It takes a village to get a book out into the world and I am very glad to have Julie Mayerson Brown in my village.
I first met Julie when my writers group read an early draft of her second novel. Julie handled the tough topic of sexual abuse with a sensitive touch, as she tackled family dynamics and the implications of the choices we make—themes I love to read and write about.
Since then, I’ve got to know Julie on a personal level. (We both like to talk and eat, so we’re a great match.) So, when she asked me to review an advanced copy of her new novel Long Dance Home, I jumped at the chance. That book comes out today, so I talked to Julie about her inspiration, the circuitous route to publication, and a philanthropic project that is dear to her heart.
What first inspired you to write Long Dance Home?
I’ve always loved ballet, although I was NOT a good dancer. A few years ago, I read an article about a former ballerina, and my imagination went from there. Why did she quit? What did she do after that? How did quitting ballet affect her life? The story didn’t go anywhere, so I set it aside. Then, one day I pulled it from the bottom drawer (actually, a hidden file somewhere in my computer) and started again. But this time I made it a holiday story. Once I had Christmas and a small town and a loving, crazy family to work with, the story really came together for me.
The story centers around a production of The Nutcracker. Why did you choose that ballet?
It’s my favorite ballet. And the book takes place takes place during the holidays—small town productions of The Nutcracker are happening everywhere. It’s a Christmas tradition!
In the story, CeCe has a lot of regrets. If you could go back and talk to your 20-something self, what’s one regret you’d warn yourself about?
Oh, we do gain wisdom as we get older, don’t we? I think I would tell myself that I’m stronger than I thought I was. My younger self took bumps in the road very seriously—I stressed myself out a lot. I had to learn resilience. Life is full of disappointments for almost everyone, and my life has been no exception. Bottom line: I’d tell my 20-something self, “Buck up, girl. You’ll get through it!”
You recently created a wonderful philanthropic project called Write to Give. Can you tell us about it?
I’m developing ways to use my writing as a way to give. The WTG mission is to “distribute books that comfort, uplift, or inspire people going through difficult times.” My first project is to donate copies of Long Dance Home to women battling breast cancer, a gift from one survivor to another, for no reason other than to connect and let them know I understand what they are going through. I provide books to non-profit organizations for them to sell, and they keep 100% of the proceeds.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Authors love to hear from readers, and I’d love to hear from you! Best way to get in touch with me is through my website: juliemayersonbrown.com. Please follow my blog – you will not be inundated with email, I promise. Most of all, please post a review of Long Dance Home on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere else you connect with friends and readers. If you enjoy my book, and I truly hope you do, please tell your friends about it. Finally, THANK YOU! Readers are writers’ best friends!
JULIE MAYERSON BROWN lives on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a rural suburb of Los Angeles, with her husband, and a pack of three lovable boxers. Her work has appeared in the Daily Breeze, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and Parenting Magazine. When not writing, Julie is cooking (homemade chicken soup is her boys’ favorite), gardening without much success, mentoring young writers, and of course – reading!
LONG DANCE HOME
What is a steadfast perfectionist to do when her life spins out of control?
Cece Camden has a plan—for work, for love, for life—and she believes she is right on track. But on her 29th birthday, her grand plan begins to unravel, and the disciplined, former ballerina’s life is turned upside down.
Newly unemployed and devastated to learn she and her boyfriend are not on the same page, Cece returns to Clearwater, her hometown in Northern California wine country, hoping to find comfort for her broken heart with her family. Being back in Clearwater only adds to her stress, however, when she reluctantly agrees to help rescue a small-town production of The Nutcracker.
Having once been the ballerina that would make Clearwater famous, Cece’s return attracts attention, inspires gossip, and forces her to examine a decision she made years before at the most vulnerable time of her life. As old wounds are opened and secrets revealed, long-held beliefs about Cece’s childhood are challenged, leading her to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and herself.
As Cece struggles to accept the truth, she lets go of one dream and discovers a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined.
Long Dance Home is out today!