I’ve got a great guest post for you all today from Cassie Stocks, author of Dance, Gladys, Dance which I reviewed yesterday (my review). I really enjoyed this novel about a great group of quirky characters and a woman trying to find her way in life with the unusual help of a ghost. It was the perfect summer read for me. Cassie joins us today to talk about Ages and Stages in Dance, Gladys, Dance…
One of the things people have commented on since the publication of Dance, Gladys, Dance is the age range of the characters in the novel – from sixteen to eighty. I didn’t really think about the ages of the characters as I was writing, for the most part, people are people to me, young/old, rich/poor makes no never mind to me. There are characteristics of each age group though, that can add something to a story, or to a life.
Frieda, the main character in her late twenties, is questioning her current life path. At some point in all our lives, usually more than once, we evaluate the path we’re travelling. These assessments tend to occur somewhere in the early to late middle stages of our lives. These can be momentous and difficult decisions and the “in-between bits” when we are neither here nor there can be bewildering.
Girl, the sixteen-year old character in the novel has the teenage invincibility and devil-may care attitude that can lead to both trouble and adventure. Sometimes I wish I still had the impetuousness of youth. A bit of deliberation can save a world of troubles, but once in a while I feel like there can be too much calculation and not enough action.
Gladys is the ghost who appears at several ages throughout the novel. To me, she represents lost stories. There are those in our lives and throughout history who’s stories are never heard. As Gladys says to Frieda, “No one knows. I never got to tell my story to anyone…No one heard us. Who was there to listen?” Everyone has a story, a tale to tell, a past hidden to most of us. Those that are lost to history take their stories with them. That, to me is one of the greatest values of fiction, as a writer and as a reader, I have the opportunity to tell and to hear the stories of lives long since past.
Mr. H. and Miss Kesstle, the older characters in the novel represent the wisdom and the sorrows that can come with age. Children believe that adults are strong, that as they grow, their tough adult skin will render them impervious to the small slights and pains of life. As they age, they find, to their surprise, that at thirty, forty, seventy-five they still feel the throes of embarrassment, shyness, hurt, any of the gamut of messy human emotions. I tried to represent that in the novel, from Miss Kesstle trying to keep up with the terminology she hears on talk radio, to Mr. H.’s regrets about his relationship with his son, that, no matter their age, they are still real people, evolving and dynamic.
Every stage of life has its distinguishing characteristics, but throughout, there are fewer differences than we might think. No matter what our age, we all share the vulnerability and vigor of our essential humanity.
About Dance, Gladys, Dance
BEAUTIFUL old phonograph for sale. 78 record player. Excellent condition. Gladys doesn’t dance anymore. She needs the
room to bake. Bring offer. Ph. 254-9885.
27-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.
The catch? Gladys is a ghost.
In Dance, Gladys, Dance, Cassie Stocks tells the uplifting story of a woman whose uncanny connection with a kindred spirit causes her to see her life in a new way—as anything but ordinary.
About Cassie Stocks
Cassie Stocks was born in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s been a biker chick, a university student, an actress, and a rich
man’s gardener; she’s worked as a waitress, an office clerk, an aircraft cleaner, has raised chickens, and has even been the caretaker of a hydroponic pot factory.
In 2002, she completed the Writing with Style workshop at the Banff Centre. Upon her return to Edmonton, she quit her job at a steel fabrication plant and applied to the Grant MacEwan Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing.
Cassie currently lives in Eston, SK, with her son Julian. Dance, Gladys, Dance her first novel.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (1 copy -Canada only, 1 copy – Int’l)
I have two copies of Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks to share with my readers. One copy is open to Canadians only (please let me know you are Canadian as entries will be separate) but the other copy is my ARC and it will be open to any reader of my blog. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well. Also let me know if you’re Canadian as your entries will be separate.
- For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway.
This giveaway is open for 1 copy to Canada and 1 copy international and I will draw for the winners on Saturday, August 25/12. Good luck!