YOU may not have heard of Catherine Sanderson, but you might well know who she is.

Besides being a former Millthorpe school pupil and ex-waitress at Mulberry Hall in York, she is Petite Anglaise', a Parisian-based blogger whose internet diary landed her in a heap of trouble.

For starters, it torpedoed her relationship with her partner, referred to as Mr Frog' in the blog, leaving her to bring up her toddler daughter Tadpole' as a single parent. It also sunk her job as a secretary, after she was fired for allegedly "bringing her company into disrepute" through her internet postings.

Catherine won her case for unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal in Paris - which was a test case - and secured a year's salary as compensation.

But there were bigger winnings to come. The publicity surrounding the tribunal brought publishers banging on her door and a fierce bidding war began for the rights to Petite Anglaise's story.

Catherine, 35, whose parents still live in Poppleton, York, recalls: "It went to auction between several publishers and I went to London to meet them. They really rolled out the red carpet. Penguin even had fish and chips in newspaper for me because they'd read on the blog how much I missed that. It was ten in the morning."

Penguin won the auction, awarding Catherine a £500,000 two-book deal.

It couldn't have come at a better time. Catherine had just left Mr Frog and was in the process of buying her own flat in Paris when she lost her job and ended up on unemployment benefit.

"It was an incredibly stressful time. The sacking was so brutal, I had to fight back."

Although it was her upheaval at work that brought her to the media's attention - and led to her book deal - her sacking, the tribunal and landmark victory don't make it into the book, Petite Anglaise, which comes out next month.

With its illustrated cover in pretty candy colours of a young mum pushing a buggy through a Paris park and the tag line: "In Paris. In Love. In Trouble", it's aiming at the mummy lit' market, although the blog had a wider readership.

"I would get between three to four thousand readers a day," says Catherine. "Men and women, from age 17 to 70, read it. When my story broke we were getting about 40,000 a day and the site went down."

Catherine's blog was a huge success. "It was in the top 5 in England," she says. Which explains why publishers were so keen to get their hands on her. But followers of the blog who are expecting Catherine's first book to be in a similar style, are in for a surprise.

Instead of reprinting the choicest blog entries, Catherine has written an autobiography, charting her childhood, when her love affair with France began, through to her move to Paris on graduating from Bath University.

The heart of the book beats around the demise of her relationship with Mr Frog and her struggle to find love again, while coping with bringing up her daughter alone.

It's highly readable, and disarmingly honest, particularly the sections concerning her love affair with James and her jealousy over his relationship with his daughters and his ex girlfriend.

"I didn't mind portraying myself not in the best light," says Catherine. "I am interested in talking about various things that are a little bit taboo. It is very complicated knitting two families together."

Although the book charts Catherine's search for romance, the real love of her life is Paris. She brings the city vividly to life, in the way that only someone who lives there could. From the long journey to and from work, when she takes the metro across the city to her office and her childminders, to scenes in her favourite bars and cafés, she makes you feel that you are at her side.

"I've fallen in and out of love with Paris," she says. "When my daughter was young, I thought it was a grotty place and longed for a garden. But now that she is older, I have fallen back in love with it again. I can't imagine living anywhere else."

Last year, Catherine met a new man, who she called The Boy' on her blog. "He's only 30," she says. "He is Parisian and has lived here all his life. I proposed to him at New Year and we are getting married in June at a register office in Paris."

She brought her fiancé to York for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and he loved the city.

"He did a history degree, so he was blown away by York," says Catherine. "I took him on the bar walls and to that little church off Goodramgate and to the ruined abbey in Museum Gardens. We even went to the Mulberry Hall tearooms where I used to work every Saturday. It was a little bit of a thrill to buy things off the menu that I used to think were so expensive when I was a waitress."

  • Petite Anglaise (Penquin £12.99) is out on March 6. Catherine will be returning to York in early March, to coincide with her book launch. She will be reading extracts from her book, answering questions, and signing copies at a special event at the Marriot Room, York Central Library, on Tuesday, March 4, at 6pm. Tickets cost £2, which is redeemable against the purchase of the book on the night, and includes wine. Tickets are available from The Little Apple Bookshop, 13 High Petergate, York, telephone: 01904 676103.

Read Catherine's blog at