Monday, October 7, 2013

"Black Adagio" by Wendy Potocki

Black Adagio
by Wendy Potocki

Black Adagio by Wendy Potocki will be on tour 7-14 October thanks to Bewitching Book Tours. Today Wendy stops at Books Direct. You can read my interview with the author below. Make sure you visit all the other stops on the tour.

Melissa Solange is presented the chance of a lifetime. Chosen as a member of a new dance company, she works tirelessly perfecting the one element of ballet she's never mastered - the adagio. As she rehearses, a dark force watches. Resurrected by the surprise addition of a classic ballet to the repertoire, the sinister work is thought to be cursed - destroying anyone who attempts to dance it.
When the production's lead dancers begin to disappear, the old warning is taken more seriously. A death worshipping cult called The Innocents is blamed, but she is not so sure. They may be the scapegoat for an ultimate evil living in the woods of Holybrook. Desperate for an answer, she searches for what lurks in the shadows of the old trees before she becomes the next victim of the Danse Macabre.

Keeping track of the passengers that departed, all the stops in town were completed. The last one at the outskirts of town remained. Trying to figure out why Barbara was traveling into the middle of nowhere, he ruled out that she could be headed to the school. She wasn’t a dancer, and evening was much too late to be wandering around in the dark. Then there were those woods. It made no sense for her to be going near there. No one in their right mind would be going into that forest alone.
Alone! That was it! She was going to meet someone, but why was she doing it at this time of night? Perhaps she was cheating on the man she’d left him for. If so, his heart went out to the cuckolded husband. He hated to admit it, but he could well imagine her engaging in this kind of betrayal. If she could do it to him, she was capable of doing it to anyone.
Out on the open highway, the vehicle raced at a clip. Its windshield wipers batting away, the smattering of snow drove into the glass. He stepped on the gas, his car’s tires digging in. Gripping the wheel, the heat was now shooting out and thawing his frozen extremities. His thighs still tensed, it wasn’t from the cold, only the gravity of the situation. Certain that he could press them into further action, they wouldn’t fail him. He was old, but not dead. There was no way he’d miss this opportunity.
His palms were sweating, his brow becoming moist. Old feelings surged up from the soul holding his sanity like fragile glass. His eyes already tearing up with regrets, he wondered if there was a promise of a future. While he was interested in hearing her explanation, what he really wanted was for her to change her mind.
He was being a fool. His friends and family had told him that over and over again. Even with drumming it into his head, all his chances to be happy were let go like grains of sand from a hand opening on a beach. He didn’t want to be with anyone else. It wouldn’t be fair to pretend someone else was her. 
Easing down on the brake, the final stop was up ahead. Pulling to the side of road, he parked, waiting for the inevitable. Withdrawing from the car like a cobra from a basket, he wrapped his arms over his chest, beating his arms slightly for warmth. Hopping from leg to leg, the bus came to a halt. His eyes level with the passenger that emerged, he finally saw her.
“Barbara!” he screamed, the sound covered by the loud rumble of the bus resuming its rounds.
Spinning her head around, she met his eyes. Her face taking on an expression of fright mixed with determination, she took off for the woods. Her high boots easily cutting through the deep snow, his legs had trouble lifting, but he nonetheless tried to follow the footsteps that carved out a trail.
“Barbara, please stop! I only want to talk to you!” he pleaded, “You owe me that much!”
Arms flailing from a slip, he recaptured his balance. The lip of the woods ahead, Barbara was surprisingly fleet of foot. Only a few feet ahead of him, with a tremendous effort, he shifted into a higher gear. His legs pumping forward, his arms aided in him catching up with his elusive muse.
At the foot of the path leading into the forest was where he caught her. His hand groping forward, he snatched a hold of the synthetic white material, not letting go. His other hand joined in, gaining even a better hold on her wrist. Spinning her around, he stared in horror. Unable to speak, he broke the silence with a scream.

Book Trailer

Black Adagio satisfies on a deep level my love for horror & mystery. Set in a School for Dance, deep in the woods, Melissa Solange is a young dancer who wishes to be a Prima Ballerina. She faces a growing terror as she is swept along to an ending she must summon all her strength to face. I believe it is a classic... because not only its plot, but the characters brought to life, are unforgettable. The dance descriptions show the author to be deeply rooted in ballet. The suspense builds & builds till the final crescendo. Loved the ending... a must read for those who appreciate a well-written tale of mystery, horror, beauty.

Interview With the Author
Hi Wendy Potocki, thanks for joining me today to discuss your latest book, Black Adagio.

Which writers have influenced you the most?

That's a big list! What age group do you recommend your book for?
Black Adagio would be for anyone 15 and up. It does contain some grisly deaths, but is pretty clean in terms of sexuality and language.
What sparked the idea for this book?

The idea came out of the blue. Many years ago, I was just walking down the street when this horrific image came to me. It was of a young ballerina being attacked by a creature that you’d do best to avoid. It played like a movie in my head. At the time, I hadn’t even contemplated writing. Nonetheless, that scene stayed with me. I suppose the idea was officially planted. When I finally did decide to clack away on the keyboard in an attempt to spin dark tales, that memory came back. I realized it was time to flesh the story out and that’s just what I did.

So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me, it’s the idea. The idea just sort of floats in, and then over the course of the next few days, the characters start coming to me. Not all of them, but the protagonist and ones central to the story. When I know the lead character’s favorite color and can hear dialogue, I begin writing.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Without a doubt, the editing! It was excruciatingly painful. I wrote back-stories of every character - and we’re talking detailed. Of course, these events had nothing whatever to do with the story I was telling, but it allowed me to dig deeply into the psyche of each. Because I went this extra mile, I knew what motivated them and why they behaved the way they did.

But all that had to go away. While writing the book only took three months, the editing went on forever. It reached the point where I was ready to throw the manuscript, the laptop, and me out the window. The only thing that prevented it from happening was realizing I was on the first floor and wouldn’t get that hurt. Otherwise, I would have taken the plunge.

Well, I'm glad you didn't! So how long did it take you to write this book?
Three months to write the book. But the editing process put it in the ballpark of over a year to achieve a finished product.

How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I want readers to feel the passion of dance. It’s been a lifelong obsession of mine, and I so wanted to convey the feeling of urgency that every dancer experiences. An artist needs to dance; they don’t just choose to do it. It’s part of their DNA and leads to the sacrifices they make in order to become the best they can be.

Melissa Solange demonstrates this beautifully. She embodies the discipline and the wanting of her dream to be realized so badly that she’s willing to go through anything to achieve her goal. It’s this drive that makes her tick. It’s as important as breathing air to dancers like Melissa.

What is your writing routine?
Generally, I start writing about 11:00 AM. I try to work straight through to 4 or 5. I often work on multiple projects, so it’s not strictly new writing. There may be editing going on.

How did you get your book published?
I’m a self-published author so the method is much easier. I generally use Amazon and Createspace for print copies.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

I took a course in personal training and learned that there’s something called “exercise specificity”. Basically, it means that if you want to learn how to swim, you’re going to have to get in the pool and swim. The same applies to writing.

Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published or just starting to hone your craft, you have to write in order to write. Write anything you can. Take on projects that you don’t think you can tackle just for the experience. For instance, if someone wants you to write a blog on a subject that you don’t believe is your forte, just do it. If the words aren’t forthcoming, push and write something down. Anything. Just get it done.

The effort may not be your best, but you’re accomplishing several things. The first is developing a writing muscle. This will allow you to be flexible and so much more fluent in your work. Next, you’ll be broadening your horizons and growing by doing. That’s so important. Lastly, you’ll be learning how to be professional. If you desire a career, this is crucial.

Many times you’ll be called upon to write a blurb, a marketing piece or redo your bio on an ASAP basis. If you back out of those opportunities, you’ll only be hurting yourself so learn how to write in all ways, not just the ways you think are fun.

Great advice, Wendy! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Walking, schmoozing, talking on the phone, visiting Starbucks, and conducting dance interviews. I also have been known to show up for a performance or two. I make a great audience member. I applaud until my hands bleed.

What does your family think of your writing?
Well, one of my biggest supporters is my sister. While it’s fantastic, I’ve learned that not everyone is as in love with me as she happens to be. Why? It’s a mystery to me - and to her. And while I value her opinion of my work, I’ve also learned to take everything she says with a grain of salt, but I like salt so it works out fine.

That great. Did you enjoy school as a child?

Yes, I loved school. I loved learning and my teachers and looked forward to starting a new school year. My favorite class? English.
Did you like reading when you were a child?

I loved to read when I was a child. First, my parents read fairy tales to me at bedtime. Then I read them myself. After that, I progressed. At one point in my life, I was reading a book a day.

Sounds like me! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It wasn’t until much later in life. In the 90s, I went through a spiritual searching. I read everything I could on the occult, religion, magic, alchemy, physics, and a variety of esoteric subjects. The outgrowth of this was writing my first book called The Chrysalis State. The story was based on an idea proposed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The concept is that when we die, we dream the dreams we deserve. For some this will mean heaven, but for others, this will mean hell.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I suppose they’ve made me what I am, but I really try to keep my personal issues out of my writing. My most important job is to let my characters speak. I try my best to do this and not interject myself into the story.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I loved this book and the entire series so much. I don’t know how many times I read it. Every night, I’d pick a passage and reread it. Whether it was when Alec spied the horse on the ship, or when he first rode him on the island, or when he won the race, I just couldn’t get enough. It was such a good book.

Who were your favorite authors as a child?
Walter Farley, of course. Then there was Jack London and Agatha Christie. I suppose Ms. Christie’s work isn’t something children normally read, but I loved mysteries and for some reason loved reading hers.

Don't worry, I read her too! Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I don’t hear from them that often, but when I do, I find them to be very kind. They’re usually very effusive in their praise. I just get very flustered when compared to someone that I admire. I don’t know quite how to respond. Can’t very well say, “No, you’re wrong! I don’t write that well!”
Let me put it this way, it’s humbling.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Oh, so many things. I’m finishing Thrill. It’s a horror chiller-diller. I’m also working on a fantasy thriller series under a pen name. If that isn’t enough, I’m writing two mysteries that will also be written under a nom de plume.

As for horror, I’ve started two other novels, ZaSo and All the Women Are Witches. The Virgin and One Night in the Woods are on the backburner, as is a new horror series whose title hasn’t been announced.

I’m spreading my wings and trying new things, so expect the unexpected.

Sounds like you're keeping busy! Thank you so much for stopping by for a chat today, Wendy. Have fun on the rest of your tour!

About the Author
Wendy Potocki lives and writes in New York City. If that isn't scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale - and in the crevices of her keyboard.
Named one of the Top Ten "New" Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, she has six self-published novels. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her website. Her next planned projects are Thrill, The Virgin, and ZaSo, a Gothic tale of horror.
In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbucks Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone, and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet.


Book Tour Schedule

October 7 - Books Direct - Interview
October 7 - So Much To Write - Guest blog
October 8 - Sharing Links and Wisdom - Interview
October 8 - Book Worm & More - Spotlight
October 9 - Books to Get Lost In - Guest blog and Review
October 9 - Pembroke Sinclair - Interview
October 10 - Mythical Books - Interview
October 10 - Sapphyria's Book Reviews - Spotlight
October 10 - Trips Down Imagination Road - Review
October 11 - Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews - Spotlight and Review
October 14 - Zombie Girl - Guest post and Review
October 14 - Deb Sanders - Spotlight