Interview & Giveaway Dance for Me by Helena Newbury

Friday, July 5, 2013
Title: Dance for Me
Author: Helena Newbury
Series: Fenbrook Academy #1
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publisher: Foster & Black
Release Date: July 1st

Natasha is one of the most promising dancers at the prestigious Fenbrook Academy for the Performing Arts and she’s just landed a life-changing audition. But no one knows the guilt she carries...or the damage it makes her inflict on herself when she’s alone.
Darrell is a multi-millionaire designer at 25. But past traumas have pushed him into isolation and the intense pressure of his work has brought him to the edge of burnout. Seeking inspiration, he sees Natasha dance and hires her as his muse.
As she dances for him, the two become entwined in a passionate but troubled relationship. He starts to see the pain inside her and helps her gradually lower her defenses...but Darrell has demons of his own. Can two broken people save each other? Or will the darkness they're hiding consume them both?

Tell us a little about the book and where did you get the idea to write this story.

In Dance for Me, a dancer becomes the muse of a multi-millionaire designer, falls in love with him and then has to fight to save their relationship when the couple’s dark pasts threaten to split them apart. The idea came from talking to dancers between rehearsals when I worked as a backstage runner. I saw how hard they worked and how much energy and passion they had to put into every performance—all while studying at their dance college and holding down part time jobs. That gave me the idea for Fenbrook Academy, a performing arts college in New York where dancers, actors and musicians all mix. It just seemed like the perfect place for some college-age romance.

How and when did you get started writing novels?
I did what I think most writers do—I wrote for a long time and didn’t dare show anyone anything. Then last year, I got talking to a few authors who really know their stuff and finally shared a few things. They were of the opinion that I didn’t suck, and encouraged me to pursue it.

What’s the best and worst part of being a writer?
The best part is that the only deadlines and requirements come from yourself – assuming you self-pub. The worst part is that it’s easy to either laze around or thrash yourself until you burn out (depending on your personality) because there are no checks and balances on your workload. That’s where the support of other writers is vital. 

What made you decide to go the self-publishing route? How is it different from traditional publishing?
Things have changed very, very quickly in the last couple of years. When I first started thinking about doing this, very few people were self-pubbing with any success. Now we have people like Karolyn James and Julia Kent tearing up the charts with self-pubbed romances. After talking to them about it, I decided I wanted that level of control over my books, even if it meant I had to do more of the legwork myself.

 What is your writing schedule like?
I aim for six sessions a day, one hour per session, with breaks in between for coffee, hitting the gym, lunch etc. I try not to do more than an hour in my chair at one time without at least a short break—I found out the hard way that six hour marathon sessions aren’t good for your back.

Where do you get your ideas?
Talking to people, and a whole lot of research. For Dance for Me, I immersed myself in ballet as much as I could, and also looked a lot at college life. That’s another good thing about being a writer—you get to learn about all sorts of things you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Write, write, write. And don’t make the mistake I did of hiding your stuff away and not letting anyone see it. Find good partners who’ll give you constructive feedback.

Would you like to see your book turned into a movie?
That would be amazing. There are some scenes in there that I’d love to see on the screen.

Do you have a character in one of your books that continues to haunt you at night or surprised you when you wrote the book?
When I wrote Clarissa (Prada-wearing ballet student) and Neil (Harley-riding hippy), the best friends of the main characters, I was completely unprepared for how much fun they’d be to write, especially when the two are in the same room. I might have to bring them back.

 Is there something about you or your life that readers might be surprised about?
I can’t dance—at all—but since I started working dancer stretches into my gym routine, I’m about two thirds of the way to being able to do the front splits.

Do you write a novel straight through? Or revise as you go? Plan a whole series in advance? Or does the series evolve?
I do a lot of planning first, and I go through the story beats with someone to sanity check them before I start writing. Then I inevitably revise as I write. Fenbrook Academy has room for future books if people like Dance for Me.

Do you use Beta readers?
Yes. Beta readers are incredibly useful if you can find good ones who give sensible feedback, and I was very lucky. All of mine were able to give me nudges in the right direction.

What’s next?
I’d love to do another Fenbrook book, if people like this one

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I’m a New Adult Romance author who loves writing about what happens when love and dreams collide with the real world. I wrote my first novel, Dance for Me, in daily chunks in a very busy, very noisy coffee shop, which meant I had to order a black Americano every hour, on the hour, to keep my seat and wound up wired on caffeine most days. Unlike some of my characters, I can’t dance.

Places to find Helena


Places to find Dance for Me

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Author MaryLynn Bast said...

Sounds Interesting. Look forward to reading.

Anna@herding cats said...

Love that she got the idea from her job. How neat! Sounds like a great read. I can't remember reading one on a dancer before. Hmmm. Thanks for the interview ladies!

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