Monday, May 30, 2011

One Year Later - Paris & The French Open

Those who follow my rants on Twitter know that last week I was on a business trip in Paris.

Couple of cool things about that:
(1) It turns out that exactly one year ago I was also in Paris. So this was an anniversary of sorts.
(2) It was on that trip where the idea for my novel, Aces, bubbled up to the surface

This trip gave me an opportunity to snap pictures of the "things" that inspired the opening chapters of Aces.

I am elated that my third most popular post on this blog is the chapter 1 excerpt of Aces. So, I thought I'd share what I "saw" with you.

As I've mentioned many times before, Aces was born in Paris, at the Pullman Hotel.

It so happened that the French Open had just started... French Open? No, that's not like a swap meet or an open house. That's one of four major tennis tournaments (grand slams) that happens during the year. Both last year and again this year, many of the pro athletes stayed at the Pullman.

While on the elevator, headed to the 23rd floor, I met Dominika Cubilkova.
It went something like this:
     Me: "Hi"
     Her: "Hello"
     Me: "Good luck today"
     Her: "Thank you"

Okay, it wasn't that pitiful, but it was not more exciting than that either. She did win that day, so I'd like to lay claim to her winnings for that day. Anyway, we were both headed for breakfast at the hotel's Le Montgolfier.

While I ate breakfast I saw a young guy staring at her like a love-starved pup. I wondered what he did? Was he a tennis player also? Maybe he was a young executive... or maybe he was there with his mom and dad :)

As I ate breakfast my writer's mind started to work quickly... by the way, the prosciutto ham, sharp cheese, fresh baguettes and everything else is to die for! As are the single serving Nutella packs... (excuse me while I clean my salivating mouth)

As I watched him, I thought, what if two people from very different, yet challenging worlds, fell for each other? What if all they wanted was happiness? And what if they had to choose between personal happiness and professional success?

In the opening chapter there is a scene with the individual thermos containers of coffee... this is what they look like. They are boiling hot!

The waitress that carried them had this determined look on her face. Dominika's huge tennis racket bag lay on the floor, but the waitress maneuvered around it with grace. So I thought, what if she hadn't?

You can see from these images that the view of central Paris is really pretty from up there.

I went to the office and all day this idea brewed. Thoughts of an opening scene populated my jet-lagged head. That night, when I returned to the hotel, I went to the bar. It has a very creative name... "Le Bar"

I melted into those plush seats. I sat with my iPad and started thinking, drawing, mind-mapping. I thought this bar deserved a scene or two as well.

That was one year ago.

Until then, I had not been able to finish a novel-length story before. There had not been enough for me to want to continue writing more. I lost interest and gas. But not with this one. I wanted to know what would happen to these two.

You never know when inspiration may strike. But when it does, we need to be in a position to jump all over it and bring it to life. Everything has the potential to evolve into a story. It's our job to find the story that lives in everyone we meet.

Fight the good fight.


  1. Very nice post! I think it's great that you got to go back to your source of inspiration. That must have been pretty amazing. :)

    Nice pictures and after all those Paris-induced tweets (which I absolutely do remember) it's good to see you enjoyed yourself as well.

    Also, I give you kudos for being brave enough to say something to Dominika. I probably would have stood there quietly, wishing I had the courage to say something. Ah well. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your inspiration. It's amazing where ideas strike. Love the photos. =)

  3. Thank you both! I figured since you guys heard all my complaints last week, I should share some of the joy as well :)

    I hope to go to London soon so that I can snap some pictures of what inspires in Part III of Aces. Part II is in Malibu so maybe I can do that some day soon.

  4. Wow! How cool to see where it all began! Now that I've read the first few chapters, it's much more vivid! That Nutella package is awesome. They should sell those here. :D Thank you for sharing this story, Ara!

  5. Yey, Kathryn. And you just read the first 5 chapters making this near-real-time! Thanks for being part of the ride :) and if I find them Nutella packs in the US, I'll blog/tweet/facebook them to no end!!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...