High School and Writing YA by Grier Cooper – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Grier Cooper will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

High School and Writing YA

I didn’t have a “normal” life; especially during my high school years. I went to a performing arts high school with a bunch of models, actors, musicians, and dancers who needed a flexible schedule in order to pursue their careers. Sadly this meant we missed out on some of the fun stuff, like prom, which is why close friends insist I have an obsession with high school, and they are probably right.

But there were cool and unusual things about my high school that are fun to share. Anthony Michael Hall (star of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, The Dead Zone and about a million other movies) was one of the kids roaming the halls in my day. This other kid in my sophomore English class starred in a Campbell’s soup commercial; he also happened to be the class clown….so often that our English teacher once said, “Rusty, I feel like I can’t get a break from you because when I go home, there you are on my TV!” Let’s just say that commercial played A LOT.

We all had tons of freedom, even as freshman, because everyone had to shuttle around between school, practice and work. I often left campus and came back several times in a day, so I was lucky I only had to walk a half-mile between school and everything else. But with great freedom also comes great responsibility…we had to learn how to manage and juggle a lot of things at once…and there was no such thing as down time.

And, as I already said…no prom. No prom, people! Can you imagine?

But then, I did get to go to over-the-top extravagant New York City Ballet galas. Every spring, all of the upper division students at the School of American Ballet (the official ballet school of NY City Ballet) were forced into indentured servitude for weeks (hand-addressing envelopes in calligraphy, stuffing envelopes, licking them closed…. thousands upon thousands of them) in exchange for which we were granted entrance at some of the best parties in New York.

So there was that.

But sometimes I still think about the things I didn’t get to experience during those years, and I guess I live them vicariously through my books. I love writing YA because it focuses on a time in life where huge change occurs. It’s a dynamic and exciting time of life, whether you go to prom or not.

Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um…hi? That’s my elbow.”

“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.

“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you’re grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”

He drops it like he’s been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”

I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he’s making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can’t look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.

We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it’s nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.

I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I’d take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don’t dare. For reasons I don’t want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I’m so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn’t bright red.

He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I’ve got you.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_IndigoDreamsGrier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Have you considered writing in another genre?

  3. Do you write every day? Do you have a word goal for each day you write?

  4. Thanks for hosting HOPE today! To answer your question, Mai, I’ve considered writing in other genres and have previously published other non-fiction titles but at this time I am solidly enamored by contemporary young adult stories.

  5. Victoria says:

    Really great excerpt and it’s been an awesome tour! I’ve enjoyed following and reading all of the excerpts, I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of Hope! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. This sounds great

  7. Becky Richardson says:

    Sounds like a great read.

  8. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and guest post. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

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