I suppose every book has a story, and even though Paris of London is just starting out, it does have a little bit of history! In January, 2014, my dear friend and co-writer and I decided to write a story together. “Better yet,” we said, “Let’s write a play… or, better yet… a musical!” (This happened over the course of about a minute). “Well, what should it be about?” she said. “Well… I had this idea about a kid named Paris, who lives in London…” I said, “But he could live in New York… I never really decided for sure.” “Paris of London sounds better than Paris of New York,” she said, and in a moment saved Paris from that fate!
We set about writing a musical. I went through an entire notebook, pages of failed lyrics, and two different protagonists before the story came together. In fact, Paris himself changed so much that when I look back at my original ‘Paris’, I laugh and think, That wasn’t Paris. I finished the draft of the libretto (scenes and lyrics) in August, while my co-writer/composer worked on composing melodies for my lyrics. It was then that I sat down to write ‘a history’ of Paris.
Paris is 18 years old in the musical–and we only get a four-day glimpse into his life. There’s a story behind this guy, I thought (with that dangerous writer’s smirk), as I read and reread my favorite scenes. In the scene where Paris has a long talk with Melody, a wealthy, upper-class writer, he tells her that he grew up on the London streets. “How’d you do it?” she asks incredulously. “Rissa,” he says. “Wouldn’t a’ made it ‘cept for my sister.”
With the encouragement of my younger sister Sarah, I sat down to write down a little backstory (all of which I had invented over the course of many months). A bit nervous to begin the first and darkest chapter of my hero’s life, I wrote no introduction and didn’t even use paragraph breaks, for fear it would catch someone’s eye and they would start reading it. I wrote in tiny letters at the top, ‘The True Histories of Paris and His Sister Carissa’, and then I plunged in. I certainly didn’t think it would ever be a book. I didn’t think it would be anything but a little backstory to give to my sister. I sent it to my composer, saying, “Should be titled, ‘More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Paris’!” My first clue that it might be something better was when I talked to her after she read the first eight chapters. “You should get this published,” she said.
Now, that’s what I’m trying to do. Sometimes (or rather, a lot of the time!) I get discouraged and wonder what ‘PoL’, as we call it, has anything going for it. Is it really that unique, and will anyone want to read it? I don’t know. But I do know…
“The only sure way to fail is to never try…”
So I’m going to try, and that’s the best I can do.