Meg Howrey was a professional dancer and actress. Her new novel is The Cranes Dance.
From her Q & A with Barbara Chai for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:
Did you draw upon your own experience in the ballet world for “The Cranes Dance”?--Marshal Zeringue
I drew on some personal experience, of course, although much more so on things and people I observed. The ballet company in the novel is fictional. What I was after was a probable world, rather than an imitative one. There’s no book (or film) that can capture what it’s like to be a ballet dancer. Although dancers go through the same training, dance many of the same ballets, deal with the same issues, it’s such a private experience in many ways. I tried to press my face up as close as I could to my protagonist, Kate, and get as close as possible to how she saw herself and her world.
The book is told in a first-person, often sarcastic voice, which is somehow striking in a book about ballet.
Kate’s sense of humor fueled the book. I think many people are afraid of ballet – it seems so alien and impregnable. You have to know something very, very well to be able to mock it. The interesting thing about Kate to me was that at the same time she’s making fun of what’s going on around her, she’s basically killing herself to stay in it. Dancing is a strange drug. The things...[read on]