Welcome to my stop on the teaser tour for Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard. Phantom's Dance is a YA modern retelling of Phantom of the Opera and it's available for sale, right now!
About the book:
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.
Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.
Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
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I've let Lesa Howard, author of Phantom's Dance take over this next section to describe how the cover of her book came to be. She has given us some previous covers that didn't make the final cut, as well as her thoughts as to why they weren't the perfect fit for her story. So, without any more delay, Lesa, take it away!
Here are several cover mock-ups, with a pen name (I chose a pen name because this book was much darker than the ones I write for younger audiences.) that we played around with before choosing the current one. Ultimately, I used my first name with Howard, my grandfather, for the last. Also, I considered calling the book DANCING BLIND, omitting the reference to the phantom. But my awesome critique group convinced me otherwise.
This one is absolutely beautiful, but it didn't convey the darkness we were going for.
This photo looked nice until the designer placed it on the cover. With the title being what it was then, it made her look as though she were actually blind.
This one has the black tutu, but after a vote from the fabulous staff and Chambers County Library in Anahuac, TX (had to do the shout-out) I scrapped it, too, and went with the red. And of course, it's now called PHANTOM'S DANCE.
Phantom's Dance Excerpt:
“You scared the crap out of me—again!” I wailed, and a low chuckle rumbled from behind the heavy, velvet drapes.
With my hand pressed to my overexerted lungs, I breathed deeply. “I see you’re still behind the curtain. But I suppose that’s where a stagehand would be, wouldn’t he? Behind the curtain?”
“Ouch. And here I thought you were a nice girl—not like the Academy snobs looking down their noses at the hired help.”
“Ah-ha! So you are a stagehand.”
“I never said that. What I said was you’re a snob.”
“I am not!”
He half laughed half snorted.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him.
“I came to see the ballet. Isn’t that why you’re here?”
“Of course, but that’s not what I meant. The ballet has been over for an hour. Why are you still here?”
“I might ask you the same thing.”
The pink flower chose that moment to fall from my hair and float to the stage floor.
“You were playing the ballerina, weren’t you?” He teased.
His voice had moved from where it started at my right to the curtains behind me.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll keep your secret.”
My face heated and I bent to recover the flower then stood to face his voice.
“You won’t tell Mr. Darby or the theater manager?”
“I said I wouldn’t tell.”
Spinning the flower between my fingers, I asked, “Why do you stay behind the curtain?”
“I don’t like the stage.”
“But you said you’re a dancer. What kind of dancer doesn’t like to be on the stage?”
He’d been yanking my chain long enough. Two could play this game.
“So, are you handicapped or what?”
An unpleasant silence stretched between us and I realized I’d stumbled onto something.
“Oh, God, you are.”
About author Lesa Howard:
Lesa Howard lives in the greater Houston area where she works as a writer-in-residence for the nonprofit organization Writers in the Schools, but her students know her as Lesa Boutin. Lesa was passionate about writing for teens before it was even labeled Young Adult, and her latest YA novel is PHANTOM'S DANCE, which is a modern retelling of Gaston Leroux's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She has two books written under the name Lesa Boutin: AMANDA NOBLE, ZOOKEEPER EXTRAORDINAIRE, and AMANDA NOBLE, SPECIAL AGENT.
Visit Lesa at www.lesahowardboutin.com or contact her at email@example.com
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