Today is Wednesday and I’m pleased to have Rachel Jones join us with her debut release, To Dance One More Day. Having a daughter who danced for several years, I loved the whole concept of this story. Take a moment to read Rachel’s blurb about To Dance One More Day, and then we’ll ask her about what inspired the book and her writing process.
At age thirty-two, Jillian Russell has endured a life time of heartache. Alone in the world, she has also suffered the loss of her dance career. Redirecting her life, she opens the North Carolina Ballet Company. Intent on making it the go-to company for serious performers, she shuts down her personal life while she struggles to build her company into the success she envisions.
As far back as he can remember, trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong has had a penchant for fixing things. Since his father’s death, the ambition to open a community clinic in a rural area on the eastern coast has directed his actions. Hopeful to prevent future deaths due to lack of medical care, he has made the clinic his top priority.
When Alan’s life intersects with Jillian’s, the connection they both feel is undeniable. As a new board member to her ballet company, Alan is eager to help solve the financial damage of lost federal funding. But he doesn’t stop there. He wants to help her build new relationships to chase the loneliness from her life. As they grow closer, secrets from their pasts cause them to be pulled apart. Will they be able to overcome their pasts to have a future together?
CL: What inspired the idea for To Dance One More Day?
RJ: I am a lover of ballet, so I wanted my heroine to be a ballerina. I have been a RN for twenty-five years and I just couldn’t keep that part of me out of the story. So…my manuscript about a broken ballerina repaired by the love of a trauma surgeon was born.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you outline before you begin to write or are you a pantster?
RJ: I’ve tried both methods. The first two manuscripts I wrote were done pantster-style. When I started my current manuscript, I had just finished reading a craft book about outlining. I decided to give it a try. I like the outline process because it keeps me on track and I have strayed less from the storyline which caused me to do a good bit of rewriting on my first two manuscripts.
CL: What was the most difficult part of writing To Dance One More Day?
RJ: The most difficult part was finding the best way to begin Jillian and Alan’s story. I wrote a few opening scenes before deciding on the post-explosion scene.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author.
RJ: A few years ago, I was finding I had more free time. I began reading more – my favorite genre is contemporary romance with historical romance running a close second. I enjoyed the time I spent reading, but one day I decided I wanted to take a shot at writing my own novel. After working with diligence for five months, I realized I needed some education about the writing process. I joined Romance Writers of America and a few months after that, I joined Georgia Romance Writers. Surrounded by others working toward the same goal, I found the encouragement to persevere and finish my novel. When I attended my first writers’ conference last year, I pitched my manuscript to an agent and an editor. A month later I received my first rejection from the agent. A few weeks later when the sting of rejection was subsiding, I received a contract offer for my manuscript. It has taken two years and three months to see the fruit of my labor staring back at me from my Kindle, but so worth the struggle.
CL: What advice would you offer aspiring writers on the writing business?
RJ: Surround yourself with positive people who share your goals. Be open to learning – publishing your first novel shouldn’t be the end to your education about writing. Finish the manuscript.
CL: Any special tips for writers who are juggling writing with raising a family, working a day job or just everyday life in general?
RJ: Routine has always been a part of my life. I can tell the difference it makes during holidays, vacations, or recovery from surgery because my routine disappears. Try to write every day. This is hard for me because I work twelve hours shifts at night. I am pleased with five days out of seven but I still work toward hitting the keyboard every day. The writing process can be overwhelming so break it up by setting goals. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you make your goal.
In 1977 Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and taught music for ten years. After the birth of her second child, she returned to school and in 1991 earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing and passed the state boards for registered nurses. She has been a labor & delivery and antepartum nurse since that time.
Anticipating her retirement from healthcare, Rachel decided to write her first novel at age fifty-seven. For years she had experienced scenes of heroes and heroines rambling about in her thoughts and spilling into her dreams. So it was a no-brainer that she should attempt to capture these thoughts on paper.
Rachel resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years. She has three adult children, who help spoil their Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Southeastern Writers Association and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.
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