Amanda Brice is the author of the brand new YA mystery novel Codename: Dancer, in which she tries to bring back the old-school mystery flavor with some dance elements! Happily, we have the author visiting us today to tell us a bit more about her new book and why she decided to write it!
Let's all welcome Amanda Brice! Here's what she has to say:
I get asked a lot why I chose to write about a teenage dancer. After all, I’m a 30-something lawyer. What the heck do I know about this topic?
Well, once upon a time, I was one. A teenage dancer, I mean. I’m still a dancer (well, sorta…I danced all through college and now take a weekly adult ballet class).
And don’t get me wrong, I love the paranormal books, but I wanted to write about something I could actually relate to. I mean, I’ve never been bitten by a vampire or dated a werewolf.
Sure, I’ve never solved a mystery, but I used to play Clue like it was going out of style. And I started writing really epically bad Nancy Drew fanfic (starring a spunky heroine named Nancy Flew and her hot boyfriend Ted Tickleson) at age 10.
And I did dance.
When I was a tween and teen, I used to long for books about dancers. There are tons of dance books aimed at little girls, but once you get out of board books and chapter books, there’s not a lot. Or any, really.
My fave (well, if we’re going to be honest, it was the ONLY) teen dance series growing up was the Satin Slippers series by Elizabeth Bernard. The series followed Leah, a young dancer at the San Francisco Ballet Academy. I used to gobble these books up like they were going out of style. (And looking at the publication dates as listed in Amazon, it seems they came out back-to-back-to-back, one book every two months for two full years, so I guess I really was gobbling them up in short succession!) I rediscovered this series as an adult, and well, let’s just say it’s REALLY out-of-date. It’s very much a product of the late 80s Cold War, with the heroine’s best friend a dance student whose parents defected from the Soviet Union…there’s even a great subplot where the girls at school all think the KGB is trying to kidnap Alex back!
Yeah, there needed to be some more contemporary YA dance novels on the shelves, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I was going to write the kind of book that I would have devoured at that age.
So combining dance and mysteries sounded like a perfect idea to me. Of course, I had to teach myself how to plot a more effective mystery than “Nancy Flew and the Mystery of the Lady Ghost,” but I’ve heard from countless readers that they didn’t figure out whodunnit until right at the end, so hopefully I’ve hit my mark!
I love Young Adult – writing it and reading it. I think it’s really fun because of the ability to influence and make a difference. Adults have already formed their beliefs, attitudes, and prejudices, but teens are still finding their way in the world. (Of course, you have to walk a fine line to make sure you don’t come off as preachy or judgmental.) Plus, teenagers wear their emotions on their sleeves. Sadly, adults have learned to suppress a lot of that, but teens just feel everything so much more vividly. So the possibilities are endless!
Amanda Brice lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and toddler daughter. An intellectual property attorney for a large federal government agency, she combines her love of writing with her legal career by speaking on basic copyright and trademark law on the writers’ conference circuit. Her debut novel, Codename: Dancer, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award ®, was released in April. You can learn more about Amanda at www.amandabrice.net.
I know that I am very, very intrigued with Codename: Dancer and am looking forward to a chance to read it. How about you, fellow bibliophiles?