Children’s book writer Nancy Paris talks as regards her career as a dancer and the encouragement behind Pardon My French, It’s The Language Of Ballet.
Tell me who Nancy Paris are:
My name is Nancy Paris and I am a retired professional ballerina and choreographer. I worshipped the Juilliard School after education in dance studios in my hometown of Massapequa, NY, and in NYC. I have performed all over the world and have choreographed and taught dance in New York, Montreal, Toronto, Stockholm, and Osaka. I have had my own dance company for about 15 years and have produced dance shows that have toured the United States. I am currently producing and co-creating the new musical Radio 930 which we hope to bring to Broadway in Spring 2024.
When did you mainly want to write a book?
Years ago when I was teaching kids, I kept a journal of all the funny things the kids said to me in ballet class. I thought maybe one day I would use this material in a book.
When did you decide to begin writing?
This was during the height of the Coved pandemic — a combination of being confined to a small Manhattan apartment and needing to find some form of creativity to keep me going. I took an online creative entry course and set joy in storytelling. It reminded me to create choreography.
How long did it take for your first book, from idea to publication?
At that time I was encouraged to illustrate the book after completing a group of sketches that I sent to a professional Illustrator as I wanted to give a guide. I not only learned to write but also to draw.
How long did it take thou for your latest book, to from the initial idea to publication?
Seven Summer Situations That Were Not My Fault, the second book in my The Adventures of Lilly Nally series, I started in January 2022. It is currently in development and I plan to release it in October.
Focus on the latest version. What made thou write Pardon My French, It’s The Language Of Ballet?
I wanted to find other ways to express myself. I was always happiest when I was dancing or creating a dance, and as I entered the next phase of my life, writing, and drawing were the only things that brought me closer to rediscovering joy. I also wanted to talk to the kids, whether they were dance students or not. I wanted to encourage her to be curious, optimistic, and kind even in the most difficult of situations.
What were the maximal challenges when composing “Sorry, My French, It’s The Language Of Ballet”?
It is enough to have the confidence to write, to believe that what I write on paper is enough to be published. So I emailed my building’s tenants’ association and asked if anyone would be so kind as to read my manuscript. I wanted to weigh a cross-section of people I knew and didn’t know. The response I received gave me the green light to continue.
Who or what invigorated you to create The Protagonist?
I have very vivid memories of my time as a young dance student, so my 6-year-old self became my hero. The children who were my dance students were great inspiration.
Who or what stimulates you to create The Antagonist?
Lilly’s problems stem from her early development coupled with her very literal language. Therefore, the traditional way of learning dance is sometimes confusing. Lilly is always looking for the “why” behind what she is asked to do. But if someone takes the time to satisfy her curiosity, she’s good to go.
What is the fire incident with “Excuse my French, it’s the language of ballet”?
When the ballet teacher tells Lily that her ballet instincts are right. Then he realizes, “Dancing is AMAZING!
What is the main conflict in Pardon My French, It’s The Language Of Ballet?
Lilly sometimes adds two and two and gets five. But his thesis is that one has five and the other has four. And if he’s wrong… well, he’s six years old.
Did thou plan Pardon My French, It’s The Language Of Ballet, or did you piss off and write freely?
I just wrote freely. The book is essentially autobiographical.
Did thou receive editing assistance and how long did it take to edit “Excuse my French, it’s the language of ballet”?
Yes, especially with proofreading and punctuation. I’m a big fan of commas. Also, my book designer helped me point out things that didn’t make sense to her but made sense to me. I followed his suggestions.
What is the first piece of composing advice thou would give someone that stimulated thou to write a story?
To begin, write down what you know. All the research thou need is within thou.
Can thou say me what other books thou want to write?
I’m already thinking about the third book in the series. Lilly is auditioning for the lead role in a new Broadway show called Little Big Mouth The Musical.
And finally, are thou elated of thine result? It was worth it?
Yes, it was worth it. I am proud to have started and completed this project. But what I liked most was going beyond what I thought was possible.