Tell us a bit about your book.
Dancing in the Rain is the story of 16-year-old Brenna whose adoptive mother has just passed away. She left behind a journal written by Brenna’s biological mother, 16 years earlier. Reading the journal makes Brenna curious about her ‘other’ mother who is still alive. She also becomes close to a young man who relates to her grief, but he, too, has to leave her. Over the course of the story we follow Brenna’s journey to becoming strong in the face of so much loss.
What was the catalyst for your story?
For years I have been asked by readers to write a sequel to my earlier book, Dancing Naked. These readers wanted to know what became of the baby that was born in that book, and her young mother. Eventually I realized that the baby would now be a teenager herself, so I wrote her story. I’d call this a companion book rather than a sequel.
What was your favourite book as a child and why?
I read just about anything as a child, but Harriet the Spy stands out as one of my favourites. It was laugh-out-loud funny but I also felt Harriet was wonderfully complicated and I really cared about her.
In your opinion, what makes a compelling story?
When you jump, startled, at a phone ringing and then it takes you a moment to catch your breath and remember where you are – that’s a compelling story!
Do you gravitate toward a certain genre or type of writing?
In my stories I tend to explore issues that I’ve wondered about. In this book, I wondered how a 16-year-old girl would feel after the death of her mother, knowing that she actually has ‘another’ mother out there. Adoption issues are always interesting to me, probably because there were so many different kinds of adoption in my extended family. I also have a soft spot for love stories, and most of my books carry at least a hint of romance.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
I would like readers to think about grief, and how to cope with it.
Tell us a little known or interesting fact about yourself.
Like the character in this book, I volunteered at the Grouse Mountail Wildlife Refuge, caring for the bears.
Shelley Hrdlitschka is the author of several novels for teens. She lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking, snowshoeing, practicing yoga, Zumba dancing or volunteering at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. For more information, visit http://shelleyhrdlitschka.wordpress.com.