What made you write I CALLED HIM DANCER? Have you ever danced, taken lessons? Do you watch any of the dancing competition shows on TV?
The only dance lesson I’ve received came when I was walking in the woods. A yellow cloud surrounded me and I began swatting yellow jackets like a break-dancer. Upon reflection, I don’t think I had the grace needed to make it big, so I quit after my first lesson. No more bees for me.
The inspiration for I Called Him Dancer came from a song performed by Tralena Walker and co-written by Tom Webster. I attended a meeting at the Writers Club. Tralena and Tom were guest speakers. The topic was on how to write a story in lyrics for songs. Not my cup of Darjeeling. But at least it was entertaining. After performing the song, "Dancer", either Tom or Tralena said, “We’ve been looking for someone who will turn the song into a novel. We think it would make a great story.
Until those words were spoken, I was a passive observer. I looked up and words were swarming around me like those yellow jackets. They attacked my head and my mind started breakdancing. In an instant, the story unfolded in my mind and I knew this was something I was to write.
I knew nothing about dancing (other than what the bees taught me). Tom and Tralena gave me the lyrics and I started researching and writing. I have to admit that I worried about the dancing scenes, but I knew things took shape when people began asking how I became so knowledgeable about dance. I thought back to the bees and said, “It’s just something that hit me while walking in the woods.
How did you come up with the character of Dancer? He's obviously drug addicted. Did you have to do a lot of research about drug addiction?
I have known a lot of people with addiction through my ministries and other acquaintances. I also weaved a lot of my own testimony into the story. In fact, I think most people can relate to Dancer because they can see certain areas of their own struggles in his life and attitudes.
A lot of people may not know this, but the average age of someone becoming a meth user is 30. The beginning of his addiction is a reflection of what happens all around us in our culture.
Who is your favorite character in I CALLED HIM DANCER?
The character that inspired me the most is Kenyon. Many readers have stated the same. He’s human, struggling to do what is right, and lives by a genuine faith. At times he wrestles between what he knows God wants him to do, and what he wants. Kenyon is down to earth, not preachy, yet his life has an impact on others.
In the story I tried to present Christianity in an honest light. Many who claim to be Christians show hypocrisy and drive others (like the Dancer) away from the faith. This is a real problem in the Christian culture. Kenyon shows what sincere faith looks like. He’s far from perfect, but his simple faith impacts those around him. Kenyon’s sincerity confuses the Dancer and draws upon his curiosity.
What would you like your readers to take away from this novel?
I want people to look at the reality of how faith impacts the world around us. Hypocrisy is being pretentious about faith, and there is a difference between failure and hypocritical behavior. Christians shouldn’t feel dejected when they fail. It’s part of this life of reaching upward.
Also, we all know someone who appears hopeless and hostile toward God, but we don’t know what the Lord is doing behind the scenes. Ultimately, hope is what everyone should take away. Hope that readers are not alone in their struggles. Hope that our lives can make an impact – even with our imperfections. Finally, hope that the people we care about are never out of reach.
Now that you're among those who are published, do you have any advice for authors who are starting out?
Learn the craft. When I began writing fiction, I read a dozen books on the craft of writing. I read over a hundred books from all genres to get a feel for what a good story looked like. And to see what didn’t work in the stories that did not connect with me.
Once I wrote my first piece of fiction, I didn’t know if it was good or not. That’s when I realized the need to connect with other writers. Every writer should be part of a writers group. We need someone who understands the craft to give us feedback and identify problem areas.
Get edited. I spent nearly two years editing and rewriting I Called Him Dancer. When I had everything perfect, I gave it to an editor. Almost every page came back marked up with errors and sentence problems. It was very frustrating, but without this, my story wouldn’t be nearly as effective in connecting with readers. Writing is a lonely endeavor, but editing and publishing is a social world. Connect, get feedback, and learn from others.
Lastly, have a thick skin. Your work will never improve under a rubber stamp of approval. Your most valued writing relationships are those who will challenge you to reach higher.
I CALLED HIM DANCER can be purchased at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/I-Called-Him-Dancer-ebook/dp/B004ISLPUE/eddiesnipesco-20 and other online retail stores.
The ebook version is only 99 cents.
About the book:
For a moment, Michael danced, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windshields for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman's enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.
You can purchase 'Dancer', the song that inspired this book by visiting the MP3 store. Search for Tralena Walker or Dancer.
*** See what readers are saying ***
This book is a page turner from cover to cover, Eddie makes you feel like you actually know the characters in his book. - B. Tillman, OR.
Almost too good to put into words. ...you'll find yourself saying, "Just one more chapter". K. McNabney,
This book is a must read. Through this book the reader will learn about true love and the power it holds. T.
You can connect with Eddie Snipes at:
Facebook: eddiesnipesTwitter: @eddiesnipes