I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran
Published by Lion Fiction
18 September 2015
I’m delighted to host Beth Moran on My Reading Corner for my turn on the blog tour. I’m currently reading I Hope You Dance and it is very good indeed. My review will be on the blog soon.
I hope you enjoy Beth’s post on how her reading has changed since becoming an author – and please do take a look at the other stops on the blog tour.
Time to read
As a former scientist, one of my biggest concerns when I started writing novels was my lack of any training whatsoever. What a wonderful relief to find the advice most best-selling authors give is simply to read, and write, as much as you can.
Read as much as you can?
For years I`d been feeling guilty about how much time I spent reading. Now it I could call it work!
Now, I had to read, whether I liked it or not!
However, an unexpected change has occurred since I starting writing – and reading – professionally.
Spending so much time creating my own stories, I end up with much less time to read other people`s.
Partly it`s because on novel writing days I have to keep focussed on my own work, to avoid subconsciously imitating the author I`m reading that day.
I`m also growing fussier – once upon a time I would race through every book I started, usually two or even three a week. If I didn`t like it, I`d just read faster. Now, I find myself taking more time, assessing plot lines and writing style, noticing choice of adjectives and character development as I go. I`m more aware of the effort and the thought and care poured into what I`m reading. I have so much more appreciation for a story that can sweep me away, to where sentence structure and plot twists and use of adverbs becomes unnoticeable.
I`m also trying to be more deliberate in my choice of books – ploughing through classics I wouldn`t normally have bothered with, picking up books other people think are brilliant, even if they aren`t my usual cup of tea. Searching for the kind of author I dream of one day becoming.
It`s like reading was my first child, and then writing came along, and I had to learn to balance the two. I don`t mean to compare – it would only lead to disappointment – yet I can no longer be with one and not think of the other.
So, now I have less time to read, but should be reading more, how do I fit it in?
That`s where my scientist background comes in useful. I have a well-thought out methodology, and I`m sticking to it:
• I don`t iron. I never “do the ironing”. Occasionally, if wanting to wear a dress, I may spend thirty seconds flicking an iron over it first. Yes, you can tell. No, I don`t care. I once tried ironing my kid`s clothes to see if it made me a better person/woman/mum. It didn`t. It made me a grumpier one when I found the clothes in scrumpled heaps on their bedroom floors a few hours later.
• I read for breakfast. I`m not a morning person. For decades I got up at the last possible minute, chugging down black tea while rushing around trying to get ready on time. A few years ago, sick of starting every day stressed and frantic, I reset my alarm to half an hour earlier. Now I sit for twenty minutes, eat a bagel, sip my tea and read. Something non-fiction, usually. Something that reminds me of what matters, or fires me up for the day. I sometimes read too long and end up having to rush anyway. But it`s worth it. Whatever else happens that day I`ve read something, and fed my soul as well as my stomach.
• I don`t have the internet on my phone. In those moments of nothing-time – waiting rooms, airports, coffee breaks – I don`t check my twitter feed, or the latest score, or my emails. Instead, I pull out a book and read, or a pen and paper and write. If I don`t have those things to hand I think about a story instead.
I don`t paint my nails or make my bed. I`ve never watched a “scripted reality TV show”. My garden is a mess and I`ve given up making my own bread.
I also have a tendency to go far too long without seeing my friends, frequently ignore the one million things on my to-do list and don`t get out into this incredible world as often as I should.
But. I get to read. And the more I read, and write, I`m starting to kill off the nagging guilt that I`m pretending this is my job, and instead delight and marvel that it really, actually is.
‘My mother always told me I had lousy timing. Of course, she was talking about the Viennese waltz, the Argentinian tango and the foxtrot. My current timing issue involved five Chinese businessmen and a psychological breakdown.’
Since the death of her partner Fraser in a car crash 18 months ago, Ruth has been struggling to cope with a never-ending mountain of his secret debts while trying to hold it together for her 14 year old daughter Maggie and keep on top of things at work – despite her boss’s sleazy advances. One morning, she has had enough. After a very dramatic and public resignation from her job, there is only one place left to go.
Ruth arrives back at her parents’ home in Southwell, Nottinghamshire after 8 years away – exhausted, thin, and past caring. Will her well-meaning whirlwind of a mother manage to inspire her youngest daughter to seek new adventures and new friendships? Will her estranged father, to whom she has always been a disappointment, ever approve of her and his unconventional wild-haired granddaughter? Will the pink-cagoul-clad Ruby’s friendship with her father threaten her parents’ future happiness? Will the attractive and persistent Dr Carl win Ruth’s heart? Or is there still a chance for Ruth with the boy next door, the childhood sweetheart who broke her heart 15 years ago?
As Ruth settles back unsteadily into life in Southwell, new bonds are formed and secrets are shared. Can Ruth be persuaded to hope, to love and to dance again?
I Hope You Dance is a feel-good tale of love, loss, friendship and new beginnings – guaranteed to bring a smile to your face this autumn.