Cora Graham is the author of Pretty Dancer. A YA/New Adult Contemporary Romance. She was kind enough to play along with my interview questions, but before that, here’s a synopsis of her book:
Since she was a little girl, all she ever wanted to do was dance… But what happens, when the ones meant to protect you above all others are the ones to hurt you the most? For Lilly, it was easier to hide within herself and her dancing. Until the right someone comes along and gives her a reason to fight back. He helps her to trust again. She inspires him to dream again. With one more performance, her dream is within reach. Her past keeps her struggling for her future, but will she let it stand in the way of her dream, too? Will her dream come true? Does she have what it takes? Can she overcome the demons of her past and find herself again? First Love, Humor, Passion, Artistry, a story of acceptance.
Q & A
Bibliogal: Did Any Characters End Up Completely Different From How You Initially Planned Them?
Graham: Not so much the characters as their relationship. When I first started writing Pretty Dancer I knew that my main character, Lilly, would have a twin brother, Luke, but I didn’t initially visualize their sibling relationship to be as solid and protective as it turned out to be. Originally, I pictured Luke as more troubled, less stable even than Lilly was, and more of a wild card. But, as I began writing the story their sibling relationship took on a life of its own. I didn’t have to put a lot of thought or stage out their dialog or relationship because it just came. Their relationship and scenes were the easiest to write and some of my favorites. They get annoyed and argue with each other just like any other siblings, but they’ve also been through a heck of a lot together and ultimately only had each other to rely on, so I think that put them on whole nother level that most siblings don’t reach until they’re older/mature, if ever. They love and protect each other without apology. They have the kind of relationship where they can literally be screaming at each other one minute and apologizing in the next. I think it’s beautiful how they care for one another.
Bibliogal: Which Character Would You Like To Date/ Hang Out With Socially? Why?
Graham: I would love to hang out with Andrea, the main character’s (Lilly’s) best friend! Andrea is the perfect best friend. She has your back, she’s not afraid to call you out on your stuff and she’s fun. She’s charismatic and has her own special way with words. I can honestly say that I laughed a lot when writing Andrea’s character.
Bibliogal: What Surprised You Most When Researching For Your Book?
Graham: That’s a loaded question! Pretty Dancer was my debut and only book to date, so I literally researched everything! My main character is a dancer and she’s amazing. Me, ha, not so much. I researched ballet and contemporary dance so much I convinced myself that I was basically self taught in the art of dance, until I tried to do a perfect pirouette in my dinning room and almost gave myself a concussion. It’s harder than it looks and at times as hard as it looks. My hat goes off to dancers. I just hope I do the dancing in my book justice. There are topics touched upon in this book that I have no experience with, but were vital to the story. Lilly comes from a dark, unstable background. She and her brother are left to fend for themselves at an age when most kids don’t even have a license, or have to worry about income or really anything other than what their college plans were. I had to research mental health and abuse, and really had to bury myself in Lilly’s world so that I could portray her feelings and reactions as genuine, and I hope I did.
Thanks for playing! Pretty Dancer is available on all the major book retailer websites!