Author Interview with Charis Marsh

Author Interview with Charis Marsh

Posted on November 2 by admin
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Today’s author interview is with Charis Marsh, author of The Ballet Confidential Series. The stories follow four teenage dancers as they enter the Vancouver International Ballet Academy. Love You, Hate You is the first in the series followed by You’re So Sweet. The third novel I Forgot To Tell You will be published in January.

Caitlyn: What inspired your to write your first book?

Charis: Hmm. It was a combination of things really. I had just graduated from high school, and I was taking a year off to work to save money for school, so I really needed a creative project to keep me from going crazy. Love You, Hate You was also an awesome way to remember tableaux from dance in fictional form, so I wouldn’t forget the moments that fascinated me as a teenager. I imagined the lives of four dancers facing struggles I recalled from dance, and created a fictional narrative out of this. It was a very absorbing thing to do, and definitely succeeded in entertaining me and getting me through a year that otherwise might have been a bit boring.

Caitlyn: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Charis: I wrote Love You, Hate You when I was seventeen, so clearly a lot has changed in my own life since then, and I think that was the biggest struggle I faced: empathizing with my characters in the same way I did before. Two years is a long time, and I wanted to make sure that there was a smooth transition from one book to the next. In fact, I actually wrote You’re So Sweet several times, as it was difficult to find the balance between growing as a writer and still maintaining the original premise and style of Love You, Hate You. I wanted to show the characters growing up, as people do grow up extremely fast at that age, but I also wanted to make sure that I was making the transition gradually instead of all at once.

Caitlyn: Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader

Charis: The most hilarious response was from my friend, Euweng. We were in Chapters and he saw Love You, Hate You on the shelf, so he picked it up and opened it in some random page, and happened to spot the word “boobs”. His face completely lit up, and he turned to me and said: “You wrote about boobs? Oh my God, why did you not tell me? I was going to read it, but now I am so enthusiastic!” So, everyone who thinks that the Ballet School Confidential series is about dance or ballet, be forewarned: it’s really about boobs.

Caitlyn:  How did you come up with the idea for this work?

Charis: I wanted to show the dancers meeting people from outside the academy, so a competition was the perfect way to arrange this. I really enjoyed writing You’re So Sweet, as the addition of the outside dance community gives the dancers chances that they wouldn’t receive at the Academy as their abilities are judged by fresh eyes. This lets all of the dancers grow a little and discover where they want to be heading with their dancing as they have new mentors to emulate.

Caitlyn: Who did you read as a young adult?

Charis: Everything, literally. I was an obsessive reader when I was a kid – well, I never really had a chance, I grew up in the kind of household where you had to move stacks of books to sit down. My mom had a bookshelf in my room that she would keep updating when I was really young, so I always had good stuff to read.

It’s hard to pick a favorite book from high school. I read a lot of dance biographies and autobiographies at this time – Gelsey Kirkland, Margot Fonteyn, Baryshnikov, Evelyn Hart, etc. I was more able to understand Shakespeare at this age, so I went from finding him utterly boring to thinking he was the coolest thing ever – I remember writing down random quotes from Romeo and Juliet all over my math homework in grade 10. A lot of mysteries, they’re my go to comfort genre. I liked Oscar Wilde, and Connie Willis, Irvine Welsh, Robertson Davies, Nick Hornby, PG Wodehouse, Joan Aiken, Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, George Orwell, Gerald Durrell, Georgette Heyer, James Herriot, Daphne du Maurier, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne, a lot of miscellaneous biographies and autobiographies … Really, I just read anything and everything, those are just names that I remember.

Charis Marsh has been dancing for as long as she can remember, and loves the people you meet in the dance world almost as much as the dancing. She has performed in many productions, including The Nutcracker. Her previous novel in the Ballet School Confidential series is Love You, Hate You. She lives in Vancouver.