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Author Julia Boggio shares the charms of PARIS

4th March 2024

Author Julia Boggio shares the charms of PARIS.

Camera Shy by Julia Boggio

When I was 19 and backpacking in Paris, I had the Frenchest of French experiences. My friends and I were sitting on steps that led up to Montmartre. Not the big ones in front of the Sacre Coeur, but a slim set around the back. We had just been to a market to buy some food and were eating on the stairs. As we sat there, a man walked up the steps carrying a bag with a baguette sticking out of it. I remember him clearly: he wore a light grey t-shirt and jeans and looked a bit like Dominic West.

Anyway, as be passed by me, he leaned down and kissed me on the cheek, proclaimed something in French, and continued up the stairs. Some people may read this and think it was assault, but it was actually a very funny moment. I mean, to be randomly pecked by a hot Frenchman carrying a baguette? Ooh la la. What a meet cute that would be. Of course, I never saw him again.

I’ve always remembered that experience. For me, it reinforced Paris’s claim to the title of The City of Love, so when I was writing my third book, Camera Shy, it seemed like the perfect place to send my broken-hearted heroine to have some random experiences.

The story is about Jess, who was supposed be in Paris getting engaged. Instead, she’s there by herself, licking her wounds and wondering if her ex broke up with her because he thinks she’s too boring. With that in mind, she embarks on an adventure by saying YES to life. And when she meets the grumpy, but handsome Gabriel, she decides to say yes to him, too.

In Camera Shy, we visit Montmartre (of course), where my heroine is staying in a bijou rental flat instead of the lofty Hotel George V.

“If coming to Paris alone was her first spontaneous act, then turning around and leaving the Hotel George V had been her second. That place and its people were not her vibe. Krish was the one who liked expensive hotels and fancy restaurants; she had simpler tastes. Jess pulled out her phone, downloaded a flat rental app, and found a place that was more her style.”

From there, Gabriel, who is an aerial photographer, invites her on a helicopter ride with him over Paris. She visits the heliport, located to the south of the city, and has a magical experience over Versailles at sundown, despite being petrified of flying.

“How lucky was she to be seeing Versailles from this angle, high above the earth, high above the people in the gardens? That building down there had overseen hundreds of years of history, witnessed millions of people, each with their own worries, concerns, hopes and dreams. Like a switch flipping, Jess knew that she would survive. Krish had left her. So what? In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter. Jess would go on. Life would go on.”

And it wouldn’t be a Paris romance without a quick trip to a chateau in the Loire.

“In front of her loomed a magnificent grey house. She counted three floors behind a round turret with a conical hat at the top. A petite Cinderella staircase hugged the turret on both sides, each leading up to an entrance. Her jaw dropped open. ‘I thought you said it was small. This is a chateau.’”

Reviewers have said the book is “similar to Emily in Paris, but better.” I’m very happy with that comparison (even though apparently Parisians really hate the show).

Even though I’ve been visiting Paris since I was a child and have been there many times, it’s interesting what little details you can get wrong as an author. I had a fellow writer who lives in Paris read the book for accuracy. She didn’t pull me up on much, but this one thing made me laugh: the story starts with Jess drowning her sorrows in wine at a bistro with outdoor tables. I wrote that the waiter was sweeping the cobblestones, because of course the word cobblestones is tactile and evocative and gives a clear picture. But no! My friend pointed out that outdoor tables are set out on regular old pavement, not cobblestones, because they are too bumpy. So there went that romantic idea; however, accuracy is important so I changed it.

If you’re looking for a spicy romance novel that has Emily in Paris vibes and serves themes that are deeper than a regular romance novel, Camera Shy is the book for you.

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Julia Boggio Bio

Julia Boggio is a multi-award winning photographer who now writes romances set in the world of professional photography. Her first book, Shooters, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Selfies Awards 2024. Julia became an original YouTube star when her first dance sparked a worldwide trend in choreographed first dances. She’s appeared on Richard & Judy; Sky, ITV and BBC news — and The Oprah Winfrey Show where she famously danced with Patrick Swayze. Julia is also the host of the popular book podcast, Two Lit Chicks, starting its sixth season in April.

Follow Julia on Instagram or join her Facebook Book Club.

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