Dancing Naked in the Rain: Questions for Book Clubs

 

My "5" Year Extravaganza

2010 Romance Winner

1. The title of Dancing Naked in the Rain conveys a great deal of meaning for the book. When you first saw the title, what did you think? As you began reading the book, when did your first impression change? When you finished reading the book, what meaning did the title have for Megan? For Jake?

2. Thomas Hardy said that “while many things are too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.” Explain how this idea relates to Megan. What do you think the author’s message is for the reader?

3. Describe Megan’s personality as the story begins. Which events have the biggest impact on her as she struggles to free Jake from his curse? How is she changed? Which events help to reveal Megan’s confidence? Her lack of confidence?

4. At the heart of this book is Megan’s struggle to save her love and her life. What happens that causes her to realize that she must take the situation into her own hands to win her struggle? What is the author’s message to the reader?

5. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act IV, Brutus says, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Could this idea be applied to Megan’s situation? How does it apply to life in general?

6. What does Megan’s dream of riding on the horse have in common with the tale of Tam Lin? How do they serve as a parallel to Megan’s relationship with Jake?

7. Although Jake’s character is seen through the eyes of Megan, he is a complex character. How does the author reveal him in such depth?

8. At the end of the story, Megan finally returns the stone to the Abby. What do you think her thoughts might have been as she returns to the farm?

9. Love is a powerful theme in Dancing Naked in the Rain. In the beginning, love seems instinctual to both Megan and Jake. As the story progresses, love becomes more complex. Although Jake is haunted by a curse that affects Megan and places her “under his power,” so to speak, how do these variations reflect on the nature of love? Of what is Megan’s struggle symbolic?

 

 

Writers: Dare to Be Unhappy

happy-unhappy

Each time I sit down to write, my heart begins this obnoxious thumping, seeming to warn me that I’m about to do something risky. You would think I had an appointment for my yearly exam, the old ‘put your feet in the stirrups’ and stare at the ceiling while the doctor gropes around for something neither one of us is expecting or desiring. Fortunately she doesn’t often discover anything. But when I sit in front of the computer with pounding heart and labored breathing, discovering something is exactly what I’m afraid isn’t going to happen.

Writing should be fun–and it is to an extent. Especially when you finally finish the novel you’ve struggled with for months or, perhaps, years. At least, for a while, but then you’ve got to sweat out wondering if anyone will even notice. (Excuse me, I’ve got to get on-line and check out my sales for the umpteenth time today.) Nope. Damn!

I guess you’ve guessed that I’m not always happy when I’m writing. Ironically, I’m even more unhappy when I’m not. Oh, I may be dancing wildly with anyone who’s brave enough to share the floor with me or clapping and cheering without any modesty for my grandson as he bows after his piano concerto or even rolling raucously around on the floor with my daughter-in-law’s Shih Tzu, Nala. From all appearances I have a perfectly joyful life. However, there’s always a tiny voice in my head that keeps repeating, “You should be writing … you should be writing …you should be writing.

I  feel quite confident in my feelings. After all, the incomparable Ben Jonson said, “Who casts to write a living line, must sweat.” More simply: Writing’s work. “Let’s face it, writing is hell” (William Styron) or “It’s a nauseous process” (Rebecca West). However, I must admit that once the juices start flowing, my heart beat slows and my breath comes more easily.

Yesterday I finally sat down again to work on my third novel, Voices in the Dark. It’s the third in the trilogy, The Beryl Stone Series. Getting started wasn’t easy. From 9 a.m. to 11:30, I had to reread what I’d written, make notes, etc.–after all, it had been three weeks since I’d sat down to write. At 11:30 I escaped to the rec center to clear my head and, then, began to make headway in the afternoon. I’m happy I managed to write a bit over 1000 words in that time, but unhappy because it took me so long to begin. And there’s the fact that I can’t write again until this afternoon as my morning is jammed with the paraphernalia of life. I should be writing … I should be writing … I should be writing.

I think I’ve “simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.”