Patricia Beal: author spotlight + giveaway

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Y’all, we have the honor of celebrating with today’s featured author! Yesterday was her debut book baby’s birthday!!! Plus, she’s celebrating with a giveaway for y’all! Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to this enthusiastic and sweet lady!

About the Author

Patricia has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature and worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Her feature story on a day in the life of “Bad Luck Squad” in Iraq won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism. She’s now an editor for the Sergeants Major Academy in El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Patricia writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Les Stobbe. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, just came out yesterday.

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Five Favorites

Favorite Characters

Patricia: Ivy Clark (A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert), Samantha Moore (Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay), Abra/Lena Scott (Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers), and all women who begin their journey looking for external solutions for internal struggles.

Beth: Oh, my tbr! I just added one of those titles and another is already there 😉  btw, I also adore Samantha in Dear Mr. Knightley!

Favorite Book of All Time

Patricia: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I love the story. It planted in my heart the desire to write a novel one day. Thirty years later, here we are.

Beth: I’ve not heard of this book. You are so informative, Patricia!

Favorite Inside/Outside Activity

Patricia: I love planting and May is excellent for that. I don’t always know what I’m doing, but things tend to turn out all right.

May is great for dancing too. Open windows, sunshine, warmth… Kind of like in the story.

Beth: I think we’ll get some plants in the ground this weekend (and by we I mean my husband and children). 

Favorite Time/Place to Read/Write

Patricia: Mornings are best for everything. I like to read at coffee shops, so I’m not constantly thinking of some chore. I can write at coffee shops for the same reason, and do on occasion.

But it’s best if I write at home. I get excited. I cry, giggle, laugh, celebrate when an awesome thought shows up in my head and ends up on the page verbatim, and punch the air when I feel God moved my fingers and got me to write something far beyond my intellectual capacity. It gets colorful. I usually write at home.

Beth: I usually read at home for the same reason… I’m a book hugger and I talk to my books, too 😉

Favorite Lesson Learned during Publishing

Patricia: How to accept feedback. Marisa Deshaies and Meghan Gorecki worked hard on A Season to Dance.

I did not enjoy making many of the requested changes, but when I read the manuscript post-developmental edits, I cried for days because this book is exactly the kind of book I spent thirty years dreaming I would write one day. Not because of what I did, but because of what they were able to bring out of me and polish.

Those two… Good cop/bad cop… The things we went through to birth this book. Edits got lively. That should be a giveaway item—an early version of the manuscript with all our crazy notes to each other 🙂

Beth: Aww, I’ve heard a lot of great things about those sweet ladies!

Books

Tell us about your latest release

Patricia: A Season to Dance is the story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, the two men who love her, and the forbidden kiss that changed everything. But it’s more than big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits.

The best part? I wasn’t a Christian when I started. The story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.

For most of my life, I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important, but I wasn’t sure about the God of the Bible. Things began to change in the summer of 2012 when an early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired (two babies) and lonely (husband deployed), and I freaked out. Big time. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god if there was a god at all.

Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely—and this time surrounded by a darkness and a hopelessness that was brand new and incredibly scary.

Then Jesus passed by, closed every door that wasn’t already closed, and placed me in a church. He fought for me, lifted me out of what had quickly become a murky and joyless existence, and brought me into His perfect light.

I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I canceled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a massive fourteen-month rewrite to reflect what I’d learned in the journey to publication.

Essentially, A Season to Dance wrote me. I journeyed with Ana and now others can journey with us. I can’t wait to see what God will do with it next.

Beth: What a powerful testimony!!!

A Season to Dance by Patricia BealBallerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancé Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience.

Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus.

But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.

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Beth: I’m reading this book RIGHT NOW!!! So excited!

 

Tell us about your next release

Patricia: I wrote a second book, but I’m still editing it. It’s called The Song of the Desert Willow, and it’s a split-time military romance.

It’s the story of a college graduate (Clara) who thought she’d sworn off soldiers forever, and a young Army captain (Andrew) whose first shot at love and marriage imploded on the steps of a West Point chapel on graduation week.

She takes a break from a long and unfruitful job search to travel to Fort Bliss, Texas, and deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter to a retired general Clara has heard about since she was born. When the recipient is delayed in Germany with a weak heart, Clara’s stuck in Texas and Andrew is put in charge of her well-being.

Being stuck at Fort Bliss with Captain “Ginger”—his red hair makes him look so much like Prince Harry—was not at all part of the plan. But could it be for the best? Could it help her understand her family’s past at long last and help her chart her future? Some good had to come out of it.

But as days turn into weeks, the past refuses to stay in the past and puts her future in danger.

I’m enjoying this story so much. It has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil before WWII, the beginning of the shoe industry there (still famous worldwide, with women’s shoes always available at stores like Neiman Marcus), the life of the richest family in town, the most influential man (my great grandfather), his death, loss, change. It’s fascinating to me. I pray I can paint a vivid picture of this most unusual slice of history and get people to care.

And then the contemporary story of Clara is fun to write because I’ve been working for the U.S. Army since the nineties and have been an Army wife for more than twelve years. There are tons of neat details of Army life to share. This could easily be book one of a series. Clara and Andrew are fun to write too because I created them in 2015, so by now, I know them well. And I love the antagonist! I should write her story one day. I think I cried for that woman for five whole chapters toward the end.

But I think that what I enjoy the most is making all the connections, showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply. It’s how life works, I believe. To be able to hold all that history in three hundred pages, massaged and shaped, can be astonishing and transformational.

The Song of the Desert Willow will be a good book one day, but I’m still digging. It’s not saying everything it’s supposed to say yet.

Beth: I like the dual timeline stories and yours sounds really interesting! Thank you so much for sharing about yourself and your books today, Patricia!

PatriciaThanks for having me here! This was fun! 😊

Giveaway

Patricia Beal has generously offered to send one fortunate Faithfully Bookish reader a signed copy of A Season to Dance!

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal giveawaycomplete giveaway rules

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Let’s talk about dance! What are your favorite styles of dance to participate in or watch? 

42 Comments


  1. // Reply

    I love all forms of music and dance although I’m not inclined to participate what with my two left feet. 🙂 Ballet is so graceful and made to look so easy that I’d have to say it’s my favorite to watch.


    1. // Reply

      Hi Kay! Your comment made me think of this ballet quote:

      “Someone once said that dancers work just as hard as policeman, always alert, always tense. But I don’t agree with that because policeman don’t have to look beautiful at the same time”

      ― George Balanchine.

      Made to look easy, you’re right. I hope you have a chance to watch Ana on the pages of A Season to Dance 🙂


  2. // Reply

    I don’t participate, but I love to watch any – especially ones with my grandkids. One is in ballet, and performing this weekend. Can’t wait to watch her! I’m really looking forward to reading this, after last night’s FB party, and all the reviews I’ve been reading.


    1. // Reply

      How exciting! I love children’s performances. I think that’s one of the reasons my agent decided to represent me–he has lots of dancing granddaughters 🙂

      So glad you were at the party! Thank you for the kind words. I hope you love the story of Ana.

      Have fun at this weekend’s performance!


  3. // Reply

    I am so excited to read A SEASON TO DANCE! It’s sitting on my kitchen table right now…waiting for the school year to end (and all the craziness that entails for us teachers) next week, so I can dive into the book without distractions. I love Patricia’s testimony and how it filled in the missing part she sensed in her original manuscript. — By the way, Patricia…I love THE ALCHEMIST, too! I used to teach a multicultural literature class, and that was one of my students’ favorites.


    1. // Reply

      Ah, The Alchemist. Because I didn’t know the Bible, I didn’t know that all the cool stuff in the book was straight-up biblical awesomeness. In a way the book sent me down a long hard path that seemed to lead nowhere in search of more truth.

      When I turned up at church in early 2013 and finally read the Bible, I was mad at first thinking, “Why didn’t the author point to where to get more of the good stuff?” Then I got to thinking (spoiler alert – stop here is you plan to read The Alchemist), it’s just like in the book. The treasure was right there under his nose, but he had to journey first to become the person he had to become to then get the treasure with the right heart. Similarly, there was always a Bible under my roof (like in Ana’s in A Season), but I didn’t think it was vital to read it. It wasn’t a treasure to me. For the character arc of my life, if you will, it was important to journey “alone” first and then come to faith to become who I needed to become. Now I’m cool with the book again. Paulo and I can be friends. lol… 🙂

      Anyway. I wish I’d been in that class. How fun.

      Thank you for your enthusiasm and support, Karen! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the novel 🙂


  4. // Reply

    any kind of ballroom dancing, I love to watch. can’t dance much though.


    1. // Reply

      Hi! How fun! Last year my husband and I took some ballroom dancing classes. It’s so hard! It was book research for The Song of the Desert Willow. There’s some serious waltzing in that one. Actually, no… It’s not very serious. Just fun 🙂


  5. // Reply

    So fun to be here, Beth! My lunch break is over. I will be back at the end of the day 🙂


  6. // Reply

    I’m not a dancer, but I love watching others dance. Patricia, I loved reading about your experiences. I’m looking forward to reading your book. Thanks, Beth, for the spotlight.


    1. // Reply

      Hi Winnie! Thanks! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the book 🙂


    1. // Reply

      Hi Connie! I bet you’re not an awful dancer… I bet Claus could choreograph something just for you. Something that would suit your strengths 🙂


  7. // Reply

    We are ballet, ballet all the way here. Elizabeth (11) does two classes a week and has a private lesson and has loved ballet since she was three. In fact, other than her name, ballet was the first word she knew how to spell!

    Lovely interview, ladies. ❤️


    1. // Reply

      Hi! Thanks! Cute story to go with a cute ballerina. Yay, Elizabeth 🙂


  8. // Reply

    I enjoy watching Celtic dance and ball room and ballet.


    1. // Reply

      Me too! All three 🙂 I’ve never tried dancing Celtic though. It looks so hard!


    1. // Reply

      I bet you could 🙂 <3


  9. // Reply

    You should take ballroom classes! It’s so much fun. I wish we were still going… 🙂


  10. // Reply

    I like watching ballroom dancing. I think it’s because I have two left feet.


    1. // Reply

      Lots of votes for ballroom dancing. Wow! I like the movie “Shall We Dance” – my first look into ballroom <3


  11. // Reply

    I enjoy watching ballroom and Irish dancing. Ballroom dancing is so elegant and romantic. 🙂


  12. // Reply

    I love watching ballet. Especially little girls, it’s so adorable!


  13. // Reply

    I’m not super coordinated so I usually keep my enthusiastic dancing to my kitchen, but I love watching ballet, modern dance, street dance, swing dance, tap dance, hip-hop.


    1. // Reply

      That’s awesome. I like watching tap too. It amazes me – I can’t…


  14. // Reply

    I think Jazz is my favourite style of dance. My daughter dances modern, ballet and jazz and so I love watching any of her dances but jazz just is more colorful and expressive to me.


    1. // Reply

      I admire people who can dance jazz. So fun and free. I’m too stiff though… :/


    1. // Reply

      So true! There was a salsa place in my German neighborhood in Wiesbaden that was amazing. A basement club where Germans took their salsa dancing very seriously. It was beautiful to watch 🙂 I wonder if it’s still there. Hmm…


  15. // Reply

    Love watching ballroom, especially when my kids are dancing.


    1. // Reply

      That must be beautiful 🙂


  16. // Reply

    My parents wouldn’t let me take dance lessons as a child because they were already spending tons of money on classical piano lessons (from 5 yrs old thru college). But, ohhhh, how I wanted to dance, too! As an adult, I took ballroom dancing lessons & loved it. I really enjoy watching ballet, especially around the holidays. I also think couple’s ice skating looks very much like dancing. How I wish I could dance!!


    1. // Reply

      You should take ballet classes. It’s not too late. Adult beginner classes are super popular right now. Even large ballet companies are promoting such programs. Here’s the San Francisco Ballet program: https://www.sfballet.org/school/adult-ballet 🙂


  17. // Reply

    I don’t dance, personally, but I LOVE to watch all kinds of dance especially Latin, ballroom and ballet. =) I don’t have a talent for it, which I think is why I like to watch it so much!! I appreciate other people’s talent for it!


    1. // Reply

      Hi, Britney! You should try one day. You never know 🙂


  18. // Reply

    I am a big fan of Dancing With The Stars so I have become familiar with many different dances. I love to watch the professionals teach rookies!


    1. // Reply

      That’s an awesome show! 🙂


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