Paradise, Missouri

paradise mo

See that map?  That’s Paradise, Missouri.

Yep, there’s actually a place called Paradise, Missouri.  It’s in Clay County, in between Kansas City and St Joseph.

I should explain: my new novel is set in a town called Paradise.  And Paradise is (or at least was) also the title of the book.  I’ve been chuckling to myself for the past five years, wondering who would get the joke, when in fact it’s no joke at all.

You couldn’t, as they say, make this stuff up.

For all of the research I’ve done, it honestly never occurred to me that there would actually be a town in this state called Paradise.  It would have been the simplest thing in the world to google “Paradise, MO”, but I never did it.

You live and learn.

Anyway, now I need a new name for my town.  And, of course, I also need a new title for the book.  (There’s also the small matter of Paradise, by Toni Morrison, which I also managed to forget about.)

Any and all suggestions gratefully received.

Comments 8

  1. My grandmother was born near Paradise. Her family moved up to St. Joe, where I was born and raised. Crazy.
    Maybe you can use a French name that can be mutilated by the locals. There is a rich history of that in this state. You know French better than I, but make sure you check. There are a lot of French named towns in MO. For instance, Bois D’arc is pronounced Bo Dark. Or Bellefontaine is pronounced Bell Fountain. And the fun Pomme de Terre is Pum duh Tar. Hopefully that helps.

  2. from the top portion of my head…harmony, plainsong, melody, amity, center city, fictshonia, hedonton, nice town, prettyville, purdy dale, littleville, single city, singerton, love nest, folkton, roly poland, play nice, museville, or… for the real thing see this site…

    http://www.accuracyproject.org/towns.html

    my personal favorite: Yum Yum Tennessee

  3. Post
    Author

    Great ideas – I’d already thought of Harmony, for obvious reasons. Believe it or not, there is a Harmony, Missouri. Foiled again.

  4. Post
    Author

    This is a comment from my friend Chris. For some reason I can’t approve his post, so instead I’m doing a copy and paste job on it:

    “My grandmother was born near Paradise. Her family moved up to St. Joe, where I was born and raised. Crazy. Maybe you can use a French name that can be mutilated by the locals. There is a rich history of that in this state. You know French better than I, but make sure you check. There are a lot of French named towns in MO. For instance, Bois D’arc is pronounced Bo Dark. Or Bellefontaine is pronounced Bell Fountain. And the fun Pomme de Terre is Pum duh Tar. Hopefully that helps.”

    And in response:

    My favorite French mangling is Versailles, Missouri – which, for all our European readers who may not know better, is pronounced “Ver-sales”. Honest.

  5. I thought of Conception Junction, but that’s in Nodaway County, so you can’t use that. At the risk of being too obvious, how about “Eden?” Can’t find a MO town with that name.

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    Author

    Eden. Brilliant. Thank you, Jeanne. I owe you one.

  7. Is there a real Amish community in Paradise , Mo?

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    Author

    I don’t know! It’s a very small town, I know that much. So small, in fact, that it was not on my radar for the first five years that I was writing A GOOD AMERICAN. Once I discovered that there was already a town named Paradise, I changed the name of my town to Beatrice.

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