I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Thanks, Erynn Newman for the shout out. If you haven’t read about her next big thing, please hesitate not.
And without further ado…
What is the working title of your book?
Afraid to Dance
Where did the idea come from for the book?
As a peer-counselor at one of CareNet’s Pregnancy Resource Centers, as a teacher, and as a friend to hurting people, I’ve listened to entirely too many high school and college students sing a reminiscent refrain. Young people who’ve grown up in church are not immune to falling for less than stellar love and making poor choices. It’s hard to come back from that. But it’s not impossible.
And I imagine most of them would welcome a hand up.
I hummed my own version of this sad song once upon a time . . . though Afraid to Dance is undoubtedly a work of fiction. The best part was getting to know my characters—they made the story their own.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Okay this is my favorite question.
- Kasia Bernolak would be played by: Emma Stone
- Joel “Zan” Alexander: Paul Wesley
- Blake Hamilton: Chace Crawford
- And Aryk Bernolak (Kasia's dad), the strong Polish pastor would have to be my favorite on-screen protector, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. . . er . . . Mark Harmon.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After a slew of reckless choices, a pastor’s daughter finds courage to end an unhealthy engagement— but too late realizes she’s in danger. Her fiancé doesn’t intend to let go.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Once all our little people are healthy and the house is good and free of flu nastiness, I’ll be querying an agent. Exciting and daunting at once, that. But I’m so ready.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took just under one year…but the book hardly resembles its former self. I’ve probably spent more time rewriting than revising.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Now this is a daunting question. Dare I, the unpublished take a stab at comparing my book with the likes of Susan May Warren and Jenny B. Jones? I guess so.
I think the heroine desperate to conceal her past—for the sake of her family—is similar to Susie’s You Don’t Know Me. Both women realize that burying the secret eats away at them. Bringing an awful mistake into the light is never easy, but the Light is where we can find forgiveness, right?
And Jenny’s There You’ll Find Me doesn’t deal with abuse or rape, but the novels have a similar tone. Both are full of great dialogue and packed with emotional punch. Both books feature a young woman who boards a plane, hoping to find peace and to rekindle her musical creativity. And both books have an irresistible and hunky guy willing to be a hero. (At least Zan and Beckett think they’re irresistible.) But hey, the guys are up to a challenge—and they could use a dose of humility.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve had this story in my heart for ages, but I think the crazy phenomenon that is Twilight made me take the leap. Young women long for a real hero, but a chiseled jaw line and mysterious smile can’t fix everything, no matter how desperately we count on them to help us forget our troubles. (And, I thought, Shoot. I can totally do this.)
Originally, I wrote Afraid to Dance as a women’s fiction piece…the story of a young woman’s journey from brokenness to redemption and wholeness. I realized, though—last year at a writer’s conference, thanks to Susie May Warren and Caleb Breakey—the story is supposed to be a romance. The audience that moves me to write—those young women who are settling for dangerous, dignity-draining relationships—these girls aren’t going to pick up a book about healing from an abusive relationship. Most of them don’t even realize they’re dancing so close to the edge of the floor.
They ache to be wooed properly. They crave genuine love. They know they’re missing something, but don’t know how to get it. Or where things went so terribly wrong for them.
I resisted writing a romance, because I never want to be the spokesperson for “the right guy can change everything.” But this story is for anyone who feels unworthy of love-as-it-was-designed-to-be.
And a romance it is—the truest kind.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
For fans of music, Kasia is a singer/songwriter, and she’s working on a song throughout the story (written by Jeff Bourque). I’ve also got a playlist that goes with the novel. You can subscribe to it on Spotify (which I’m crazy about).