Finding Our Way Home is the latest book in Charlene Ann Baumbich's Snowglobe Connections series—and it's on sale today!
This heartwarming story is about Sasha Davis, a ballerina who returns to her small hometown in Michigan after an injury ends her dance career. There, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with 19-year-old Evelyn, who works as Sasha's personal assistant.
This is a book about second chances, dealing with tough circumstances and the bonds that help us through the hard times. In a guest blog post, Baumbich, who had no special insight into the world of dance when she started on this novel, tells us how Sasha came into her mind—and how the author made some unlikely connections of her own to get Sasha's story right.
guest post by Charlene Ann Baumbich
The mystery of the creative process is mind-boggling to me, never more so than with Finding Our Way Home.
An injured professional ballet dancer showed up from "somewhere" and began to murmur in my ear. I didn't know a thing about her world. No matter how fervently I tried to make her shadowy character go away, she would not.
I began to research the world of dance. The more memoirs and articles I read—the more YouTube videos and live performances I watched—the more convinced I became that I was not the one to tell Sasha's (she'd whispered her name) story. Still, she insisted.
When she finally revealed herself in a shawl-laden, rocking chair "vision," I quit fighting and set my fingers to the keyboard. Oh, well.
Within the first few pages, Evelyn showed up. Who's that? I wondered, as I "watched" her hands pick up broken shards of glass. By the end of the first chapter, I knew that the heart of the book was about Evelyn and Sasha's uncommon friendship. The story was now talking to me. Chapters began to roll.
Still, I worried. What if I had the whole mental game of an injured dancer wrong? I revealed my insecurity to a longtime neighbor. Turns out she used to groom a dancer's dog. She gave me his number. (The dancer, not the dog.)
Whoa! It was Kenneth von Heidecke, the world renowned dancer and choreographer who lived through an injury that ended his onstage career. He assured me that Sasha had steered me in the right direction.
First draft finished, midway through a book tour for Divine Appointments, I pulled off the highway to get gasoline. I ended up toodling around the square of Knoxville, Iowa, and locals pointed me to a book store, The Next Chapter. Turns out the store owner, Tresa Mott, was a retired dancer who also ran a dance studio. When I asked if she might be willing to vet the manuscript for dance accuracies, she said yes.
Both she and Mr. von Heidecke heartily endorsed the book. Sasha—my unruly dancer of a character—laughed at the glory of it all.
Thank you, Charlene! Readers: Do creative ideas ever pop into your head—and you just can't get them to go away?