I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Natalie Cross. Today, Natalie shares interesting details about her creative journey and her new release,
If You Had a Superpower, What Would It Be?
This is always so tricky to answer. I vacillate between invisibility (but not the creepy kind of invisibility, the cool kind where I could bust some sort of spy ring) and flying. Obviously, invisibility would have its drawbacks. I hope it wouldn’t become permanent, like in a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode. But it would be interesting to hear what other people are thinking and saying. Clearly, I am an eavesdropper at restaurants.
Flight would simply be fun. Except for avoiding the flight paths of other birds and insects aiming for your mouth. I imagine that would take some getting used to.
Describe your writing space.
In my house, where I live in serfdom under four and eight-year-old tyrants, I do not have a defined writing area. Typically I write at our kitchen island in the wee hours before the empresses wake and demand sliced bananas and/or bowls of sprinkles. I have the microwave to my left, the sink before me, and a pile of craft scraps or dried-out spikes of play dough on my right-hand side. The main benefit of writing in the kitchen is that I can drink as much tea as I want.
What was your inspiration for this book?
During year approximately 222,000 of the pandemic, I really needed an outlet. On a normal day, I balance a full-time demanding day job, helping my parents, and being a mom to my two young kids. When lockdown happened, I still had to go out to my day job as a first responder.
I needed a break. At night, after everyone had fallen asleep (finally, after much coaxing), I spent hours watching ballroom dance videos on YouTube. Before the pandemic, I had taken ballroom dance lessons on and off for almost twenty years. Now, without even the potential for lessons, at least I had YouTube.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this, Anita Goodman, the main character in Ballroom Blitz, started talking to me. Not literally, though in quarantimes, things like that were entirely possible. But Anita kept appearing during quiet moments in my day. I dreamed about her and Patrick dancing, and choreographed parts of their story before I ever wrote a word.
Around this time, too, I was having a difficult time finishing projects. Evidence of my failures surrounded me at home: a half-knitted scarf in a bag, a folded pile of sheets that had been sitting out for three months, cleaning the house.
So I decided I needed to finish something, and since Anita wouldn’t stop talking to me about how much she liked Patrick, but wasn’t sure he felt the same way, I figured she deserved a chance to find out.
Since then, I’ve finished eight other drafts, two of which are also published (a Ballroom Blitz prequel entitled Ballroom Prom, and a standalone novella, Ballroom Blind Date). More will be published next year once they’re edited to my satisfaction. That half-knitted scarf still mocks me, but hey, cable patterns are tricky.
What Is Your Favorite Quote?
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” It’s from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and though it is not an accurate Latin translation, I’ve always appreciated the sentiment.
Margaret Atwood herself has said that it was a joke in her Latin class. I took Latin in high school, but we were never quite so witty.
What are you working on next?
Thank you for asking! I am currently in the editing stages for Ballroom Fever, the sequel to Ballroom Blitz, which hopefully will be out in 2023. I am also editing a standalone novella for a clean sports romance anthology that will be released November 2023, as well as two other standalone romances that might come out next year if I get them in shape in time.
The best way to keep track of what’s coming up is to join my mailing list. It’s a fun place. I share pictures of my dog, great books, freebies, and other fun things.
In the glamorous world of ballroom, love and dancing do not always mix.
Professional dancer Anita Goodman has learned that lesson the hard way. With her studio and her reputation on the line, she has to take a chance on the last person she ever wanted to partner with: her best friend.
Patrick O’Leary has loved Anita since high school, but he has languished in the Friend Zone for long enough. He will take this last chance to prove to her that love is greater than winning.
Neither of them realizes that conquering their rising attraction won’t be their biggest obstacle. Someone does not want them to be together, and will stop at nothing to get their way.
Love, dance, and danger. It’s a Ballroom Blitz.
The ballroom still thrummed with the clack of heels and the slide of suede, though its last inhabitants had vanished over an hour before. Applause and cheering from the final night party echoed across the hallway. The tables were strewn with hair pins, empty water bottles, and sweaty towels tossed with exhilaration before another heat. The perfume of sunless tanner and hairspray drifted toward the apex of the ballroom’s ceiling, and it almost seemed that a few notes of a Viennese waltz still clung to the utilitarian white hotel tablecloths.
Rapid footsteps broke the waiting silence. Stilettos from the click click click, glimmering with crystals, a few of which scattered from the shoes with a brackish clatter as the heels struck the parquet of the ballroom floor. Heavy breathing, panting. “No!” A stumble as one heel of the red satin crystal-encrusted stilettos snapped. Sobbing.
Then another pair of footsteps, flats, fashionable. Something hard, with an edge that might draw blood. These footsteps were measured. No panic. No anxiety. Calculating.
The sobs intensified. “Please, please, please, no, I didn’t do anythi—”
A gurgle, a grimace, a thud. The wash of silk from a bone-white evening gown susurrated along the cold parquet floor. The scent of copper flooded the air.
A grunt, a vicious exhale, an audible sneer.
Then the ballroom closed upon itself again. The tables, the cloths, the chandeliers, the lights. All waiting for its new secret to be discovered.
Author Bio and Links
Love is an adventure.
Natalie writes romances and cozy mysteries featuring women who want to be seen and the men and women who cannot look away from them.
Natalie lives in Los Angeles, where writing is an acceptable way to avoid sunburn. She is mom to two lovely young munchkins who despise brushing their hair and eat way too much cake. She is unapologetically terrible at taking selfies.
Ballroom Blitz playlist available at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7LHlIjrZEKsD1aDyJAxLAU
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Natalie Cross will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow Natalie on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.
I love, Natalie how you described where you got your inspiration for your ballroom series. I also love the idea of ballroom dancing as a series. Glad you chose the writing as opposed to your knitting. 🙂 Write?
Thank you! Do you knit or dance?
I used to knit a lot – mainly sweaters and hats for new babies in the family. The babies grew up and I stopped knitting but I always enjoyed it. I love dancing. I am currently taking ballet lessons. 🙂
Thanks to everyone for dropping by. 🙂
Thank you so much for hosting me!
The book sounds like an intriguing read. Great cover!
Thank you! I hope you’re having a good start to the new year
Sounds like an excellent book.
Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading Ballroom Blitz. Would you mind sharing the titles of some of your favorite movies with dance as the theme?
Good question. Dirty Dancing, obviously, even the Havana Nights sequel. I’m a big fan of TCM, so anything with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. My favorite of those is Top Hat. I also absolutely love the dancing in Holiday Inn. I’ve also loved Step Up and the Footloose movies. Then there’s the ballroom ones: Shall We Dance (the original Japanese version though I do also like the Richard Gere one), Dance With Me with Chayanne and Vanessa L Williams, and, of course, Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom.
Sorry, that was a super long list!
Love the interview! I would choose flying, too. And what a great excerpt.
All the best, ladies!
Love your sense of humor shining through the description of your writing space!
Haha thanks! I think life is better with a sense of humor
Great interview, Natalie. Nice to meet a fellow Rose! Best of luck with your book.
Thank you! Good luck to all my fellow Roses!
I liked the excerpt, thank you.
Thank you for stopping by!
Thanks for hosting!
Thanks for hosting!
A great interview, and I love the whole ballroom dance background–foreground?–for your stories. I write that as someone who has only left feet.
That’s one of the things I like about ballroom dancing. There’s so much variety, you can find the dance that suits you best.
I love that you are a first responder. I can only imagine what you have seen. I admire you.
Thank you. I think everyone has been through a lot these last few years. Take care of yourself!