by Grier Cooper
Indigo Ballet Series
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GENRE: Young Adult
Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, 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 finds out 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.
After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?
Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um…hi? That’s my elbow.”
“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.
“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you’re grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”
He drops it like he’s been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”
I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he’s making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can’t look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.
We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it’s nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.
I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I’d take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don’t dare. For reasons I don’t want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I’m so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn’t bright red.
He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I’ve got you.”
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Hope by Grier Cooper for the purpose of an honest review.
I haven’t (yet) had the pleasure of reading the first book, Wish, of the Indigo Ballet Series, but I intend to remedy that oversight during my upcoming vacation at the beach!
Hope is a wonderful, painfully wonderful book to read and to learn about life in a performing arts school and also about ballet. Ms. Cooper generously defines the technical terms associated with the ballet at the back of her book, and without the glossary I would’ve been lost past the first mention of barre!
Indigo is a beautifully written young woman with surprising (to her) talents and a spine of steel that allows her to navigate her way through the snares and dangers of dance. It is truly remarkable to watch her grow throughout the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hope by Grier Cooper. It is a pleasure to relax, read, and learn something new at the same time.
I recommend Hope by Grier Cooper and give it four steaming hot cups of Room With Books coffee.
©May 9, 2016
It is my pleasure to welcome Grier Cooper, author of Hope, to Room With Books!
I’m happy to be here…thanks!
Please tell us about yourself.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I always kept a diary; the kind with a small lock on it. Trust me, growing up in a house with three younger brothers who got into everything made this necessary. I also loved reading; I devoured books and the library was and still is a favorite place. But I didn’t think about being a writer back then because my head was completely wrapped up in ballet–especially after I taught myself how to do a double pirouette. I would practice in the halls at school whenever I had a spare moment, and my mom had to constantly throw me out of the kitchen because she got tired of me practicing in there…but it was the only uncarpeted floor in the house with enough space to dance.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
Like every other kid in school, I wrote all the time; essays, book reports, short stories, and of course, the aforementioned diary. I’ve also always been a voracious reader…books have been a source of entertainment, knowledge, and escape; a sanctuary, really. Eventually the love of books translated into feeling like I had stories to tell, too. I’ve always enjoyed kids and realized I wanted to write for them, especially after I became a mother.
Do you do a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
I also give talks about themes I touch on in my books, like how to overcome self-doubt. It’s fun visiting schools and ballet studios, and meeting young people. I like to share personal stories and offer insight. I still teach dance and yoga from time to time, by request.
How would you summarize this book in less than 20 words?
Dancer hopes she’s chosen for the company…paired with distractingly hot partner…makes surprising choice. Is it the right one?
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
It wasn’t until high school, when my short story won first prize in the school literary contest (and a fifty dollar check!) that I began to think I might have a future as a writer, but my first “real” title (a full book) was published many years later, in 2010. Signing a real contract made things feel official.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I began writing books in 2009 and my first non-fiction title was published in 2010. But it wasn’t the one I was talking about before, the story that I really wanted to tell. That book, called Wish (the first of the Indigo Ballet Series) came many years later, published at the end of 2014.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to “The End”?
That depends! It took a long time to write Wish-–more than a year–because I was working on it while writing a bunch of other stuff. It was also my first full-length novel, so there was a huge learning curve. Since then I’ve written a couple of other titles, including one that I wrote during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November–check it out all you would-be writers!) where you have 30 days to write an entire novel. Sounds kinda crazy, right? But I thought, hey, why not give it a try and see what happens? You know, I managed to write an entire book in less than 30 days! (I think it was 28, total). That was just a first draft, of course, and it’s far from ready to publish, but it showed me it was possible. I’d say the average time to write a book is at least a few months, and that’s after I’ve finished researching and outlining. I’m one of those plan-ahead people.
What can we expect from you in the future? More of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I am currently working on Dream, the third book of the Indigo Ballet Series. I’m also currently working on audiobook versions of the series, which will be available later in the spring, through Audible.
Contemporary young adult will always be a favorite for me. Close friends insist I have an obsession with high school, and they are probably right. I didn’t go to a normal high school; I went to a performing arts high school with models, actors, musicians and dancers who needed a flexible schedule in order to pursue their careers. Sadly, this meant we missed out on some of the fun stuff, like prom. I live it vicariously through my books, with real characters set in the real world. I like YA because it focuses on a time in life where huge change occurs. It’s a dynamic and exciting time of life, a time to figure out who you want to be.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
Indigo is the main character in the series and also my favorite. She’s strong, but not in the way that a character like Katniss is strong. Indigo is emotionally strong, yet sensitive at the same time. I think it’s a great balance.
What is your routine for writing?
During my years as a professional dancer we started every day with an early morning ballet class. I still like to begin the day with exercise, because it gets the energy moving in my body and starts those gears inside my brain spinning. My workday is confined to the hours of nine a.m. until 3 p.m., when my daughter is in school, and I often squeeze in some brainstorming sessions while she’s at practice after school.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The Indigo Ballet Series has been a planned trilogy from the very beginning and I had a specific vision and titles in mind. Other times the title comes last, although I always have a working title.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
I tend to work with broad themes; things like friendships, family, or perseverance, and keep them filed away in the back of my mind, while the story evolves.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I’ve never been a big fan of hardbacks. They’re cumbersome and way too hard to read in the bathtub. Also, they make my hands cramp when I read them. I’ve always preferred paperbacks because I like the way they feel in my hands. I didn’t think I wouldn’t ever be an eBook fan until I got a chance to try out my daughter’s Kindle and found I had serious envy, so I got one for myself. I love that I can load tons of books on something the size of a small paperback (so handy for travel) and backlighting makes it easy to read at night.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
There are too many good books out there to name one as a favorite. I love The Arabian Nights because there are tons of stories woven together in one novel. I have a really cool edition with an embossed blue leather and gilded edges. It’s beautiful, as well as fun to read…great to read aloud, too. I’m a huge Gabriel Garcia Marquez fan–I’ve read Love in The Time of Cholera several times–the only book I’ve read cover-to-cover more than once.
Do you read all the reviews of your books?
No way! I always hope that people enjoy my work, but it’s impossible to please everyone. Other writer friends advised me years ago to always make sure to put out the best work possible and leave it at that. However, I think it’s important to get feedback from other writers; they know the intricacies of what makes a good book better than anyone else.
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
Sure. Lay them on me.
What is your favorite food? Sushi. Absolutely.
Who is your favorite singer or group? Billie Holiday. She’s amazing. One of the best to listen to on a rainy day.
What is your favorite color? Black. Much to my husband’s dismay.
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? A quiet beach with fine-grained, white sand and clear turquoise water. And no traffic.
Thank you for spending time at Room With Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your book, Hope. I hope you will come back again!
Thanks so much for having me!
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.
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 the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LPUJWSK
Barnes and Noble: www.barnesandnoble.com/c/grier-cooper
Grier Cooper will be awarding a $20 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.