Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Dancing on the Inside by Glen C. Strathy

Welcome to Author Glen Strathy
Bio:

Glen C. Strathy started writing stories when he was 11 years old and too shy to have a life. He eventually found a life when he started acting in community theatre and met other writers, actors, dancers, and artists. He discovered that the best thing about performing arts (and other arts too) is that they give people more freedom to be who they want to be. After spending time as an actor, teacher, and freelance writer, he returned to his first love, fiction and wrote Dancing on the Inside, a novel for ages 9-12.
Glen C. Strathy earned an M.A. in English from the University of Western Ontario, and graduated from the Artist in Community Education program at Queen’s University, Kingston. He co-authored two non-fiction books and belongs to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Visit his website: www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com

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If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely the future. People tend to idealize the past, but for most of history the food was bad, housing was barely adequate, and medical care was abysmal. But as human knowledge increases, life keeps getting better. One day we’re going to have politics, economics, and science all figured out so that everyone has a great lifestyle without war, disease, oppression, pollution, or poverty. I’d love to see that day.

What is one book everyone should read?
Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neill. If we could all have a happy childhood, the world would be a much better place.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
I would choose to be Wolverine because of his ability to heal instantly and be immortal. How else will I live long enough to see the future? However, I would not want to lead such a violent life. I’d use those claws only for chopping vegetables.

Night owl, or early bird?
Both, unfortunately. My most productive hours are early morning or evening, which doesn’t leave a lot of time in between for sleep. Consequently, I alternate between late nights and early mornings.

Skittles or M&Ms?
Neither. I’m a gummy bears fan all the way, especially the ones made with real fruit juice.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I hope this book will inspire any girl who is torn between her dreams and ambitions on one hand and her fears and self-doubts on the other.

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
The kid in me would like to say Harry Potter. Hogwarts sounds like such a fun place to be. My adult side would say Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel, Always Coming Home, which depicts a world where people live in total balance with technology, nature, and themselves.

What is your dream cast for your book?
When I started writing this book, I imagined Jenny being played by someone like Sarah Polley or Dakota Fanning. Unfortunately, both of them are now too old for the role. If the book ever does become a film, I’m sure there will be a new child actress by then who would do a great job.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I remember being very fond of Lord of the Rings and Isaac Asimov’s novels, The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, which are science fiction mysteries. I never dreamed back then that I would be writing about dance, but life brings surprises.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Unwritten might be a good theme for Jenny Spark. Even though it’s about writing rather than dance, the idea of letting go of inhibitions so you can start living your dreams fits perfectly.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Probably Bud Cort, star of the 1970s film Harold and Maude. That film also depicts a shy, withdrawn person who learns to embrace life and become himself – much like my book. It’s an idea that has always inspired me. Plus, when I was younger I looked a lot like Bud (or did he look like me?).

How did you know you should become an author?
I started writing stories when I was 11 years old. I think that’s the age when a lot of people start having real dreams about what they want to do with their life. It’s easy to get sidetracked in your teenage years, and I went down many paths. But I always kept the dream alive.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
The best piece of advice I got (from a psychologist) was to figure out what you love to do, do it like crazy, and then convince someone to pay you to do it. Unfortunately, it was also the worst piece of advice because it leaves out a few crucial elements, such as finding ways to create relationships and network. Doing something like crazy is important for developing a skill, but to make a career of it you must do it in a group or somewhere where other people (and opportunities) can find you.

How do you react to a bad review?
I’ve bought lots of books that had bad reviews, just because the reviews made me curious. I assume other people are the same.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
Probably an annuity or something else that would give me a guaranteed income for life. I’ve felt rich and poor at different times in my life, and financial insecurity is not fun. Some writers find it gives them motivation, but I find worrying makes writing harder. Virginia Woolf once said that the best thing that happened to her as a writer was when her aunt died and left her a modest income for life. That financial freedom let her concentrate on her work. I agree completely with that sentiment.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
When I was a kid, I read a lot of science fiction novels by people like Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison. Science fiction readers were like a special club back then, and I loved the introductions to these books where the authors talk about their lives and what it’s like to be a writer. I also read a lot of Marvel comics in which Stan Lee wrote little messages to the reader, again making you feel like you were part of a special club. I wanted to be in these clubs, and becoming a writer seemed like the way.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
The Canadian drama, Being Erica. It’s primarily aimed at female viewers, but I love it. I love the way Erica has the chance to go back in time and redo all the negative events that ever happened in her life so that she can realize her dreams in the present. I also love the way her efforts to change her past never go exactly as she expects, yet she always learns from them.

Dancing on the Inside:

Ever since her grandparents gave her a DVD of Swan Lake, twelve-year old Jenny Spark has wanted to be a dancer. But on her first day of ballet class, she suffers a panic attack and makes a horrifying discovery. She’s terrified of dancing in front of the other kids, and as for actually performing for an audience? Forget it.
Yet Jenny refuses to give up her dream. With determination and a little ingenuity, she finds ways to observe ballet classes without actually participating. She trains in the safety of her room, while hiding the truth from her parents. Then Jenny meets her exact opposite: Ara Reyes, an outgoing, spontaneous, and accident-prone girl who loves dancing but has always been overlooked.
The girls’ friendship blossoms as they help each other uncover their real talents. Ara’s dancing takes a leap forward and Jenny discovers she has an amazing gift for choreography. With the support of the school’s newest teacher, Jenny’s original ballet might just make it on stage … but will she?
Charming and inspiring, Dancing on the Inside shows how pursuing our passions can often lead to wonderful and unexpected results.

Giveaway Details:
1 paperback copy of Dancing on the Inside available to US & Canada.
2 ebooks available Internationally
Ends 10/18/11

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