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Stasia grew up dancing and performing on stages from New Hampshire to Washington, D.C. She now writes books for young adults and choreographs the occasional musical. She is represented by Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.
Here's the blurb:
It all started with the audition . . .
When Sara is offered a scholarship with the prestigious Jersey Ballet, there's no way she can turn down the opportunity of a lifetime. But to take it, she must leave her family and friends for a strange city. Suddenly, she's thrust into a life of endless ballet class and rehearsal, of juggling schoolwork with hours in the studio, of constantly being critiqued, corrected, and judged.
Overwhelmed and lonely, Sara connects with Remington, a brilliant up-and-coming choreographer. Though he's too old for her, sparking scandal at the studio, Sara is thrilled to become Rem's muse. But as the secrets pile up and Rem's innovative dances start to attract wider attention, Sara wonders whose dreams she's making come true.
Debut author Stasia Ward Kehoe spins an intense and romantic page-turner about the deeply flawed yet irresistible world of ballet.
Dawn: How did you decide to write AUDITION in verse? It was such a brilliant idea!
Stasia: I didn't decide to write AUDITION in verse so much as find my way to the form. The novel started as a monologue for a playwriting class. I wrote about a young dancer getting dressed for an audition. I felt connected to the character, so I started trying to feature her in a prose novel. It was all right, but I felt the novel didn't have the spark I really wanted. Then, I found myself in a verse novel writing workshop with Ellen Hopkins and I was on my way.
Dawn: What are a few ways your performing arts skills enhance your writing? I'm not referring to the subject matter and authenticating details of AUDITION, but I'm asking in a more general sense.
Stasia: First of all, I consider myself a craftsperson, not an artist. Just like in dance, I believe you need to flex the writing muscle pretty much every day to get to where you want to be. As a verse novelist, I find myself paying attention to the cadence and forms of the poetry. I think very structurally, very choreographically. I think that comes from my dance background. And for me, stories definitely begin with character. I say their "lines" out loud, try to feel what they feel, do a bit of "method acting" to get at their motivations.
Dawn: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Stasia: Be as honest as you can in your writing. Never shy away from what you believe your characters need to say or do. Then, when you feel you're as close to the bone as you can get . . . go closer. If your writing doesn't make you shiver or cry, you cannot expect your reader to do so. Even if you're writing light, funny, or surreal, it has to also feel true.
Also, while it's great to take advice, guidance, and feedback, the best story you can write is the one that only you can tell. That's the cool, crazy, amazing thing about being a writer. So, even when you're making editorial changes, be certain that you are also holding on to your own story, your characters. That way, you don't run the risk of diluting things as your work evolves from desktop manuscript to published work (you CAN get there!).
Dawn: Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Stasia! I wish you continued success!
Places you can find Stasia on the Internet:
Writer on the Side
A Year of Auditions
Stages on Pages
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Now it's time for the giveaway! I have a copy of AUDITION to send to one lucky follower. To enter the contest, all you have to do is:
1. leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. PST on Friday, December 2, 2011
2. be a follower of this blog
3. have a mailing address in the U.S. or Canada (Sorry I have to set limits. I wish I could include everyone!)
Each person can enter only once.
Good luck, and thank you for following my blog! :)