Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE DANCE - Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley - One Free Book

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 Gary 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 book.

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 Gary’s 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 Branson, Missouri, discussing the project. We laughed constantly, and I can honestly say working with him has been a joy ever since.

How did collaborating with Gary impact you?
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 America, called Flight of the Earls. Really enjoying it.

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, Florida, 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

Gary’s website is done with his son, Greg, who’s also an amazing author and marriage counselor. It’s simply:

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

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Jo said...

Wow, this sounds like it is quite a book. I have added it to my wish list.

Jo from Southern Arizona

pol said...

I enjoy reading books by this author, great stories. Looking forward to reading "The Dance".
when finding the title for this book did you think of Garth Brooks song or was this just by chance they are both the same?
Paula O(
a reader and fan from Ga

Dan Walsh said...

Paula, Garth's song wasn't a factor. It really came from the dance metaphor Gary and his sons used in the book, The DNA of Relationships.

But hey, if it gets made into a movie, maybe we'll have to consider that song :).

Amy C said...

I'm looking forward to reading something by Dan. Have heard great things about him.
Amy C

KayM said...

I am so excited about this book--coming from Gary Smalley, whom I've respected for years and from Dan Walsh and his wonderful writing. Thank you for offering a copy. I live in East Tennessee.

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville, Tx

Bonnie said...

I can't wait to read this book. I've enjoyed Gary Smalley for years and Dan has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I live in Orlando, Florida, so I enjoy Dan's settings as well.

Dan Walsh said...

Bonnie, the entire Restoration series will be set in FL, except for some of the subplots that will take place elsewhere (like Italy in book 2).

rubynreba said...

I would enjoy The Dance. Nice interview and review.
Beth from Iowa

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I'd love the chance to win/read it.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Patty said...

I don't think I've read any of Dan's books. I know I have one on my Kindle waiting to be read, but haven't gotten around to it yet! This one sounds really good.


EJ said...

This book from 2 great authors is definitely on my to read list. Elaine from Iowa

apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4ufn [at] gmail [dot] com

Sarah said...

Enter me!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Roanna said...

I would like to be able to read this book.

Please enter me.

Roanna from Ohio

Judy said...

The Dance has been on my wish list for several weeks. I'd be thrilled to win a copy of it.

Judy B from Indiana

Merry said...

The Dance sounds so interesting, I'd love to win it!
Merry in TX

Jackie Tessnair said...

This sounds like a very interesting book.I would love to win it.Thanks...Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

Dan Walsh said...

Hope you get your wish, Judy!

Mama Cat said...

Would love to read this book! I have not yet read any of Mr. Walsh's but have read the series that Mr. Smalley wrote with Karen Kingsbury. Sounds like this new team is awesome! Jeanie in Phoenix