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A Conversation with Grier Cooper, Author of WISH (and a giveaway!)

This cover is gorgeous!

 

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Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Grier!

Thanks for having me; I really appreciate it:)

What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I’ve been a dancer since I was five, although my relationship with dance has evolved over time. When I was young, dance was something I did for fun. Later it became my profession (I danced with San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest ballet and Miami City Ballet) and now I look at it as a sanctuary, a home, a place to move beyond my small self and connect to something bigger. The things I’ve learned as a dancer – discipline, dedication and persistence– still serve me now. Without this foundation I couldn’t do what I do. Writing is self-paced and self-driven. No one is telling me what to do or looking over my shoulder to make sure it gets done.
  2. I moved to Manhattan and left my family behind when I was fourteen to attend the School of American Ballet. Not only did my parents allow this to happen, I’m still alive to tell the tale.
  3. I’m such a sap I cry at phone commercials–it’s become a running joke in my family.
  4. I love what I do and I strive to do my best.
  5. I’m a huge romantic; I always believed in the kind of love I dreamed about although I didn’t find it until my 40s. It’s rekindled my belief in the power of positive thought.

But…everybody cries at phone commercials! Don’t they? 😉

 

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Indigo is our heroine, a dancer who’s striving to live her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer despite all the obstacles life throws at her. She’s stronger than she realizes and cares very deeply about the people in her life. She’d need music that speaks to her heart if she ended up stranded…dance is what makes her happy.

Jesse is a boy that is hard for Indigo to ignore…he’s got dimples, for one thing, and then there are those green eyes. Jesse goes for what he wants without worrying about the consequences. He’d be happy on a desert isle if it had epic sunsets and good company to share it with.

Monique is Indigo’s closest friend; she’s sassy and sure of herself (in ways Indigo wishes she could be), but she’s also impulsive. She’s a natural performer who gravitates toward theater arts…she’d die without coffee.

Becky is a newer friend to Indigo but has gone through similar family issues. She’s a creative, nurturing person who would be lost on a desert isle if she didn’t have her crafting supplies and her friends.

Hopefully there will be a solar power generator on this desert island—to power the coffeemaker and crafting…it’d be a shame otherwise, with all that sunshine…

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

The two main themes of the book were inspired by personal experience. Dance has been one of the few constants in my life and has shaped who I am in the world today. Most people don’t get to encounter the world of professional ballet firsthand and I wanted to give readers an insider’s perspective.

I also feel strongly about the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family. I know the longterm implications from personal experience: my mother was an alcoholic. You learn to distrust your instincts and feelings, to play small, and to stay quiet when you know you should speak up.

Young adulthood is a time of huge transition and change even when there are healthy family dynamics. It’s a time to find your voice, to clarify who you are and who you want to be in the future. It’s not an easy road to navigate. I wrote WISH to give readers hope, to show them a path to self-empowerment, and to help them understand they can create change in their lives.

Wow—what a wonderful source of inspiration! I like that you can turn a less-than-positive experience into something better that will help others.

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I was one of those kids who kept a diary with a lock (necessary when you grow up with three younger brothers, trust me) and often had my nose in a book when I had free time. Something about words always inspired me, the ways they could be put together to describe things and offer insight or take you to other worlds.

After I stopped dancing professionally I took some writing classes in college and started playing around with poetry and short stories. I kept writing throughout the years but once I became a mom I started to think more about writing for kids. Eventually I began to transition into freelance writing and educating myself about the craft and business of children’s books. Learning to be a writer has definitely been a process; luckily it’s a process I enjoy. I’m still learning now; there’s always something I can improve. There’s nothing better than discovering books that speak to you  through compelling, page-turning stories and superior writing. In my mind these books are pure magic and are what I aspire to create.

Inspiring!

 

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The actual process of writing a story is what I like best about being a writer. It’s an indescribable sort of magic, although I don’t think it’s the same for everyone. The only way I can describe it is it’s as if I am watching a movie in my mind. I see and hear everything going on and create the narration. The words flow from somewhere inside of me (my head, my heart, both?) and I write them down as they come. It’s incredibly exciting to have a story take form, even more so if you reach a state where the words just flow, although there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to that flowing state…some days things flow, other days they trickle or drip.

The most challenging part is managing everything I do. I write all my own content, manage my website, and I’m my own marketing and PR team. I have to stay really organized and give myself deadlines. Otherwise it all becomes an overwhelming, amorphous mass. Some days I wish I could delegate some of the business-y stuff and spend more time doing the fun stuff (writing  more books).

I hear you! Maybe someday…

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m currently working on HOPE, book #2 in the Indigo Dreams Series, which will be out Summer 2015. Book #3, DREAM is also in the works.

Fabulous! A lot to look forward to 🙂

 

What authors and/or books have inspired you?

I don’t have a favorite author, but I have a very long list of brilliant authors I admire (see my list here and here). Writing is an art and as with any other art form I appreciate beauty and creativity, stories that are rich in detail and masterful in their use of language. Top it off by being honest and real and I’m hooked.

I agree!

 

What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I’m just finishing The Coldest Girl in Coldtown…I’m not normally into vampires but I love this book. Holly Black is a masterful storyteller and her characters are really compelling. It’s hard to put down…

Ooooh—on my TBR!

 

If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Have you ever wished for something despite all odds? How ballet helped this dancer change her life.

Great job! Thanks so much, Grier!

Keep reading to find out more about Grier, THE WISH, and to enter the giveaway!

 

AUTHOR BIO:AuthorPhotoSm2014
Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.

Author links:

Wish

Wish
by Grier Cooper
(Indigo Dreams #1)
Publication date: December 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:

For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders – the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.

But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting today, Becky! 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for hosting WISH, Becky! I had a lot of fun with our interview.

  3. angela smith angela smith

    i enjoyed the synopsis and the interview with the author

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