocolate out of utter despair off the top of my head for nine months solid. At the end of it I was left with 600 pages of pain and anguish. I was undiagnosed bipolar at the time, and was in the midst of some of the wildest mood swings I had ever experienced, so the amount of passion that went into my writing was phenomenal. If it weren’t for that book I may have done something serious to hurt myself, or at the very least landed in the hospital.

The inspiration for the story came from a young Italian girl I had a crush on when I was a teenager in a Swiss boarding school. As the years went by, every so often I would thumb through my yearbook, stop at her picture and sigh. Although we were never really friends, my last year at school I signed her yearbook for her. I wrote: “It’s a shame we never got to know each other better, but I wish you the best of luck in life.”

Thirty years later the impossible happened. She contacted me through We exchanged emails on a regular basis, and then it became occasional phone calls. After several months of correspondence I decided to fly to Ibiza to meet her where she lived with her four children and three au-pairs. As it turned out she was a very wealthy woman who had built her fortune on her own.

Although we both had aged quite a bit, she was still stunning and she took my breath away when she greeted me at the airport. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her, and after telling me her life story, I realized we had a lot in common. I thought I truly had found my soul-mate, but as it turned out she was in love with another man who wanted nothing to do with her. Still, no matter how much I pleased her, and all the wonderful times we had together, she could not purge him from her heart, and she ended up breaking mine.

I gave up everything for this woman: my job, my house, my family and career, and went back to the U.S. a broken man. Out of the ashes of such a tragic ending I weaved her life story with mine into a love story that spans nearly thirty years, and takes place in several different countries, all of which I have lived in for extended periods of time.

What makes this story so unique is that it is about two young people who come from great wealth, and what happens to them when all they expect out of life is swept out from under them, leaving them with an undying longing for all that was lost, and what they will do to regain what they once had and expected out of life.

Her story is true, and so is mine, but this is a fictionalized memoir. The merging of our tragic fates is what makes this story so heart-wrenching and powerful. I hope you enjoy the book.

You can buy the book directly from

All my love,

James M. Weil


  1. Your book was wonderful, James!

  2. Thanks so much, guys. Your support means a lot. The book is getting good reviews, but it is not for everyone. Isn't that the way it is for any kind of artistic endeavor?

    Love you!