by Amanda Brice
“Glissade, pique arabesque, and now pull into retire en face!”
And thus begins the second chapter of my second book, Pointe of No Return, which features a kidnapping (and search for the missing girl) during Nutcracker rehearsals at a performing arts boarding school. My heroine, freshman ballet student Dani Spevak, is assigned to understudy her rival Hadley Taylor as the Sugar Plum Fairy, when Hadley goes missing. And in typical Dani fashion, he sets out to find her.
I’ve never solved mysteries, but Dani and I have several things in common. First of all, we love to dance. Okay, that’s a given. You probably share that with us as well, if you’re reading Catherine Tully’s wonderful 4dancers blog.
We both consider Nut season to be “the most wonderful time of the year” (even though my 3-year-old told me yesterday she can’t go see Nutcracker because she’s allergic to nuts). And we’ve both ended up getting to perform in a ballet even when we thought we’d been relegated to understudy status.
In my case, I was understudying a performance of Gaite Parisienne and one of the older girls in the company got hospitalized with bulimia. It was a weird feeling for me. A real paradox. On the one hand, I was super excited to get to perform, but that meant that Rachel was very, very sick. And you can’t exactly celebrate that, you know?
Same thing with Dani. Hadley’s missing, and it’s actually not in her best interest to find her – this way she gets to dance – but how can you really celebrate that (even if Hadley is the meanest girl in school)? You can’t.
So I took that awkward feeling and built a story around it. Only I changed the basic facts as to why my heroine got to dance. Because while a story about eating disorders might be relevant from a social commentary standpoint (and I do weave them in as a subplot), it probably wouldn’t make for a very good plot. (Or at least not the type of plot I write.) [Read more…]