This week I am featuring Katherine Locke whose debut unique NA novel releases April 13th.
Second Position by Katherine Locke
Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight...
Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.
When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had... or destroy the fragile recoveries they've only started to make.
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Interview with Katherine Locke
Why did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. But I decided to become an author—that is, a published professional writer—in 2007. That’s when I first realized the impact stories had made on my life and how important they had been to me surviving high school, learning to navigate friendships, imagining, dreaming, learning about different places. I wanted to be a part of that process, to be the creator of something that made life a little easier for someone else. And because I like sharing. I think it’s a fun part of the process of creating art!How do you balance writing with other things in your life?
I don’t have too many other things to balance right now! I’m lucky that I’m in a time in my life that I can let writing take over a large portion of my free time and still have a social life, still work, still keep my life going.What is your favourite thing about being an author?
The broader writing and reading community. My writer friends are some of the best people I know.What are your favourite books?
Oh, my answer to this changes day by day, I think. But there are a couple of books that always make the list. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Feed by Mira Grant, Sula by Toni Morrison, Among Others by Jo Walton, Harry Potter (whole series) by J.K. Rowling, everything Tamora Pierce ever wrote, and Fire by Kristin Cashore.Are there any books/authors that inspired you to write?
Madeleine L’Engle was hugely influential on me as a writer. I don’t know if her influence comes across so much in my New Adult books, but in my Young Adult books (yet unpublished!), definitely. Mira Grant in her willingness to play with structure. I think she’s a really bold writer and I admire that a lot.You have spoken before online about your struggles with anxiety and depression. How does this affect what you write?
This is a great question and I’m so glad someone asked this! I am pretty open with my struggles because I think they’re not uncommon amongst artists, but also not uncommon amongst people across the board. And I wish that I had known more successful adults who talked about anxiety and depression when I was a teenager struggling with it. I think that would have helped enormously.I have a tendency to let some of my struggles with mental illness bleed onto the page. In Second Position, Aly suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and is recovering from an eating disorder (different than my own). It was important to me to represent these struggles on the page for the reader who might not read my blog, but needs to know that Aly—like them—struggles some days more than others, but ultimately is fighting for balance and is as worthy of love and stability and happiness as they are.
Describe your book in one sentence.A former ballet dancer and a ballet dancer on leave struggle against psychological and physical barriers to reclaim their romance and their ballet careers four years after a car accident tore them apart.
Where did you get the idea for Second Position, did anything inspire you to write it?I worked on this idea for awhile, first as a Young Adult novel that just wasn’t working and I couldn’t figure out why. Then when New Adult became a thing, I realized that it gave me that opportunity to age them up, without losing their immaturity and struggles to deal with the real world.
I rarely talk about this part, but there was a second factor. I started the original story, the YA version in 2009, and put it down for years. I didn’t think about the book and pick it up again until 2013 after a breakup. I wanted to believe in Happily Ever Afters and the possibility of them and so I wrote myself a story. I think that was the best thing I did for myself that year.What made you decide to write a novel set in the world of Ballet?
I was always interested in writing a book about an elite sport, like ballet, where the athletes train from a very young age and essentially surrender their adolescence to their profession. I wanted to know what happened when I took that away from two characters.What would you say makes your book unique and worth reading?
Physically disabled hero! Zed is a left leg above the knee amputee. (This isn’t a spoiler. It’s on the first page, I promise!). He’s not an alphahole as the genre has started to call those characters. He’s not always good at being there for Aly, and he doesn’t always know what he’s doing, but he tries. He’s always trying.Psychologically disabled heroine! Aly struggles with anxiety and recovering from an eating disorder. And authentically. She’s in therapy throughout the book and she has a competent therapist, something you don’t see in fiction too often. He’s my favourite secondary character!
And banter! There’s lots of banter. Tweet me when you get to the “Keep your tutu on” scene.And because I think that my book is different than other New Adult books out there, in a good way, and adds something to the genre. I love New Adult. I love the promise of it. But I’d also love to see more lyrical, thoughtful, messy loves depicted on the page.
Is there any specific message you wanted to convey in the book?I hope that readers take away two things:
1. It’s important to forgive yourself. For the little things, for the big things, for messing up in past relationships, for messing up in this one. I think we’re very good at blaming ourselves for things, and very good for blaming others too. Forgiveness is something you have to teach yourself. It isn’t easy, but I promise it’s worth it.
2. There are very few destinations in this world. There’s no endgoal or endpoint to love or recovery. You work at both of those every day. And when you need help, there’s help out there. It’s okay to ask. Asking for help is an act of forgiveness.What are your plans for future books?
The sequel to Second Position is called FINDING CENTER and it’s about Aly and Zed (Second Position does NOT end on a cliffhanger, I promise! Just more Zaly coming your way) too. It comes out in August! Beyond that, I can’t say yet!Do you have any hobbies and Interests unrelated to books?
Yes! I foster cats and kittens for Philadelphia animal rescues. I’m a lifelong horseback rider (eventing and dressage). I love skiing, hiking, and kayaking. Also if there were Nap Olympics, I would medal.Would you ever consider putting these (answer to above) into any of your books?
I mighhhttttt be working on a book about horseback riders right now but I can’t guarantee anything comes of it! It’s in the early stages of drafting. And there’s a cat in the YA I’m drafting right now!
FUN STUFFIf you could meet any one author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Madeleine L’Engle. She changed my life.Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
My left arm is one inch shorter than my right arm. Exactly. (I broke a growth plate in a horseback riding fall when I was 10.)What is your favourite food?
Mexican food. Specifically, enchiladas. But really, anything Mexican. Oh and fish tacos. I was raised in a town with a huge Mexican migrant population and was utterly spoiled. Nothing tastes as good as food from home.What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Oh gosh. Um. Most people would say my travels to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia might count. I got lost on a competitive trail ride one time and rode my poor pony for like six extra miles. Oops.If you could be any supernatural creature which would you choose?
Does the Loch Ness monster count? If so, I pick Nessie.