Blog Tour: She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla Guest Post + Giveaway!!!

Posted May 19, 2016 by Nori in Blog Tour/ Blitzes, Giveaway, Guest Posts / 4 Comments

 

GUEST POST

Dreams, Discipline, and Dance

In She Laughs in Pink, the main character, Juliet, is a ballet dancer. “Dancing is like breathing to me,” she says, early on in the book. When she arrives at college, one of the first things she plans to do is find a dance studio. Dancing keeps her grounded.

I wrote Juliet as a dancer because I danced growing up. My mom signed me up lessons at the age of five, claiming I was so klutzy and uncoordinated that she was worried about my well-being. I ended up staying with it through college.

I danced ballet, tap and jazz. In high school, I taught preschoolers at my dance studio. Imagine being a teenager and dealing with twenty four-year-olds in tap shoes at eight a.m.! Yikes! I still remember little Erica, with her black bowl hair cut and her devil red leotard, running circles around the dance floor and then plopping her butt and setting up camp in the resin box in the corner (Did I mention that resin is poisonous?). One of my greatest accomplishments ever was getting her to perform on stage with the other little girls (Note: I passed two bar exams and have a book being published, so that says a lot!).

When people ask me what I did in high school, my answer is always, “Oh, I danced.” I wasn’t involved in school sports or other after-school activities. I went from school to the dance studio just about every single night. Only now do I realize what a commitment that was for a teenager. The fact that I taught from 3:30 until 5:30 and then danced my own classes until 10:30 amazes me. Where did I get the energy? Why did I do it?

I’m not sure of why or how. I only know that the studio and the people I danced with were my family. There, I felt like I belonged. I never felt like that in the hallways of my high school.

In high school, I was sort of this average dork, who was too introverted to hang with the “cool” kids and too much of a goody-two-shoes to hang with the “bad” kids. I didn’t play a team sport, didn’t play an instrument or do drama, didn’t smoke or cut class. I had a few close friends and got decent grades without really trying. Nothing about school excited me.

For me, leaving at the end of the day, getting to the sprung wood floor, and gripping that barre was the good stuff. It’s where I had some control over my life. Regardless of what was going on in my outside world, at home or in school, when I stepped in front of the mirror and the music started to play, none of it mattered. Dancing was the perfect excuse for me to tune out everything except myself. All that mattered to me was that moment. That beat. That movement that I was trying time after time to master.

At the time, I wasn’t concerned with the benefit to my body. Now, of course, I know that I was in great shape inside and out, mentally and physically. Emotionally? Maybe. I was a teenager, after all. But I was stronger than most kids my age in a lot of ways. I credit the discipline of dancing with making me so.

I allowed myself to dream big when it came to dance. Dreams ranged from owning my own dance studio, to dancing on a cruise ship in exotic locations, to being on Broadway, to dancing the perfect dance with someone who loved me.

In She Laughs in Pink, Juliet doesn’t dream of being a professional dancer. She knows she’s can’t make it as a ballerina. Yet she relies on dance to deal with her emotions, to escape from life. From the blurb: “Two things keep her from falling into a deep, dark place—dancing and her best friend, Ben.” As the story unfolds and Juliet struggles with the challenges she faces, she learns to follow her heart, and it, always, leads her to the studio.

Besides Juliet in the Sheridan Hall Series, dancers appear in most of my books. In my first published book, The Love Square, Jenna is a ballroom dancer, spending many a night in front of the mirror. In the first manuscript I wrote, the probably-will-never-be-published young adult novel Since September, my main character is a senior high school student named Abby. Abby ends up taking dance to the extreme, hoping it can block out her life. Dance can’t do that—but it can make someone happy, healthy, focused and settled, at least while the music plays.

I hope I’ve done enough justice to the power of dance in She Laughs in Pink, and that dancers who read it get the sense of Juliet’s emotional connection with this art form. I also wish for non-dancers to get a feel for how important dance can be for someone like Juliet, who uses the discipline of ballet to find her mental strength.

Most of all, dancer or not, I hope you enjoy the book!

Thanks, Nori, for letting me post on your blog! I’d love for you to invite me back again someday.


About the Author

Jessica Calla is a lawyer by day, author by night. Her favorite time is the kids’ bedtime, when she’s free to open the laptop, battle with the blinking cursor, and pour out the contents of her heart.

Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She recently became the oldest marketing intern ever at BookFish Books, and was named a Team Member for the inaugural FicFest writing contest. She also mentors unpublished writers as part of the Young Adult Romance Writers’ mentoring program.

Besides reading and writing, Jessica enjoys movies, yoga, coffee, and chocolate, but has a serious addiction problem when it comes to Diet Coke, Twitter, and Netflix. Always a Jersey Girl, she lives in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and her dog.

Jessica’s first book, The Love Square, an adult contemporary romance, was published by Limitless Publishing in January of 2016 and continues to receive positive reviews. She can’t wait for Book 2 of the Sheridan Hall Series, She Runs Away, to be released in November 2016 by BookFish Books.

Social Media Links:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

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