Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Paris Once Upon a Time: A love story... by Lawrence Robert Rose


Lawrence Robert Rose 

Paris Once Upon a Time: A love story... 

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I'm living the full life of an American ex-pat in Colombia. My papers say advanced degrees in geology and music. Born in New York, I spent most of my working life in San Francisco, from the Summer of Love until I couldn't afford it anymore. I have always been a writer, most usually education writing and ancillaries for the government and assorted corps and NGOs. I am responsible for the Environmental Education Curriculum for the State of California which has spread across the country. I hope that through that work I have retrieved my kara after working as a big-time oilman for a major oil company. We never did get along so I left in two years. Meanwhile, I saw to it that I would visit France and Spain over the course of twenty summers.

What inspired you to author this book?

"Paris Once Upon A Time" started as a travelogue, compiling my adventures in France. In rewrites, I discovered that it was a bland thing without the friends and lovers that made each place shine. I saw that there could be a Contemporary Romance along with a premier novel's penchant for autobiography. And Marisol, the unforgettable, was born out of that. And so was Steven, the failed geologist and musician in counterpoise to her. Then looking for structure I went to my music background. I was a fairly successful local second-tier tenor. My major achievement was founding The Pacific Mozart Ensemble, later nominated for Grammy@, and the Gramercy Park Lieder Quartet, love songs, and more love songs. The structure of "Paris Once Upon A Time" is modeled after "Les Nuits d'Ete" by Berlioz setting the poetry of Theophile Gauthier. This is the least stuffy song cycle there is, loaded with fire and mourning and rapturous love. I hope my novel reflects even a part of that.


Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

The book cover reflects the fire of love, in Paris of course, with the young woman looking straight out at the reader. She, Marisol Pilar de Froissart, is indomitable, she is stunningly beautiful, and she is in control. And Paris takes her to new heights. She is from Lyon, in Paris on business. He is from San Francisco trying to line up concert tours for his chorus... and failing. All is put aside when they are seated across from one another in a Bistrot in the First Arrondissement and choose to spend the afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. And choose to be lovers.


Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

There is a trio of Colombian authors who I have read during my ten years in Colombia. The first is, of course, Gabriel Marquez I admire his style of reportage and I use it in my short stories extensively with a dash of Magical Realism added. My short stories are collected in "The Basics of Rubber". There is best-selling novelist, Jose Vasquez, and especially his "The Sound of Things Falling." This narrative style is what you might find in "Paris Once Upon A Time." Descriptive, conserving time and place, dialogue carrying the weight of the narration. The Third is Jose Eustabio Rivera, poet, and author of "The Vortex," the journey into the hell of the rubber plantations of the Amazon. His poetry-based prose, even in translation, is the most effective manner to reach the emotions, even love. I use his style sparingly in my works.


What were the struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

My life, up to ten years ago, was full of students, more students, their parents, my music, concerts and recordings, and my kids, now grown, travel, living the life reflected in the novel. All of my three books and most of my short stories were written in Medellin, Colombia in retirement. The Spanish for retired is Jubilado! Perfect!

Tell your readers about your book.

"Paris Once Upon A Time" is the story of an average-looking teacher from San Francisco, and a fabulous French heiress, and how they fell in love. A comedian with a bad act once said, "If you buy the joke, you will buy the bit." If you think this can never happen, I can tell you it did. Remember the first novel is autobiographical. If you read the book, you will see the ultimate logic in this happening. And then she invites him to her home in Lyon for a few weeks setting in motion the forces that are trying to destroy her. The attacks begin even at the Part-Dieu TGV station. It will make sense. How? She needs him very badly. Forces are closing in on her from her present and from the past generations of her family which colluded with Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon. Why Stephen? Because he needs her to reconcile his life as a self-perceived failure. And because he sang to her in Luxembourg. She sees his simplicity and his artistic beauty. It was precisely then that she decided that this man would be her lover and could be her savior as well. And watched the children sail their toy boats on the large fountain. Join them in their Michelin Star life through the world of great wine, great food, the yachting world, the equestrian world, and the world of great music. Erica Miner, the author of the Opera Trilogy, called the novel "A Francophile's Dream of France!" Noted feminist and novelist, Barbara Corrado Pope, wrote that "Marisol is Unforgettable." So, join Mari and Steve on their journeys around France, Northern Spain, and San Francisco on their dangerous trip filled with music, poetry, and love-making. And cleansing the world a bit. Reviewers have awarded "Paris Once Upon A Time" a unanimous Five Star Rating.


Who is your target audience, and why?

I wrote the book with musical, romantic, poetic people in mind. And those who love to travel! Francophiles and those who love northern Spain and Northern California will rejoice in accompanying the lovers on their journeys. We follow the trail of the Black Madonnas. We even give a nod to Dan Brown by visiting Rennes-le-Chateau. Carcassonne and le Canal du Midi. There is a full chapter on Rocamador and another on yachting on Alicante. And much more. Meanwhile Steven and Marisol and their gang of fiends set out to destroy what is left of her Fascist uncles and cousins hiding in Aranda del Duero, the heart of Rioja country.


What do you consider your greatest success in life?

Of course, my son and daughter in education. But their successes are 95% their own. I am so proud of them. After that, founding the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, going strong since 1980 and being nominated for Grammy@ and working on recordings in Berlin and at Skywalker Ranch, working with Meredith Monk, Dave Brubeck, Bobby McFerrin and so many more. You will find PME under another name in "Paris Once Upon A Time". The life of a musician in a successful group weaves a strong thread through the novel.


What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

"Paris Once Upon A Time" is almost impossible to pin down as to genre. Closest I have come is Contemporary Romance. But Marisol is so strong that perhaps Woman's Fiction should be mentioned? But I am not a woman. It is travel writing to be sure but the love story is strong and realistic. Autobiography, yes, but Steven and I are not each other. We share parts of our background, but in the foreground, we are very different. I, unlike many writers of Contemporary Fiction, did not start off with a genre beyond travel writing. Then the novel took off and became idiosyncratic but a success according to my readers.


Paris Once Upon a Time: A love story...