In honor of the release of Dancing With Ana, her first published book, Nicole Barker allowed me to ask her some questions for an author interview. So read on to hear about Dancing With Ana and learn a little more about her. The Dancing with Ana website is here.
How did it feel to see all of your hard work come to fruition with the publishing of this book?
Surreal. There are moments when I look at the book and don't connect myself as the author. The disbelief is slowly fading though..
Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?
If I have time to read, I write. Don't get me wrong, I love reading, but I'm not the type to devour a book in one sitting. The books I read sit on my nightstand and I go to them when I need an escape.
What is your favorite room in your house?
My bedroom, always has been.
What is your favorite spot to read in?
The bath, surrounded by candles and good smells..I know it's cliché but it's awesome.
What is your favorite snack food?
Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?
I attempt to have a schedule. If something comes to me, I stop whatever I'm doing and write. I've been known to write on napkins at restaurants, the back of receipts...my hand.
Where did the idea for Dancing With Ana come from?
I'm not sure actually, it just came to me. I wanted to write a story about the incredible bond that exists between true friends. The rest just came as I wrote...there were days the book wrote itself, I was just the vehicle.
Where did your character of Beth come from?
Once I realized that Beth was going to go down this journey, I wanted her to be as “normal” as possible. It's hard for society to digest a situation like this when the victim resembles a friend or a family member. The attitude of, “Why would she do such a thing? She has a perfect life!” is very prevalent. The thing is, most people don't wear their pain on the outside.
Where did the title "Dancing With Ana" come from?
If you put yourself in a room with a hundred people, the chances are pretty good that one of them will appear anorexic. She/he will be terribly thin, bones protruding, limp hair, dull skin..empty eyes. Chances are there's another ten people merely dancing with ana. Their pain, their suffering, isn't as obvious. Anorexia is a brilliant disease. It slips in quite unnoticed and slowly takes over. Some victims only dance for a little while, then leave on their own. Others can't leave without help. Some never leave.
You wrote this book in a way that appeals to young adults obviously, but also I think it appeals to the older generation too. We all remember our teenage years and the tough issues we faced. But I think the key was you didn't distance the older reader with too much of now's technology and phrases, but kept it fresh for the younger reader too (I know the girls text, but a lot of us do and for those that don't the texts read like phone conversations too). Was this intentional?
It was very intentional. I wanted this to be a contemporary story that could be respected and appreciated by a young adult audience. At the same time, I knew there are many people like me who remember their teen years and could relate. I also wanted it to be a book that both parents and their kids could have in common.
What book are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on another young adult book. This one takes place in the Northeast. My main character is Lily and she has two best friends. There's a love story...
Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?
Yes! Updates are always posted on the website. There is also a Dancing With Ana Facebook group that receives regular updates, or you can follow me on Twitter.
Any last words on Dancing With Ana or anything else that you would like to sha
I loved writing this book and I hope the readers enjoy it. I also love hearing from my readers!
Thank you Nicole for answering my interview questions! Dancing With Ana can be purchased now and I highly recommend it. My review is coming - but here's a hint - it gets 5.0/5.0! A Giveaway is also coming so stay tuned.