Something I want to tell you about BALLROOM…


“In this era of easy access to ebooks, if you’re going to create a physical book, you should make it special, something worth keeping on your coffee table or on your bookshelf. And that is what we always aspire to do when we publish.”
—writes my agent.

We were all in agreement, my literary agents, publisher Harper, and I. We care about beautifully bound books. As some of you know, I also make artist books—paint the dancers—daringly cut around the pages—stitch, glue and bind them, sometimes even stand them on wooden feet. They are works of art, collected by rare book collectors and university special collection. Here’s an example: DIRTY DANCING

It was the 1950’s. In darkened, wood paneled basements in Queens,  we danced the forbidden dances, such as The Grind,  which were even banned from American Bandstand.  With exquisite  adolescent desire we defined our newly discovered sexuality in the insistent and erotic beat.



My agent’s father had been a bookbinder in Minneapolis and spent summers at his bindery making huge buffalo-hide cases for commemorative books and often crafted covers for favorite books, such as a leather-bound copy of D.H. Lawrence poems.

If you hold BALLROOM in your hand, look at the foredge, the part of a book that faces inward when the book is shelved; the part opposite the spine, you will notice it has a feathered, high-quality “deckle edge” as though the paper was handmade.

The cover of BALLROOM, painted by Phillip Bannister (UK), is an elegant watercolor with lyrical washes of sienna and brown and there is a lovely “S” curve of orange in her dress, which carries into the side of his face. You can almost see the artist’s brush marks— and there’s that small dab of green in her hair-the contrast of green and orange. The cover has the texture of watercolor paper, and you can run your fingers over the embossed text. These are the small details that I was so pleased went into the production of my debut novel.

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