Readers, I was very excited for my friend Dan Walsh when he was invited by Gary Smalley to co-write a series of novels with him. Today, we're talking to Dan, who is one of my favorite male Christian fiction writers.
Welcome back, Dan. I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
The inspiration for The Dance came as I read a major best-selling book
had written in 2007 with his sons, Greg and Michael. It’s called The DNA of
Relationships. We decided to draw the theme for the first book in our
Restoration series from this DNA book. I hadn’t read it before but, to me, it is
one of the best books on relationships I’ve ever read. While reading it, the
whole story for The Dance came into view. They use the idea of couples dancing
as a wonderful metaphor to illustrate some of the key relational truths in the
Did you find it easy to work together on it?
At first, the idea of working with Gary Smalley was intimidating. He’s kind of a living legend, with over six million books in print and eight million DVDs on marriage and relationships in circulation, not to mention he’s been interviewed by every national TV and radio talk show in the country. Then there’s the fact that
first book, If Only He Knew,
literally saved my marriage thirty years ago. But right off the bat, Gary set me at ease. We
spent several days together at his home in ,
discussing the project. We laughed constantly, and I can honestly say working
with him has been a joy ever since. Branson, Missouri
How did collaborating with
impact you? Gary
I’ve learned a lot from
Gary. You’d have to be very dull not to; he’s
a very wise man. Plus he’s also extremely gracious, humble, and generous with
his encouragement. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover he really
practices what he preaches behind the scenes. He has a great relationship with
his wife, adult children and their spouses, and his grandchildren. He works
hard at this, and it shows. Being around him provokes me to want to do better
in my own relationships.
What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
Probably just not having him down the hall as I write.
Gary insisted I write the
book. He said he loves my books and didn’t want to change a thing. So I sent
him two chapters at a time by email attachment, and he’d send me back his
thoughts and ideas written in red. He always got back to me the same day. Then
I’d make changes and keep writing. We’ve got quite a rhythm now, having already
finished the second book, The Promise.
I’ve just begun to write Book 3 and I’m really looking forward to it.
I hope you’ll let me feature the next books on the blog, too. What are you reading right now?
I’m doing quite a bit of research for Book 3 of the Restoration series. I’m also reading Sarah Sundin’s upcoming novel, On Distant Shores, which I will easily endorse. For fun I’m reading Michael Reynold’s first novel, an historical about the Irish immigrating to
called Flight of the Earls. Really
How did you choose your characters’ names?
I don’t have a process that people could easily replicate. More of a trial and error approach. I often begin with one set of names and change them several times in the first fifty pages, as I get to know the characters more.
Would you want to work on another book together?
Definitely. We have to finish Books 3 and 4, and there is an option to continue the series after that. We’ve enjoyed working together so much, we’ve begun to discuss collaborating on a new nonfiction series.
That sounds like an awesome opportunity, Dan. What a blessing! What do you want to tell us about the book?
The excellent review we got from Publishers Weekly summarizes the book quite well: “Marilyn Anderson, after 27 years of marriage, leaves her husband. ‘I’ve dropped hint after hint, clue after clue,’ she says in her note. Jim, a successful businessman, is clueless, but, once over his anger, he begins soul-searching with help from his children and retired dance instructor Audrey Windsor. Marilyn, meanwhile, finds a job and a roommate and begins dance lessons. Throw in a well-meaning uncle, their daughter Michele’s wedding, their sons’ questions, a demanding church deacon, a dashing dance instructor, and a hurricane, and readers will definitely come away satisfied and shedding tears at the end. Mixing fiction’s emotion and nonfiction’s teaching works splendidly here.”
Please give us the first page of the book.
Marilyn Anderson drove her car into the charming downtown section of River Oaks,
holding her cell phone three inches out from her face. She hated talking on the
phone with Jim when he was upset. She’d been dreading this day for months. And
this call. Things like this should be said in person; she knew that. But she
also knew that would never happen. She’d never muster up the nerve.
Sitting there at a stoplight, she looked at the phone. Jim was inside it. Him and his angry little voice.
“Please, Marilyn,” Jim said. “I’m just getting back from a horrible lunch. Another tenant is canceling their lease. You have no idea the pressure I’m under right now. Can’t this wait till later?”
Marilyn sighed. She wanted to yell back her reply but didn’t dare. “No, it can’t wait,” she said.
“Well, it’s going to have to. We’ll talk about this when I get home. Love you, bye.” He hung up.
Love you, bye? Did he really just say that?
The light turned green. Marilyn gently applied pressure to the gas pedal. I have to do this. There’s no other way. Tears flowed down her face, but she refused to turn the car around. To silence the guilt that had been hammering her all day, she blurted out, “God, I know you understand me. Even if no one else does, I know you do.”
I’m glad this book is on my table right now. I will start reading it later today. Where can our readers find you on the Internet?
My website is the easiest place. My blog is there, as well as buttons for connecting with me on places like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. It’s http://danwalshbooks.com
Thank you, Dan, for sharing this book with us today.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Dance, The: A Novel (The Restoration Series) - paperback
Dance, The (The Restoration Series Book #1): A Novel - Kindle
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