Paul, Dominique 1973-
Paul, Dominique 1973-
Born 1973. Education: University of Maryland, College Park, B.A., 1998.
Home and office—North Hollywood, CA.
Writer, screenwriter, and storyteller. Director of film The Possibility of Fireflies, 2008.
The Possibility of Fireflies (also see below), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.
(And director) The Possibility of Fireflies (screenplay; adapted from her novel), produced 2008.
Though Dominique Paul hoped to be a writer, it was not something she seriously considered as a way to make a living. After completing her novel The Possibility of Fireflies in 2002, the manuscript languished in a drawer until Paul signed on with an agent two years later. "In the two years it took me to find an agent for my book, I met a TV agent who recommended I turn the novel into a screenplay so he could get me work as a screenwriter," Paul explained to YA Fresh Blog. In the same week her novel sold, Paul heard back from a producer who loved her screenplay. By the time the novel was published in 2006, Paul was in the midst of casting and directing her own screenplay version of her story.
The Possibility of Fireflies, a coming-of-age novel set in the 1980s, finds fourteen-year-old Ellie learning that no one can save her from her situation but herself. Ellie and her sister Gwen are pretty much on their own; their mother is irresponsible and their father has left the family. Ellie spends much of her time alone, thinking, and then she meets Leo, a night-owl neighbor who is determined to make it in Hollywood. Leo and Ellie connect, but although Ellie has a huge crush on Leo, he convinces her that to fully grow up must face life on her own terms. According to Kliatt contributor Claire Rosser, Ellie's mother is truly monstrous, and many of the novel's scenes are filled with the woman's hateful actions. Still, the critic added, "in the midst of ugliness are the tiny lights of fireflies, which Ellie sees."
Paul's "sensitively written story … is immediately gripping and emotionally intense," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor in an appraisal of The Possibility of Fireflies. Stephanie Zvirin, in her Booklist review, noted that Ellie has a "strong, distinctive voice—smart and sweet." Throughout the apparently bleak situation, Paul's young heroine "convincingly manages to convey her determination to be happy and find support," concluded Carol A. Edwards in her School Library Journal review.
Asked what advice she would give to aspiring writers, Paul told the YA Fresh Blog interviewer: "I would have to say that when searching for subject matter, it is always best to write what you know. That doesn't mean it has to be factually accurate. Just emotionally true."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Possibility of Fireflies, p. 59.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of The Possibility of Fireflies, p. 1022.
Kliatt, September, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of The Possibility of Fireflies, p. 17.
School Library Journal, November, 2006, Carol A. Edwards, review of The Possibility of Fireflies, p. 145.
Media Bistro Galley Cat,http://www.mediabistro.com/ (October 25, 2007), "From Author to Auteur."
Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (October 22, 2007), "Danielle Paul."
YA Fresh Blog,http://yafresh.blogspot.com/ (February 26, 2007), interview with Paul.