About the Book
Title: A Season to Dance
Author: Patricia Beal
Publisher: Bling! Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience. Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.
About the Author
Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Caroloa, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.
Thank you so much for having me here! I love this tour and have been looking forward to this stop. ?
You asked me about the process and the research that went into my debut novel, so here it goes…
The research for this novel was easy because I’ve been to all the places the novel goes, and I’ve danced ballet for almost forty years now (my whole life).
The Huntington’s Disease piece required some work, but I was blessed with a wonderful friend who carries the Huntington’s gene and whose mom is already symptomatic. She is amazing and brave and helped me a great deal. She validated my research, shared stories, served as a sensitivity reader, and then joined the launch team.
Now the process—the process was hard.
Writing a novel was an old dream. It first crossed my mind in 1987 when I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Paulo’s early novels grabbed me by the heart and didn’t let go. They changed my life.
I wanted to do that to people, but for years I didn’t have a good idea.
Then in January of 2011, on I-40 (somewhere between Nashville and Winston-Salem), I had an idea that wouldn’t let go of me. A young woman, a ballerina, stuck on top of a wall for behaving badly.
Then came the questions: Who put her there? What exactly did she do? Why did she do it? Where did he go? Is he coming back?
I wrote a chapter every Saturday and finished the first draft before the end of the year. Then I hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.
She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent almost a year rewriting.
In the summer of 2012 I started querying. Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.
Up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” out there and that being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty kitchen (husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died), glared at an inbox full of rejections, and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”
Yes, I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—the One I eventually met—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. I now know that He was in that kitchen with me, and that He was about to show me I was wrong.
My newfound lack of restraint and selfishness didn’t make me happy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…
But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life.
There was one open door. When God planted our family in the El Paso desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.
I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.
I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “A Season to Dance is a salvation story without the salvation piece.”
The novel isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.
Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the whole thing. Five ladies from my Sunday school class read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support.
Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes. I was ready to do it right. The novel was ready. It was time.
I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. Then in early 2016, I signed with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
I’m so thrilled that after thirty years of dreaming, learning, rejections, and rewrites, A Season to Dance is finally here ?
Here are some photos of this crazy journey to publication. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for spending time with my words! I love you all. I’m putting together a prayer list for the Christmas break. Shoot me a note if you want to be on it. I would love to pray for you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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