Today we're joining the blog tour for HOPE by Grier Cooper. We've asked Grier some questions about her young adult ballet contemporary.
Hi guys! It's great to be here; thanks for having me join you today. I guess the first thing that comes to mind to share about myself is that I'm a dancer who loves to write...and a writer who loves to dance. I left home when I was fourteen to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City and have since danced all over the world with companies like San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet and The Frank Genius Group. I've loved books since I was a kid, and I've come to love writing them as much as I love reading them.
Tell our readers a bit about HOPE. What’s the story about?
HOPE is book #2 of the Indigo Ballet Series. As you can imagine, it is set in the world of ballet. Here's a bit about the story: Perfection. Beauty. Pain. This is life for Indigo Stevens at the famed New York School of Ballet, where there’s no such thing as weakness or privacy and every movement is scrutinized and judged. Indigo hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, but her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.
When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she discovers she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices. Will she create the life she wants or lose everything?
Ultimately HOPE is about turning trials into triumph and learning to go for your dreams without losing yourself.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
The years I spent in New York were an incredible time of growth for me, both as a dancer and as a human being, a pivotal period that shaped so much of who I am today.
There were fun discoveries, like finding the best breakfast spots (especially the delicious super-sized muffins at the deli two blocks from my apartment), trying coffee for the first time (hated it–although it's a very different story now), and exploring the city with friends during rare free moments. It was a glorious inspiration to walk past Lincoln Center most days and dream about dancing with New York City Ballet some day. Occasionally I got to attend performances of New York City Ballet when I worked at the gala events. Those evenings, everything in life felt magical. Wealthy patrons shimmered in exquisite gowns, and the top dancers of New York City glittered like the stars they were.
When I started writing the Indigo Ballet Series, I knew these were things I wanted to share with readers. Even though it's been many years since I experienced that part of my life, most of it lives on in my memory in crystal-clear detail.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm totally a plotter! I've been given the honorary title of “cruise ship director” by my family and friends because I'm such a planner. The same holds true when I'm working on a book. Since I'm a visual person, I scour magazines and websites for images that look like the characters and places I'm imagining, and create a huge collage that I post near my desk for reference. I also write character sketches and outline the skeleton of the story before I start writing anything.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
I'd have to say the messy middle stage, where the first draft is already complete but nowhere near polished. I'll tinker with it some, then have writer friends read it and tell me everything that's wrong with it, then work on it some more, adding/deleting scenes, smoothing out transitions, moving stuff around. This part makes my head hurt, and usually involves much hair-pulling, gnashing of teeth, scrawled post-it notes to myself about how and what to change. I edit until I go cross-eyed, then get up and do it the next day, and the next...until I'm satisfied (or as close to that as I'm going to get). Then I hand it over to my editor.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
Water! Dehydrated brains don't work nearly as well as well-hydrated brains. I keep a huge (BPA-free) plastic bottle on my desk and try to fill it up a couple of times per day...that way I get the suggested daily amount (64 oz-which is a lot!).
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I would love to fly– wouldn't you? If you've ever watched a bird soar through the air, it's like a part of you flies with them. I've had a few incredibly realistic flying dreams that felt so real that I have a sense of what it would be like to have that kind of freedom.
Plus, you'd never have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
You know, there are a lot of weird and/or cute animals out there...some of them almost too bizarre to look at. Check these links out and you'll see what I mean:
Because, the baby elephant. Am I right?
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably …
Out searching for magical places to explore or sweating my butt off on a dance floor somewhere.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
I'm so fortunate to have a loving and supportive family. Shout-outs to my husband and daughter, my father and step-mother, the Wenham Coops, Duxbury Coops, and Newburyport Coops, my bestest cuz, and my dear friends (you know who you are). Big hugs to my editor, Chris Forsyth, my cover designer, Fiona Jayde, and my book designer, L.J. Anderson.
Thank you to my readers–without you, there's no point in writing a book! Thanks for your support.
And of course, thank you to everyone at WeDoWrite... I'm thrilled to be your guest:)
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!
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