Ask Amy Green
I adore writing the Ask Amy Green series for readers of 10+. Amy is thirteen and lives in Dublin. She is very close to her seventeen-year-old aunt, the rather crazy Clover and together they have all kinds of wonderful adventures.
There are five books to date in the series:
Ask Amy Green: Boy Trouble
Ask Amy Green: Summer Secrets
Asky Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz
Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-Ramas
Ask Amy Green: Dancing Daze
Ask Amy Green: Wedding Belles will be published in 2013
About Dancing Daze
Dancing dilemmas . . .
Mills’s ballerina sister, Claire Starr has just landed the role of a lifetime but something is very wrong with the young star.
A worried Mills begs best friend Amy for help. How can Amy refuse, even though she has big problems of her own to solve. Luckily her clever (and crazy) aunt Clover is happy to lend a hand.
And saving dancing divas is all in a day’s work for the intrepid twosome.
Background to the Book (Website Exclusive)
My Dancing Days
I LOVE ballet. I’ve been ballet ballistic ever since I was a little girl. I started studying ballet when I was five and I took classes until I was a teenager. Here is an old photo of me when I was about thirteen. Don’t I look serious?
I was obsessed. I read ballet books like Ballet Shoes and the Sadler’s Wells books by Lorna Hill. I watched ballet on the television whenever it was on (mainly at Christmas!), I begged my mum and my godmother to take me to the ballet, which they did. One day I even got a famous dancer’s autograph – here’s the story:
My godmother, June once took me to see a famous English dancer called John Gilpin who was dancing in the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire (before its current reincarnation). Luckily she loved the ballet too, and understood my need to be ‘up the front’ and always booked the front row seats so that I could watch the dancers’ feet and smell the resin.
When we were sitting in the auditorium (in the front row), waiting for the ballet to begin (I think it was Swan Lake), she pressed a wrapped present into my hands. I opened it up. It was a small leather-bound autograph book.
‘You can get the dancers’ autographs after the show,’ she said.
‘Meet them?’ I asked her, amazed. ‘Really?’
‘Oh yes,’ she said. ‘I’ll come with you.’
I was so excited during the performance that I could hardly sit still. Afterwards we waited at the stage door. I was a nervous wreck.
‘Are you sure they won’t mind?’ I asked her.
‘Not at all,’ she said. ‘I’m sure they’d love to sign your book.’ And she was right.
A few of the female dancers came out first and happily signed my pages. And then – John Gilpin himself – tall and handsome, with a strong but kind face. I thrust the book at him silently, hopelessly tongue-tied and he just smiled.
‘A little ballerina in the making, yes?’ he said, writing his signature with a flourish.
I just nodded, my cheeks burning with happiness. It was my first encounter with a ‘famous’ person and I’ve never forgotten it.
I still have that little brown leather autograph book, complete with John Gilpin’s signature and I’m a huge ballet fan to this day; a ballerina, sadly no. But the great thing about being a writer is that I can write about my passions, and for Ask Amy Green: Dancing Daze, I got to interview real ballerinas about their lives as dancers. Happy days!
My Dancing Daze Research Trip to Budapest
In March last year I travelled to Budapest in Hungary with a group of friends. We stayed in this amazing boutique hotel called Brody House which is owned by an English friend of ours.
I decided to set my fictional ballet school – the Budapest Ballet Academy – in an old building very like Brody House.
I booked tickets for the Hungarian National Ballet in the stunning Budapest Opera House. It was a very exciting, dramatic ballet called The Karamazovs, with lots of acrobatics and gypsy dancing and even the boys loved it! They couldn’t believe how fit and athletic the male dancers were – they were most impressed. It’s basically a story about three brothers and their fights.
Here is a photo of me in the Opera House and also the inside of the Opera House, which is covered in gold leaf and is one of the most opulent and beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen.
The city is wonderful and I adored just walking around, soaking up the atmosphere and day dreaming about Claire, and how she must feel walking the very same streets.
We also visited the Gellért Baths, where one of the scenes in Dancing Daze is set and had a wonderful soak in the warm salt water, and even visited the steam room, just like Amy and Clover!
In the book Amy describes it as ‘pretty swish in an Addams Family kind of way: murky, with lots of big ferny pot plants, stained-glass windows, and funny little stairways.’ Maybe one day you’ll visit the baths, just like Amy and Clover, it’s quite an experience!
I do hope you enjoy Dancing Daze and if you ever get to visit Budapest, jump at the chance. It really is a wonderful city, full of character. You never know, you might even bump in to me, wandering the streets, and day dreaming about another book . . .
You can find out more about the Ask Amy Green books on the special Amy Green website here.