Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Faery Rose Author, Debra Rogers

            Dancing in Time is part of the Faerie Rose line at the Wild Rose Press.  This is their paranormal/fantasy line, and Dancing in Time, as the name suggests, is a time travel.  The book tells the story of a ballerina named Hadleigh who falls in love with Doc, a mysterious man who lives in a remote community nestled deep in the folds of the Appalachian Mountains.  Doc is a strikingly handsome man with an unusual name, a dark complexion, and a past as enigmatic as he is.
            The dance scenes and characters in the book are culled from my memories and experiences as a former professional ballet dancer.  But the mountain setting of Dancing in Time was inspired by my visit years ago to a ghost town called Lost Cove located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.
            Lost Cove is a hauntingly beautiful place, accessible only by walking three miles down a railroad track and then another mile straight up a rocky trail.  The land is privately held, but the owner was kind enough to allow me access.   No restoration has been done on Lost Cove, nor is any planned.  The owner believes the community should be permitted to fade quietly into history on its own schedule.  Some buildings have already succumbed to the ages, but several are still standing and their interiors provide silent testimony to those hardy individuals who once inhabited them.  Artifacts I saw included such items as:  bits of broken china, old bed frames, and even canned goods.  The walls lined with layers of newspaper demonstrate a determined but futile effort to keep the cold at bay.  Every other available space on each building was scarred with graffiti.   That graffiti found its way into Dancing in Time and in one instance became a pivotal plot point.
            But my biggest inspiration for Dancing in Time didn’t come from the mountains of North Carolina.   It didn’t come from my dance background.   It came from a young high school student.  At the performing arts high school where I teach dance, students “at risk” are assigned mentors, and I volunteered to work with a young lady named Alexia.  She was in need of assistance to improve her reading score on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).  To help her I needed to come up with an activity she would enjoy that would also provide some extra reading experience.  I asked Alexia if she would be interested in helping me write a novel.  She nodded, smiled, and added that she really liked love stories.  Thus, from that suggestion  Dancing in Time was born.    I’d write a chapter, give it to her to read, and she would make suggestions.  And so, over the course of the school year, the book took shape.   Her enthusiasm for the project kept me motivated, and I know the book would not have been written without her.  Thus the first line of the dedication reads:  “To Alexia, who helped me believe”.  Today Alexia is in college, planning a career in special education.  Her reading difficulties are far behind her.  But I have no doubt that during our time together she helped me much more than I helped her.  Such is the paradox of mentoring.

Dancing in Time is available from The Wild Rose Press at:
For more information about Dancing in Time, links to my other guest blogs, or to view the Dancing in Time book trailer, please visit my website:       


Jana Richards said...

Hi Debra,
What an inspiring story! I believe a person often gets more out of volunteering than they put into it, and you are a shining example of that theory. Good luck with the book!

Jana Richards

K9friend said...

What an unusual and fascinating way to create a novel!

Is this your first published book?

Debra St. John said...

Oh, how I'd love to visit that little lost town of Lost Cove. How lucky you were to be able to take a peek at it.

And it's always fun to be able to incorporate personal experience into a story.

nlindabrit said...

Thank you for a most interesting blog post about your work and for the story of Alexia's success. You should be proud.

Violet said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments! "Dancing in Time" is my first published novel, and creating it with Alexia made it an especially rewarding experience.